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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 over spill on to 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 setup 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.

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 it’s 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
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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 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.

Basic Wet Bar

wine bar
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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
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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
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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!

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.

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.

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.