Drinks are on the house, literally!

Find your happy hour at home by setting up a snazzy bar

It’s Friday night! And what better way to let your hair down than to have a couple of rounds of your favourite drink. Add some good company and ambience and you are set for a lovely night of cocktails and conversations. But heading for that snazzy, hot lounge bar in town with your friends may not be your holy grail any more. What you need is a proper home bar for some high society tippling.

Sounds good, but where do you start?

Space it out

You need your space, that’s for sure. So find one, literally.

“The first important thing you need is space, one that you don’t really require for your main living”, says Philip Rajan, the proud owner of a well stocked bar at home. For Philip, who is businessman into eventing and leisure management and recently moved into his new abode, setting up a bar at home has been his lifelong dream. His bar, nay a cozy room off the living space, has a certain charm about it. The bar is well stocked up, the lighting is perfect for a spirituous evening and the other paraphernalia just add to the entertainment quotient.

Praveen Krishnamurthy, AVP, Platform Marketing at HipBar, too believes that the bar is part of the entertainment room. “They keep it away from the living room for want of privacy. Some have a small drinks trolley in the living room and a full-fledged bar mostly in the basement or convert the terrace into one. But mostly it is part of the entertainment room,” says Praveen.

So how much space does one need? While the size of the room/space would depend on the number of guests you normally entertain, a good bar would require about 70 to 100 sq ft, including space to store your fridge and wine cellar etc, says Praveen.

Philip also believes that one needs to accessorise the space with other odds and ends. Once you are a couple of drinks down you want to put up your feet and relax. So you need to bring in a settee, a sofa or a chaise lounge.

Philip has also installed a big screen television set. “Many people are glued to certain telecasts such as a cricket match or news. It spoils the drinking fun if one of them steps out into the other room to watch TV. “

Bar furniture et al

But what about the real thing? The bar furniture!

Once you have your space chalked out, you need to get the size specifications and look out for the furniture — a cocktail/bar cabinet, a counter, some bar stools etc. “First you need a cabinet to put your wares on display. This was easy to pick up. Then we needed a counter and some bar stools. A ready-to-use counter was hard to find. So we found a console table, added a couple of inches height to it and voila, a counter to sit behind and run the show” says Philip.

To add that extra oomph to it all, you can cover the bar counter by a tempered glass top or go for leather padded swivel bar stools. Granite and dark cabinetry can be combined beautifully to create a contemporary bar. Add some hardwood floors and multi-coloured backsplash, and you have yourself a swanky and chic looking set-up.

“Luxury can be old style wooden antique furniture or nouveau tech style ultra violet lights that could be used to highlight colours.

In the case of the latter, the furniture is more steel and metal rather than wood,” says Praveen. Bottoms up! But wait your bar is all set, but where’s the liquor?

You may be a rum or a beer drinker, but you certainly cannot get off by stocking up your bar with just that. Having a more versatile bar with the finest liquor, is a must. But stocking up your bar with premium, high quality liquor is a long drawn yet gratifying experience.

Stock it up

“Thanks to couple of trips abroad, I have a good stock. I am a rum drinker, so I have a wide variety. But I also have a good collection of vodka. The prized ones are on display and are only opened on very special occasions,” says Philip.

Praveen says that spirits stored in their original bottle form is very passé. “The more luxurious trend is to have designer decanters for the different types of whiskies. They are mostly made of toughened glass or crystal.”

Your white and sparkling wines need more attention. “First is the storage which requires a temperature and humidity controlled refrigerator that can store the wines at ideal temperature and second is the decanter. It is always advisable to decant the wines (specifically red wines) before they are served so that the sediments settle at the bottom,” adds Praveen. But a well- stocked bar is not just about the variety but the exclusivity of drinks. Recent trends suggest customised labels for spirits and wines and the HNIs are willing to pay for the same. People are willing to make their wines based on their unique tastes.

Glassware and accessories

Your bar counter is set up and you have your liquor stocked up. But the right implements to pour the drink and whip out some great cocktails are equally essential.

Bar spoon, muddler to smash and mix cocktail ingredients, jigger to get the right measure, citrus peeler, basic knives, bottle opener, wine corkscrew and stirrer are some of accessories you just can’t do without. Procuring these through well-known brands such as Victorinox or Alessi could add panache to these mundane fixings.

“The handles are made out of birchwood or cow horns ranging anywhere from 50 GBP to 150 GBP per piece,” says Praveen. You can also customise by engraving your names or making to order to ensure there is only one unique piece.

“In some cases previously used accessories by a celebrity that was auctioned and or a rare pre- world war bar memorabilia could grace the bar top.”

Garnishes such as olives and lime add panache to your drink. Having refrigerated compartmentalised trays to store your garnishes is good for tequila- or gin-based cocktails.

Last but not the least, beautifully crafted glassware can add grandeur and glamour to your bar. From heavy-bottomed rocks, highball glasses, to elegantly designed flute and chic looking shot glasses, your bar is just not complete without a wide collection of luxury glassware. Finest hand-painted and hand-cut crystal or designer collection from Hermes or Deborah Ehrlich can glitz up your bar with an elegant touch.

So if this has inspired you and you are eye-balling your home for that space, cheers to you and merry times!

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