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Top tips to set up your dream home bar

Nothing helps us unwind after a day's work like a good drink - and there is no better time to be your own mixologist at home. Here is what you need to know when building a home bar in a small space.

Dimensions

It should be at a good height for both sitting at and preparing drinks.

Mr James Li, former bartender at Zouk with 12 years of experience, said: "You want it to be slightly higher than your kitchen counter, but not too high, because it would make preparation like cutting and stirring very difficult."

The ideal height is around 1.1m. The length depends on how many people you plan to seat, and whether the bar is pulling double duty as a dining table. A bar that is about 2.5m long can seat up to eight people comfortably, with enough room for a prep area.

Storage

Think about the optimal workflow when you are preparing the drinks. Glasses and bar tools should be kept within easy reach of the preparation area, either within built-in storage or in a separate sideboard nearby.

Mr Li said: "You will need a drawer for things like bottle openers, coasters, straws - tools you'll need at a moment's notice."

As for liquor bottles, an overhead rack is a great way to make a visual statement and save space. Ensure that it is installed with enough headroom - the recommended height is 1.8m to 1.85m.

He added: "It should also be load-bearing, because each bottle of liquor weighs about 2kg on average when full."

If you have a large collection, the overhead rack should be able to withstand about 500kg of weight.

Layout

Apart from the tools and bottles, your refrigerator should also be close at hand. This makes getting ice and chilled mixers much easier.

A sink built into the bar itself would be ideal, but may involve major plumbing - check with your designer or contractor if this is feasible.

According to Mr Li, you will also need a wet preparation area, designated for chopping up fruits and pouring in the different liquids, that should be waterproofed and ideally near the sink.

After that, you can move the mixing glass or shaker to the dry prep area for mixing up and adding the garnishes.

Quartz is the recommended material for your bar top. Porous stones, such as natural marble, may absorb wine stains, making them harder to clean.

This article was first published in Home & Decor Singapore (homeanddecor.com.sg)

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