People are often confused by the differences between a wet bar and a dry bar. This article will discuss those differences helping you decide which one is right for you.

large wet bar with a sink

If you enjoy entertaining, you might want to consider adding a bar area. This area is a dedicated space where you can store alcohol, mixers, and glasses to make fun cocktails.

Either a wet or dry bar works well for entertaining. Where you like to entertain and what convenience factors are important to you can help you decide which option better suits your needs.

Wet bar vs dry bar – comparisons and differences

Sinks

The biggest difference between a wet bar and a dry bar is a sink. Wet bars have sinks where you can wash out dishes or get water for making drinks. Dry bars do not have sinks.

Instead, they only have counter space for making drinks and space for storing glasses and the ingredients for the drinks.

Large kitchen with island and wet bar

Convenience

If you’re making a lot of drinks or if your guests enjoy sampling more than one type of drink, a wet bar is a great option. The sink in a wet bar provides a convenient space for cleaning out glasses, mixing vessels, or blenders.

If you entertain on the back patio or in a room that’s not close to the kitchen, a wet bar makes sense. For example, people with finished basement rooms often prefer a wet bar, since it can save you from carrying glasses across the house or upstairs.

With a wet bar, you can clean things out without having to leave the action of the party. This means that you get to spend more time with your guests, even while you’re doing cleanup.

Wet bars also make it much simpler and quicker to take care of any spills that might happen while you’re entertaining.

A sink, however, can take up a lot of space, and installing the sink and the necessary plumbing can be inconvenient.

If you tend to entertain in your kitchen or a room adjacent to the kitchen, or if you don’t need to frequently clean items while entertaining, a dry bar is generally a better choice.

With a dry bar, you often get more counter space, as that space isn’t taken up by a sink.

You can also put a dry bar almost anywhere without worrying too much about construction. A table, sidebar, or a section of your kitchen countertop or island can easily become a dry bar.

A wet bar, on the other hand, requires more construction because of the plumbing, and you’ll have to plan a space that can accommodate that plumbing.

Style

Wet bars became popular in the 1970s when entertaining rose in popularity and people began making and serving drinks at home.

Although wet bars are still very convenient, they do harken back to that time period, so having a wet bar can sometimes make a home or space feel as if it’s out of touch with the current home style.

Even a wet bar with a modern appearance can sometimes feel a little outdated.

Most modern homes are also built with open floor plans where the kitchen and living room, or the nearest entertaining space, are connected.

This means that a wet bar generally isn’t necessary, since a sink is already close by.

Cost

Another big difference between wet and dry bars is the cost. How large the bar is, how many shelves or cabinets you install, and whether or not you want to add a small refrigerator or wine rack can all affect the bar’s price.

A wet bar, however, is almost always more expensive than a dry bar. This is simply due to the cost of the plumbing. You’ll need to pay to have the plumbing installed, and you’ll also need to pay for the sink and faucet.

A dry bar, however, can be added to an existing space without changing too much around, which can cut down on costs significantly.

If you want to add a dry bar to your kitchen, for example, you might only need to clear out a cabinet or two. In this case, the only expense for the bar is the alcohol and perhaps a new set of glasses.

Many people feel that the cost of a wet bar will add value to their homes. However, this usually isn’t the case.

Because a wet bar can appear outdated, it doesn’t actually add to the value of the home and can sometimes even be a deterrent for future owners who might not want to use the bar or who don’t entertain as often.

A dry bar, however, can be converted into decorative shelving or a space for snacks and non-alcoholic beverages if the new homeowners don’t entertain or drink alcohol.

Dry bars can also be used for storage if they are not being used for their original purpose, making them much more versatile than a wet bar.

Space

Wet bars, because they feature a sink and the plumbing that goes along with it, can take up a large amount of space. If you have a large home, a wet bar can make entertaining more convenient, so the space dedicated to the bar isn’t too much of an issue.

In a smaller home, however, a wet bar can seem too large. Many people opt for the much smaller counter space of a dry bar.

Some people even prefer a simple liquor cabinet, with limited or even no counter space. A liquor cabinet can’t be considered a true dry bar if there is no actual bar space, but it’s a great option if space is limited.

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