It’s just a flat surface to rest and serve drinks, right? Wrong, it’s the skin of your home wet bar—the area where the bar meets the rest of your basement, the area that has the greatest affect on how clean the bar looks to the casual bystander, the area where people sitting on a barstool are most likely to notice. It’s the veneer of your alcoholic entertainment. Ask any bartender how important his or her bar countertop is to working the bar. It’s a good bet the answer involves a lot more than a flat surface to rest and serve drinks.
Bar Counter Placement
Obviously there are some huge differences between a commercial bar or pub and your basement wet bar, but it can helpful to consider how commercial bars design their bar counters. Indeed, you’ll find many of the reasons they do the things they do apply to your home as well.
When a professional comes into design a bar counter, placement is the first thing he looks at—and this often includes considering the gentle slope of the establishment or street, moving around the bar, entering and exiting the bar, and how the light in the bar changes throughout the day. You probably don’t need to conduct such a thorough survey of your basement or home wet bar area, but the exact placement of your bar countertop will have a significant effect on your wet bar. Even a few inches can mean the difference between easily maneuvering within your wet bar.
Bar Counter Material
Bar countertops are available in the same array of materials as any other countertop and have similar advantages and disadvantages. Wood is warm and inviting but typically requires extra care and maintenance. Metal is more contemporary, inexpensive, and easy to clean. Granite, marble, or other stone is a classic choice but can be more expensive. The material that’s right for you is often a combination of factors, most importantly budget and intended use and abuse.
Wet Bar Lighting
Ask a bartender where the most well-lit area of the bar should be and he or she will probably tell you the bar counter. With the increasing options of contemporary lighting, this is a perfect opportunity to install some track lighting or recessed task lighting. Chances are, if not in the basement, you’re putting your home wet bar in an area of entertainment, where interesting lighting effects would be appreciated. Keep in mind, though, that focusing your lighting on your bar counter will also make the countertop more important from a decorative point of view, so don’t skimp, and maintain it well.
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