Let’s start with defining a Basement Bar. Each element of the definition will also lead into a discussion of why you might want to go to the time and expense of constructing/assembling one.
First we look at location. Basement Bars are in locations that are physically isolated from the main living area, especially the Kitchen, of the home. Often, they are a central feature in a basement you are finishing or have finished, but they can just as easily be put together in a loft or bonus room upstairs. In Florida, Texas, or other lands of ranch-style homes, I have seen them work really well in pool cabanas or other out-buildings.
The isolation has practical and psychological implications. Psychologically, it is a separate place from the home, giving it a specialness that is kind of fun. For many of us, the Basement Bar is a our
Manutary, or Man Cave. It is our space, where we both hold court, and control the environment.
UPDATE: Welcome Asylum for all Mankind Readers! Please take a look around at the rest of our series on Basement Bar design (see bottom of the post), check out the rest of the site for some fine cocktail information. A true Manutary needs great cocktails, not just good beer.
So a basement bar has to be a man’s sanctuary. Ladies can’t have them?
I suppose a few women may have a special purpose bar of their own. (I say women, rather than
Ladies, because, as Martina Navratilova says,
Woman is a fact. Lady is a matter of opinion. The latter could also be said for
Men also tend to go for the separate area for their mixology more than women because of the second psychological element that dictates that isolation: Socializing over booze often is enhanced by separation, either from (especially) children, or the opposite sex. This is true for everything from casual Happy Hour conversation to full blown wingdings.
Gentlemen, let us repair to the drawing room for cigars and sherry.
There are lots of other reasons for separation as well. Available space is usually a big excuse for separation, if you don’t want to admit to the psychological reasons above. Rec rooms and basements are where the space is.
The second set of characteristics for the Basement Bar flow from this isolation. A good Basement Bar needs space and some facility to entertain friends who join you down (up, out) there. You need at least some room to move around. Most will have some second focal point beyond the bar. This is something like a home theater setup, a poker table, a Wii system, a brass pole….
Depending on your personal preference either the bar or the second focus may be the primary draw for you and your friends. The point is that it is more than just someplace to store your drinking stuff.
The third and last characteristic of the Basement Bar is that it is a place to store your drinking stuff. It must have adequate storage for your mixological needs. This brings me to the first Pegu Blog Principal of Basement Bars.
Pegu Blog Principal of Basement Bars #1
When designing your basement bar, consider your total range of cocktail and other booze competency. Calculate the space needed to store the liquor and tools you will want to keep around to service that range of skills. Then ensure that your design allows for at least a 50% more storage than you calculate you need. Your mixological knowledge and range will expand rapidly with a quality laboratory in which to work.
There you go. Follow Principal #1, and you will find that you have yourself an excellent…. liquor cabinet. A lot more goes into it to make it work, and make it last. All the rest is negotiable, depending on taste, habits, and pocketbook, however. Stick with me and we’ll go through it all.
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Here’s a list of the other articles in this series that have been posted so far:
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