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The Bar Is Open!

If you’re the neighborhood mixologist, the bar is open at your place!

Summertime is prime party season, and it’s convenient to keep the drinks flowing from a centralized location in your home or on your patio or deck. From intimate gatherings to full-blown bashes, you can provide great cocktail service with a home bar setup.

Obviously the first consideration is location. Living in northern Illinois, you’re more than likely to build a bar inside your home — next to the kitchen, in a quiet corner of the living room, along a dining room wall, or in a basement with games and lounging. But as outdoor kitchens gain popularity everywhere, you might want to weatherproof it for the backyard. And outdoor-indoor set-up (a screened-in porch) might make a nice compromise. And of course, there are portable bars that fold up, scoot into any corner, or roll on wheels.

Home bars can be petite, tidy, unobtrusive affairs to match the vibe of a more sedate room or expansive and festive for a more playful atmosphere. Either way, consider the placement of electrical outlets if you’re planning to include a small refrigerator, ice-maker, or blender. Also, think about storage overhead. Is there a wall behind the bar for shelving? You’ll need to store liquor and wine bottles and glassware, which can be decorative if kept neat and clean. Also what’s the lighting situation? A little upward glow from a floor lamp or soft overhead light source dresses up a home bar.

Simpler bars are just cabinets with shelves and special spacing for bottles and bar utensils, hiding away their contents for a clean look. Some are cabinets that show off arty bottle labels and other decor. Either way, there should be enough room — in front or in back — for a person to bend, stoop, and stand at the bar to mix or pour. A pair of accent chairs placed before a simple bar is an invitation to sip and converse in peace.

More elaborate bars are less for basic drink storage or more for entertaining in a lively atmosphere where guests gather and interact with a bartender. This sort of arrangement requires bar stools. There should be about 28 to 30 inches between stools for guests to feel they have enough legroom and personal space. Leave space for guests to get in and out. Know how many inches there are between the floor and the bottom of the bar’s countertop to choose the correct bar stool height.

Bars are like any other furniture; they are available in endless designs and materials and they reflect a homeowner’s style. Traditional bar set-ups are made of dark, heavy wood with subdued embellishments and old-world touches. Beautiful and classic as these bars are, there are contemporary and mid-century outfits that are glamorous and flashy with faux leather, interwoven patterns and lines, and sparkly surfaces. There is a bar for everyone.

If you’re looking for a bar set-up or furniture to surround it, ask for advice from Meyers Furniture in Rochelle or Mendota. Cheers!