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Creating an Exceptional Basement Bar: Essential Tips and Ideas

A home bar filled with glasses, bottles, and taps. Elegant presentation. Integrated lighting.


A little help when planning to build a bar in your basement.


Standard, no frills wet bars in basements have lost a lot popularity in recent years. A simple countertop and sink do not add much value to your home and isn’t a demanding resale feature. However, the more extravagant, “themed” or custom a wet bar becomes – fully equipped with well-appointed features – this space can really set a basement off. In this article we’ll discuss a few features that will separate your wet bar from the mundane.




Something that will help the resale value and overall functionality of a wet bar is its location. The further away from the kitchen, the better. When talking about basement wet bars, this is usually achieved with a flight of stairs. The entire point of a wet bar is convenience. If the kitchen is nearby and just as easy to use, you’ll find guests congregating there instead of your bar area.

When building a wet bar in a basement, the most important consideration is plumbing. Typically concrete has to jackhammered and removed in order to install drains. Locating your wet bar near a bathroom, perhaps sharing a wall, so that the water supplies and drains for the bathroom will also serve the wet bar is functional and cost saving idea.

While thinking about location, it’s important that your wet bar be centralized and a focal point of your basement. The wet bar should be the main hub, the central gathering point, and all other activities branching off from this location. A wet bar that is tucked into a corner as an afterthought is typically one that won’t be used.


A Work of Art


With your basement wet bar being a focal point in a centralized location, we feel that it needs to represent that honor. For instance, think of a magnificent fireplace without a mantle, or a dinky ill-equipment one. The wet bar is like a mantle in that it should be approached as a piece of art. The wet bar is a statement piece – and a weak statement can degrade the entire impression and experience of your newly finished basement.

Your basement wet bar is an opportunity for you to go a bit wild – and it doesn’t have to “match” the rest of the home. It’s perfectly acceptable to install different materials, different kinds of countertops, different tile, and so on. It’s also okay to incorporate a bit of your personal flare – whether that be a nightclub theme, an old-west rustic barn, mimicking a college football stadium (just don’t be specific to a particular team if you’re concerned about resale value), or a sci-fi spaceship (again don’t get “too” movie specific).

Non-specific themes are perfectly acceptable as well, especially if you’re into a classy and traditional look. However, attention to detail is extremely important. Consider a stone or brick backwall, large timber countertops, and pronounced features that declare your arrival.




Often overlooked or tacked on simply as a necessity, a well-done wet bar should be designed around lighting. Lighting is a way to take a rather generic space and give it a truly unique and custom feel. With all of the innovation surrounding LED lighting, from their low energy consumption to an endless variety of colors and brightness – all fully customizable from your phone to suit your mood or occasion – LED lights really find their place in bars and home cinemas.

Consider coffered glowing ceilings, backlit shelves designed to illuminate liquor bottles or glassware, and under counter and under cabinet lighting to highlight stools and work areas. Also, leveled lighting is important. In-ceiling can lights over countertops and work areas, along with dangling fixtures really completes the appearance of any bar.




Depending on your needs, a basement wet bar can quickly turn into a second kitchen. As stated in the beginning of this article, the further away from your kitchen the bar is located, the more it will be used – but that may also mean the more appliance you will need.

In almost all cases, it’s important that your bar be equipped with a refrigerator, icemaker, and sink. Stand-alone icemakers produce more ice and a fancier cube than the ones found in fridge / freezer combos if you’re entertaining regularly. Secondly, a dishwasher is a very handy addition for cleaning glassware. A cooktop surface may be a nice feature for creating hot drinks or keeping warm different dips and chilis. No matter what, you’ll want plenty of outlets to operate blenders, slow cookers, and hot plates.

There are many more features that become more individual based such as wine fridges, hot or cold storage drawers, barista machines, and microwaves.




In short, unless you personally enjoy entertaining and will get significant use out of your basement wet bar – or you create an “experience” worthy of being featured in a magazine – installing a wet bar for the sake of having a wet bar may not be the best basement investment. On the surface, people are much more concerned with the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and even storage space over wet bars.

However, a wet bar done well – a truly magnificent and unique bar where friends and family gather between games of pool, cards, or during the big game is a special and memorable experience. If there’s one thing to take away from this article when building your bar, it’s to be bold. If you need help designing and building the perfect entertaining hub for your family, reach out and one of our Project Managers would be happy to guide you.

Alpine Contracting
18 March 2024