Home Is Where the Bar Is

Ryan Nickum

Sep 26

Unique Homes

During tough economic times dejected Americans face a dilemma when it comes to their drinking:  Do they spend their few dollars drowning sorrows in public bars or head home for lonesome bargain boozing? Only those lucky few with bars in their homes can enjoy the best of both worlds and drink their way through this recession both frugally and triumphantly!

Party of three?

The fact that more homes don’t have home bars is the collective fault of all but our nation’s greatest generation. It was those wily World War II veterans who returned home after trouncing the Nazis, married, moved to cheap homes in the suburbs and promptly set up bars in their houses. Perhaps inspired by the speakeasies of old, this generation ushered in an era of social drinking the likes of which hadn’t been seen since ancient Greece. This convenient in-house feature spared them the hassles of driving and allowed to them to entertain on the cheap so they could refill their martini glasses with greater frequency. Discounting the costs to their livers and lungs, these smoke and booze-filled basement soirees were one of the finest aspects of home ownership. Often made with little more than cheap wood paneling and flimsy bar stools, these simple bars nobly served their owners in both good times and bad. To this day, there are thousands of homes across this country, particularly in Philadelphia and Chicago, that still contain those original home bars.

San Francisco home speakeasy with secret passageway.

This humble beginning would eventually give way to far grander home bars, including bomb shelter speakeasies, poolside tiki bars, and full-blown man caves. Increasingly, these home bars are becoming larger and contain far more amenities. Over the past few months we’ve done extensive, but highly unscientific research on home bars by perusing Estately’s real estate listings and have found some interesting trends…

    1. Homes in warmer climates like Miami tend to have home bars either outdoors or with opulent styling.
    2. Home bars in areas with colder climates tend to have smaller bars in basements, feature wood paneling, often have orange bar stools, and are more likely to share space with a washer and dryer.
    3. Philadelphia has a higher percentage of homes with bars than other city we analyzed.
    4. East coast home bars are more likely to have wood paneling.
    5. San Francisco home bars are less likely to have neon signs and beer on tap.
    6. Expensive homes in Los Angeles tend to have a pool table beside their home bars.
    7. Northern California home bars are often attached to wine cellar.
    8. In Atlanta, home bars are far more common in homes costing more than $1,000,000.
    9. Home Bars in Seattle are more likely to feature a foosball, air hockey or a shuffleboard table.

For those unlucky souls who live in a home without a bar, there is help available. A simple tour of the information super highway will turn up plenty of assistance. The perfect bar can be custom built by trained craftsmen, simply ordered online, or you can even do it yourself using free online plans.

Home bars can be basement sports bars or dignified places for introspective drinking.

Whether you want a simple basement bar with a few stools or a cavernous speakeasy that can entertain hundreds, a home bar is a far more inviting and sensible use of space than a gender-excluding man cave or lonely little craft room. While a home bar certainly reduces the chances of achieving “Norm!” status at your local Cheers-like tavern, it does provide incredible convenience and steeply reduced prices. Plus, you simultaneously play the role of Sam Malone and Cliff Clavin.

A home bar is the the perfect blank canvas to express yourself.


A communal table in the basement with a garbage can filled with ice and beer works as well.
Achieving the ideal style of bar decor can take decades.
Combining a wine cellar with the bar makes refilling guests’ drinks easy by keeping all the booze in one place.
A theme for your home bar is a nice way to personalize it.

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