Shopping for furniture can be both a pleasant and stressful experience, especially in the world of alcohol storage. Although choosing designs and colors can be fun, factoring in budget, additional features, and overall functionality can render the journey a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, there are a number of seasoned pros out there to help.
In addition to providing storage, home bar cabinets can also double as entertaining pieces. Our team spoke to the experts behind the bar, and those who design them, to learn what the most important features to consider are when at-home bar cabinet shopping, plus the design trends and best home bar cabinet picks for 2024.
Jump To: Our Best Home Bar Cabinets for 2024
What to Consider When Buying a Bar Cabinet for Home
Overall, the pros agree that design, size, storage capacity and materials/durability are the most important factors to consider. Jarett Karlsberg, beverage director at Wythe Hotel, recommends considering whether you’ll be storing bottles, glassware, or both, as well as if you’ll also be using the cabinet as a place to prep. Jennifer Ewald, partner at Parkbench Architect, mentions noting the dimensions of the bar cabinet, as well as factoring people’s ability to flow to and around the bar. “There are great options on the market at all price points, and keeping your budget in mind will help you find one that meets your needs without overspending,” she explains.
Design and Aesthetic
Jordan Schehr, interior designer and founder of Jordan Schehr Design, notes that although home bar cabinets can be statement pieces, they should absolutely make sense in the context of the room they will live in—and above all, should enhance the other furnishings and design elements in the space. “For example, a rustic wine barrel-themed bar cabinet will look out of place in the context of a quiet modern room,” he explains. Doris Gilch, commercial interior designer at J Banks Design, agrees, stating that bar cabinets should complement the style, design, and aesthetic of an entire space.
Stilo Pimentel, east coast ambassador for Milagro Tequila, adds that home bar cabinet should reflect your personal style, as well as your taste for the bottles inside. “It’s important to let your bottles share the stage; don’t let the cabinet steal all the attention,” he suggests. Above all, Ewald recommends choosing a bar cabinet that goes with your home’s existing decor. “Great bars should be a beautiful addition at all times, not just during cocktail hour,” she says.
Size and Space
Considering the physical size of the bar cabinet—as well as the available space in your home—is key. Caden Worley, beverage manager at Don Angie, says it’s important to find a bar cabinet that uses space effectively. “Whether you’re an amateur bartender or simply want the basics, you’re going to want a cabinet that can contain bottles and glassware, ideally in the sexiest way possible,” he says.
With regards to maximizing space, Schehr recommends being realistic about what needs to be stored in the cabinet, and making sure that it has enough room to be useful, while also remaining the right size for the room it will live in. “The worst is when a bar is too massive for the room; this tends to scream bachelor pad vibes,” he says.
In addition to the size of the home bar cabinet, ensuring sufficient space for bottles, wine glasses, barware, decanters and accessories is a must, as is considering adjustable shelves and compartments that can accommodate various size bottles and can change with your needs Liz Pearce, central US ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin, notes that shelves should be sturdy enough to support the weight of bottles, and ideally, have some form of door closure to keep potential clutter hidden.
When purchasing a bar cabinet, there are a few functionality features to consider. Will you be using the cabinet for wine, spirits, or both—and if so, will it have an integrated wine refrigerator? Are there any expandable features or organizational units, such as racks or drawers? Of course, these are all a matter of preference, but knowing which features will suit you best up front will help lead you to the best cabinet possible. Schehr finds that having versatile shelving and an open-flat surface for drink preparation is often best. “The value of a generous open flat space cannot be understated,” he says.
Pimentel cites an appreciation for cabinets that can be used both as a place of storage and a workspace, like a credenza, thus alleviating the need to move to a separate counter space. “When choosing this option, make sure the counter space is at waist level,” he suggests. “Proper bartenders consider the workspace as a cockpit —meaning everything you need should be at arm’s reach,” he affirms. Pearce finds that drawers are great for storing bitters and tools, and if the option for refrigeration is there, it’s absolutely worth springing for.
Karlsberg agrees, stating that if wine is also going to be stored in the cabinet, then it should most definitely be temperature controlled, and while Schehr finds wine storage handy, he states that should you already have it elsewhere, prioritizing additional storage and workspace for your bar cabinet key. No matter which cabinet you choose, Pearce recommends placing it away from direct sun. “You don’t want your home bar cabinet to be righting in front of a window, as light can damage or change some spirits and liqueurs!” she exclaims.
Materials and Durability
Materials and durability go hand in hand, which is why the professionals tend to steer towards certain foundations. Pearce affirms solid wood all the way, though, suggests not skimping on cheap materials, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF). “I also recommend glass shelves only if they’re tempered and very sturdy,” he says. With regards to bar tops, Karlsberg finds that metal will be the most durable, though he personally loves wood. “It’s still sturdy, but picks up character over time,” he reveals.
