Take a look at our buyer’s guide to bar units

It’s that time of the year when the mega party is over but a whole host of festivities are still around the corner. And you have made the firm New Year resolution that you will never again throw a soiree until you fix your home with a stylish bar cabinet. As resolutions go, we think this is right up there, so allow us to pitch in with our quick primer on home bars.

When you’ve got the room and the budget, there’s nothing like a full-fledged, full-featured bar cabinet. The features are broadly similar across the range — a bar counter, racks for wine bottles (usually able to hold at least six or more), shelves and pockets for various sizes of liquor bottles (keep space for at least a dozen), storage for glasses (racks for the stemmed ones, shelves for the rest) and some space left over to hold accessories like openers, cocktail shakers and what have you.

They come in a variety of forms, from those that resemble your glass-fronted crockery cabinet to open shelves and racks that nestle close to a wall. A particularly useful and popular style is the cabinet that folds up quite compactly when not in use. Prices start from around Rs. 20,000 and can go as high as your budget extends.

If you don’t need a full bar with all the bells and whistles, you can always find simpler options. A sideboard with an open wine rack is a simple way of adding a classy touch to your entertaining (but be sure to carefully choose the wines you put on display!) Some of these include closed cabinets to store a few other bottles and glasses, and the top of the sideboard makes an excellent counter to decant and serve. You can usually find these simpler versions for around Rs.14,000-15,000.

Is your space is a bit more restricted? Perhaps it’s worth exploring some wall-mounted alternatives. There are many styles in this area too.

There are some elaborate options that can entirely replace a conventional bar cabinet. These designs not only have shelves for bottles and glasses but they also have a fold-out counter for mixing and serving drinks. Personally though, one piece I really like is a simple wall-mounted wine rack, with channels for bottles on the top, and slots for stemmed glasses to hang below. The beauty of a simple piece like this is that you can mount it on the wall at a convenient height, and then you can just place a slim table below as a counter for mixing and serving. Wall-mounted shelves are also a great way to add a little extra storage for bottles and glasses when you already have a full bar cabinet. Best of all, the simplicity means a smaller starting price — you can find these from Rs. 3,000.

Depending on the weather, you might want to party on the balcony or terrace or perhaps even in the garden, where a conventional cabinet is obviously not an option (or at least a very cumbersome and inconvenient option). In these situations, most people will set up a plastic table, put a cloth over it, arrange the bottles and call it a day. But if you’d like to do things properly, with a little more style, then why not use a portable bar counter. These clever folding tables come with racks for bottles, slots for stemmed glasses and a small counter for serving, and they fold up completely flat to carry and store. Prices start from around Rs. 6,000.

Once you’ve got your bar unit sorted out, you can pick out the various accessories. Essentials include openers and corkscrews, cocktail shakers, measures and don’t forget the ice bucket and tongs. A barman is only as good as his tools but in the right setting, you can get set to dazzle your guests.

The writer is product manager and designer at www.urbanladder.com, the online furniture store. Mail him at hinduhabitat@gmail.com

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