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What are the Best Tips for Installing a Basement Bar?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Hoda Bogdan, Bill Wilson
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2016
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When remodeling a basement, a basement bar is a great addition for entertaining guests and family for special occasions or day to day visits. The basement bar can be a portable piece of furniture, a more permanent wet bar with a sink and plumbing, or a more traditional dry bar with seating for several guests. Before installing a basement bar in a home, the owner must first decide what kind of bar he or she wants and how much he or she can spend on installation. The biggest decision is between a wet bar and a dry bar.

To install a basement bar that is considered a wet bar, access to plumbing is necessary. A sink will have to be installed properly, with hot and cold water access and proper drainage. This can raise the price tag of the bar, but if the owner intends to entertain guests regularly, or is considering hosting larger parties in the basement, a wet bar might be a wise investment. If the owner is considering entertaining larger parties regularly, a built-in cooler may also be a wise decision. This will require access to electricity, and it can also raise the price tag of installation, particularly if the cooler is built into the bar itself.

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Simpler bars that require no plumbing or electricity need to be measured for space. The bartender should have ample room to move behind the bar when making and serving drinks, and guests should feel comfortable standing or sitting at the bar. Remember to check overhead space as well, as many basements have low or irregularly-shaped ceilings that could lead to a lot of bumped heads. Such bars should be secured to the floor if possible; it is likely that guests will want to lean on the bar when speaking with the bartender, which means movement is a possibility.

Install ample lighting over the basement bar for the comfort of both guests and the host. Ambient lighting is sufficient, but make sure the light is strong enough for practical use: the bartender should be able to see what drinks he is making, and the guests should be able to see each other's faces. Installing a mirror behind the bar can add to available light, especially if track lighting is aimed at the mirror. For more comfort, be sure to install a footrest bar along the bottom of the bar so guests can sit comfortably on the high basement bar stools.

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