Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Tips for Having One in Your Home

Bars have always been popular, but home bars particularly picked up popularity in the late 20th century. They’ve remained popular since, picking up even more popularity as the world entered lockdown after lockdown. If you’re considering setting up a bar in your home, you will stumble across the terms wet bar and dry bar, and you might be wondering which one is worth installing.

What is a wet bar?

A wet bar is a bar with a sink, to put it simply. However, it often has much more than just a sink – many home wet bars have refrigerators to help keep the shelf life of beer like a mini-fridge and a wine fridge, as well as space to prepare drinks and store bar tools as well as liquor bottles. They often have cabinet space, room for mixing drinks, and wine racks for the storage of wine bottles.

Pros and cons of a wet bar

There are plenty of things that make wet bars a desirable home feature, but there are also reasons that people opt for a dry bar when installing their new in-home bar. Some people might call wet bars outdated, but ultimately, the pros and cons speak for themselves.

The pros of a home wet bar, regardless of whether that is in a man cave, parlour room, living space, game room, dining room, or even set up as part of an outdoor kitchen, are:

  • Wet bars can be anywhere in the home and do not require the ‘bartender’ to travel back and forth from the kitchen for ice, water, and refrigerated drinks
  • Wet bars can be used as extra food prepping space as they often have more counter space
  • Wet bars are very convenient for those who have small kitchens and could benefit from extra space
  • A wet bar can act as a wine bar and a cocktail bar as there is space for cocktail ingredients and preparing drinks and space for wine racks and fridges

The cons of a wet bar, however, include:

  • Wet bars are usually more expensive than dry bars are to install since the plumbing has to be worked on by a professional
  • Wet bars require much more regular cleaning and maintenance, as a sink requires more cleaning than a dry bar
  • Wet bars take up more space due to the space needed for a fridge and a sink
  • Some people say that wet bars are outdated

Overall, so long as money is not an issue, wet bars are still a strong choice for your entertainment room, patio or anywhere else in your home. They are great for entertaining guests and storing alcoholic drinks, but they do involve extra work in order to add plumbing for the wet bar.

What is a dry bar?

A dry bar is a home bar without a sink. It often still has counter space and storage space with other accessories aside from a kitchen sink such as wine racks, shelves, and cabinets. They are still a great option and work well for entertainment purposes like when you host a party or have guests over. Many dry bars have extra storage space to make up for the lack of a sink to enable more accessories to be stored.

Pros and cons of a dry bar

Dry bars are arguably more common now than wet bars, and that is in part due to the cons of wet bars and the pros of dry bars. Whilst dry bars are often smaller and they do have less equipment, they have a whole range of pros, including:

  • Dry bars can be any size, from dry bar carts to larger spaces
  • Due to the lack of plumbing required, dry bars are often portable
  • Dry bars are cheaper to maintain and to install due to the lack of plumbing required
  • Dry bars are more ideal for everyday use

That being said, dry bars do have some downsides. For example:

  • Dry bars don’t have access to things like ice and refrigerated drinks, meaning the ‘bartender’ regularly has to make trips to and from the kitchen
  • Dry bars tend to have less space both in terms of cabinets and pep area, making it harder to make drinks

Tips on setting up a home bar

If you’re looking to set up a wet bar or a dry bar, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, it is important when setting up and installing your bar that you ensure it matches the style and decor of the rest of your home. Wet bars and dry bars can add resale value to your home, but they must be well done, functioning, and stylish. This means making sure that you plan your bar installation carefully to simultaneously ensure that it suits you and your needs, as well as suiting your home and adding value to your property for years to come.

It is also worth considering when installing either a dry bar or a wet bar that you consider what it is that you will be using the bar for. If you tend to only drink liquor, then a dry bar might be much more suited to your needs. If you are a cocktail drinker, a fridge and access to ice would be more suitable, and so a wet bar may be more up your street.

What to include…

Once you have decided which type of bar to install, you then need to pick what to put in it. Here are some must-have accessories and bar tools for your wet and dry bar.

Wet bar must-haves

  • A sink with an extendable faucet to allow proper cleaning of the sink
  • A fridge with a wine rack shelf, or a wine fridge
  • A wine rack
  • Liquor shelves
  • An ice maker
  • A blender
  • Cocktail shaker

Dry bar must-haves

  • Liquor shelving
  • Ample cupboard space
  • Fruit bowl for cocktails
  • Blender
  • Wine rack
  • Space for making drinks

So, wet bar vs dry bar – which is better?

Ultimately, which type of in-home bar you decide to set up in your home depends on your personal situation. It depends on what kind of budget you have, how much room you have, and whether you’re looking to save money or whether you want an extravagant focal point in your home. Both have a range of pros, and a range of cons, but both are good choices and will make a difference in your home.