What Features Define a True Wet Bar?

The dictionary says that it’s “a bar with running water for serving alcoholic drinks at home“.  That’s the simplified definition. There’s much more… So what are the specific features that define a true home wet bar?

A Wet Bar Is More Than Just Running Water and Drinks:

First, a wet bar should include a sink with running water and a drain. The drink prep area should be designed to both prepare cocktails and contain spills. The bar top design should also prevent overspill onto the floor in the horrific event that someone tips over a full glass of precious beer, wine, or liquor. This article will provide our take on proper home wet bar set up and give you plenty of links to related products that will accent and complete your project.
Our site also offers complete wet bar construction plans.

wet bar

typical home wet bar with sink and beer tapper system

Wet Bar Features:

  • Basic plumbing, faucets, and sinks
  • Proper drainage of the bar top and entire bar area
  • Electrical Safety using Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
  • Drip Mats and Liquid Catches
  • Floor Anti-Slip / Anti Fatigue Mats
  • Beverage Dispensing Systems
  • Beverage steps and speed rail racks
  • Refrigeration Systems
  • Let’s not forget the essential bar rag

Features Unique to a True Wet Bar

The dictionary says that it’s “a bar with running water for serving alcoholic drinks at home“.  That’s the simplified definition. There’s much more… So what are the specific features that define a true home wet bar?

Proper Surface Drainage

What doesn’t make its way directly to a sink drain must be considered. In large part, spigot drains and spill catches define a true wet bar, one definitely located under your beer tapper, preferably made of stainless steel or brass.  A beer gutter is also a key bar top design feature that allows you to mix drinks or dispense tap beer in a wet area with proper drainage. Beer gutters are absent on most other plans, but not ours. You can opt to skip these features without losing the wet bar function. Take a look at the following wet bar examples and notice the subtle liquid catchment edges and gutters.

wet bar features

Essential Wet Bar Liquid Spill Control Features

Bar Faucets and Sinks

Basic plumbing is a wet bar essential. Of course, basic plumbing consists of a hot and cold water source and a drain. The difference for home bar use is that wet bar faucet and sink sizes are typically scaled down to roughly half the size of a conventional kitchen sink, although the use of large sinks and faucets are not excluded if available space allows. The most popular wet bar sink and faucet option is an all-in-one drop-in bar unit.

[amazon_link asins=’B0041NLYSO,B009O8B37I,B00VJZSGXS,B0011YHVN8,B074RFCDV9,B0011YHVNS,B0015BX5I2,B00D82R8WU,B00J9Q4CIC’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’easyhomebarplans-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e8e352bd-4a24-11e8-a7cc-5fbcae8b3e05′]

Basic Wet Bar

wine bar

Even without a sink, this wine bar is considered a wet bar. Notice the perimeter containment of the bar top leading to the beer gutter, keeping liquid spills under control.

Outdoor Wet Bar

45 degree patio wet bar

Poolside Patio Wet Bar with running water and draft beer tower. All this combined with the tile top and perimeter containment qualifies this as a great wet bar example.

Classic Home Wet Bar

home wet bar setup

This is a classic example of a complete home wet bar setup. It includes a fully functional bar sink and draft beer towers with spigot drains and even a dishwasher. Include a lower drink prep area and beer gutter.

Safety first! Install A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

Water and electricity are a deadly mix. In any wet bar area, proper electrical protection should be provided using GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected electrical power outlets. This safety breaker device protects against dangerous electrical faults that could occur in drink mixers and other electrical devices. GFCI protection is recommended for outlets near any sources of moisture. Don’t forget, they now make power receptacles with USB charging plugs!

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Drip Mats and Catches

Counter tops should have glassware mats for proper drying and sinks should include drain filters to prevent stir sticks from clogging the trap. Mold and mildew are always a threat, remember to stock up on kitchen cleaning products designed to kill germs. Lysol or a simple bleach solution will prevent bar moisture from turning into bar mold.

