built in wet bar with dark tile - upper west side - darci hether new york

anybody who knows me knows i loooooooove a good cocktail, and it got me thinking about what makes a home bar an entertaining essential.

to me, there are few things more impressive than mixing your guests the perfect drink. i’ve featured this upper west side pied-à-terre bar before (check out the renovation recap), and whenever i look at this image it reminds me how frantic it is to have a glamorous, stylish place to mix ones favorite concoction!

last week, i blogged about using restaurant design as inspiration for your dining room. this week i’m all about the bars!

the bars of my dreams

bars in brass and grey with stunning details - darci hether new york
left: terre – alicante, spain. right: herzog bar – munich, germany

i love finding my inspiration from visiting gorgeous, swoon-worthy commercial interiors. these bars epitomize bold elegance with the dark greys, brass, and high drama. they’re not home bars—nor should they be—but that doesn’t mean your home bar can’t make the same kind of statement.

the wet bar

a classic wet bar is truly a wonderful thing. it’s versatile, elegant, and fantastic for entertaining.

dark grey and brass wet bars - darci hether new york
left: wilson fuqua & theresa rowe. right: unknown

i love the grey cabinets and brass hardware in both of these home wet bars. the contrast amps up the drama… and oh how i love some visual drama!

hide-away built-ins

built in bars in dark brown and grey-blue
left: juma architects. right: chango & co.

i love creating custom built-in hide-away bars for my new york city clients. in new york apartments, where space is at a premium, a hideaway bar helps define a sophisticated, elegant space without the dedicated square footage. with a hidden bar, you can keep it visually out of sight when not in use, or show off to your guests with your bespoke bar and a craft cocktail.

do you want all the joy of a home bar but be able to hide it away from your guests when not in use? these options are for you!

statement tile

statement tile backsplash for a home bar
left: ali budd interiors. center: unknown. right: raili clasen & eric olsen.

i love using stunning statement tiles, and these tiled backsplashes certainly don’t disappoint! if you want your bar to really pop, a bold tile backsplash can make a really big statement. depending on the tile you use, it makes an entirely different statement. the black tile against the brass shelves would be a perfect look to complete a masculine bar for a refined bachelor. and the bar on the right is ideal for the hamptons!

bar carts

bar cart decor, accessories, & styling
left: joanna lavén. center: unknown. right: kayla seah – not your standard

if your space doesn’t allow for a wet bar or an elegant built-in, that doesn’t mean you can’t have something beautiful for your entertaining pleasure. a curated, stylized, classic bar cart is sure to impress! bar carts can be a great way to give the feel of a bespoke bar, but they have a small footprint ideal for new york city apartments and they can roll away. they can still make a beautiful statement depending on how they’re styled! pay attention to the bottles and bar accessories you choose to display, since they will be very visible.

stocking your bar

stocking a home bar doesn’t have to be tricky. i like to keep it simple. while it’s nice to have most of the basics, you can still keep it minimal. i like to be able to whip up a “house specialty” cocktail or two at a moments notice. if you have the ingredients on hand for a select number of delicious cocktails, you don’t have to have a “fully stocked” bar.

my personal go-to is a manhattan.

a classic manhattan - NYTimes cooking







nytimes manhattan recipe

can’t decide on a signature recipe? check out this book:

i love this book for a comprehensive list of cocktail recipes







the essential cocktail: the art of mixing perfect drinks

get the look

if you’re ready to let your home bar make a statement, here are my recommendations!

get the look - contemporary bar - darci hether new york







a. matte gold shaker // b. cocktail picks // c. coasters // d. cocktail book “the essential cocktail” // e. bar cart // f. travel cutting board // g. mixers // h. glassware // i. whiskey stones


and as a bonus: anything on this list is the perfect gift for any cocktail-loving person in your life! (hint hint)

cheers ~ darci