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Avoid Trench Foot:

The floor area behind the bar should be sloped toward the nearest drain with anti-fatigue floor matting installed to reduce foot fatigue and prevent the bartender from getting trench foot standing in beer swill all night. They also prevent slips and falls.
A good carpet runner is suitable for most home bars, but if you lean towards wilder parties, rubber floor mats will last longer and are easier to clean. Rubber mats also provide additional electrical safety.

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Beverage Dispensing Systems

Accurate beverage dispensing is not only neat and efficient, it’s downright fun! If bottles and cans are your thing, that’s fine, but nothing gets the real home bar atmosphere cookin like a draft beer tap tower. You’ll definitely impress your friends and family. If you want to take it to the whole next level, install a high-tech SideBar Beverage Dispensing System. This electronic system can dispense both hard and soft drinks with the magical push of a button.

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Refrigeration Systems

With few exceptions, cold liquid beverages are better than warm. You can use whatever you have, be it a Styrofoam cooler or an old used fridge leftover from a kitchen upgrade. My favorite was an old 1940’s icebox that still worked great and used sulfur dioxide as the coolant. That classic look was awesome, but modern fridge units will give you a cleaner look. Here are a few home wet bar fridge suggestions…[amazon_link asins=’B00RMIVBRE,B002MPLYEW,B01L03ROJ0,B01NACAIVK,B0083H1INK,B01DJFA78M,B00P7QI4IM,B00O2N4MEG,B01D151EFA’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’easyhomebarplans-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=”]

Proper Wet Bar Design

Our plan sets detail these wet bar features and make it easy and affordable for the weekend do it yourself builder.

Current wet bar models:

EHBP-03 Straight Bar Design
EHBP-04 L-Shaped Bar Design
EHBP-09 45 degree corner Bar Design

Each of these wet bar plans are designed to accommodate a sink, plumbing and many key design features to contain and control spills. They also include plans for building your own integrated kegerator and CO2 charged beer tapper system that will keep your tap beer fresh for weeks. We also include the EHBP-11 Back Bar Cabinet to compliment your wet bar and accommodate your liquor and glassware supply.


anatomy of a wet bar

EHBP-03 Keg Box Wet Bar

What are Dry Bars?

Our definition of a dry bar is basically a standard beer & soda serving bar. Any of our wet bar designs could be used as a juice bar too. We have several models to serve as dry bars, they include:
EHBP-01 Straight Standard Bar
EHBP-02 L-shaped Standard Bar
EHBP-05 Portable Tailgate Bar
Keep in mind, these so-called “dry” models can also serve as wet bars and include beer/cocktail prep gutters to contain spills.

Of course, you can also look at a bar establishment itself as “wet” or “dry” depending upon whether or not they sell or dispense adult beverages.

Oh, and one small inaccuracy in the dictionary definition of the wet bar, it does not require alcoholic drinks. In fact, we know of many folks who run a home bar but mix only non-alcoholic drinks. In that case, you might call it a wet bar that’s gone dry. Wet or dry it’s all the same to me, and after twenty years in this business, I myself have become somewhat of a teetotaler.

Faux Wet Bars:

Free plans and articles are fine, but a proven plan can make short order of your project. We’ve reviewed other bar-related sites and found most lack true wet bar details and adequate spill containment and never any mention of electrical safety.

So stop guessing and do it right the first time,  get started building your bar today!

Just for scrolling way down here, you can get our free bar plans sample.

Bar Stools for Your Home Wet Bar

There are literally thousand of options, but here are a few of our favorite home wet bar stool models:[amazon_link asins=’B0011O0YDW,B000FN9XF0,B000FN5O12,B001J0YL3W,B000VXPCJA,B00KF560S6,B00A4H07ES’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’easyhomebarplans-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a23b5f38-4a27-11e8-baaf-2bdb75a30957′]

Easy Home Bar Plans