Bar Cabinet Design Trends for 2024
Schehr says curves will be big in 2024, as well as quieter wood grains with more refined finishes and deco-inspired metal details. “As the arch continues to appear in architecture, so too will the curve show itself in furniture design,” he explains. Ewald agrees, adding mixing and matching historical eras of furniture will be on the rise, as well as bold, lacquered colors and wood veneer. An emphasis on lighting interiors with LED strips or linear fixtures is also gaining popularity in both residential and commercial interiors according to Gilch, which works beautifully to illuminate bottles and finishes.
Our Best Home Bar Cabinets for 2024
Now you know what to look for in a home bar cabinet, we’ve asked the industry pros to weigh in on the best home bar cabinets for 2024 spanning a variety of sizes, budgets, and features for every type of space and style.
Best Tall Bar Cabinet
Carousel Acacia Wood Bar Cabinet With Cooling Storage Option
A great way to maximize space in smaller homes is to take advantage of height over depth. Schehr finds that the Carousel’s curved rotating top cabinet gives it an architectural feel reminiscent of design details you might find at a swank hotel or downtown haute. “Bonus points for the inlaid granite fold-out work surface that makes worrying about ring marks and faded veneers unnecessary,” he says, also citing the cabinet’s versatility and volume of storage, all while “keeping a tighter footprint” that works well in homes with limited space.$2,395 Wine Enthusiast
Best Bar Buffet Cabinet
Navarra Acacia Wood and Resin Inlay Sideboard with Cooling Storage Option
Schehr describes this option as the “un-bar cabinet,” in that it’s the perfect piece for those who seek to hide functionality with an aesthetically pleasing piece. “This [cabinet] flows seamlessly into your living room or dining room without ever looking like a bar,” he explains. He recommends pairing this cabinet with large-scale art on the wall above along with a trio of vases for a beautiful contemporary design scheme.
Pearce agrees. “This Navarra option is really beautiful and discreet, and I like the refrigeration option—plus, you still have the option to display things on top!” she exclaims. Worley highlights the cabinet’s all-in-one feel, specifically with regards to the wine cooler option. “If you have more square footage, this can double as a congregating area with the increased surface area on top, with space to hold canapés, ice buckets for white or sparkling wine, or small pieces of home decor—plus the wood is totally sexy,” he says.$3,295 Wine Enthusiast
Best Bar Cabinet With Wine Fridge
Cheverny Metal Inlay Bar Cabinet with Cooling Storage Option
Pimentel reveals that he personally loves this piece’s use of solid mango wood, bronze accents, and overall art-deco design. “It’s like your own personal speakeasy; it has space for everything you need, as well as the appropriate workspace to make drinks,” he says. Worley agrees, additionally highlighting the cabinet’s wine cooler storage option. “It’s an all-in-one: it’s space efficient, plus has room for glassware, spirits, bar tools, and a fridge for all the showpiece wines one might have,” he says, noting the cabinet’s beautiful door handles, which promise to work well in both minimalist or maximalist home designs. The French doors make this look as good looking open as it is closed,” adds Schehr.$2,495 Wine Enthusiast
Best Liquor Bar Cabinet
Crescent Spirits Bar Cabinet
Home bar cabinets with dedicated liquor storage space are ideal for showcasing spirits, and the Crescent Spirits Bar Cabinet makes an exceptional statement. “The Crescent [offers] a marriage of beauty and function,” says Schehr, highlighting the elegance of the cabinet’s demilune soft curve and mix of materials. LED lighting and a woven rattan backsplash is especially notable, illuminating your bottles with a warm golden glow. “This is the perfect cabinet when you want to display your love and enthusiasm for spirits and entertainment,” he says. Gilch also finds the use of various materials (wood, metal, rattan-woven back) intriguing, citing that the combination makes the cabinet “appear like a vintage piece of furniture that has been retrofitted to a bar cabinet.”$2,195 Wine Enthusiast
Best Modern Bar Cabinet
Lodi Hutch Bar Cabinet
“Another winner here,” says Pimentel, describing the piece as light and elegant, while also calling out its “flirty peekaboo/porthole style doors” that can easily display beautiful bottles of booze. The unit’s locking liquor cabinet and three storage drawers offer multi-use functionality, including hiding potential clutter and keeping tools out of sight when not in use—plus the mango wood and powder coated metal finish offer the perfect mix of durability and elegance. Pimentel says it’s “a perfect workspace so that eyes are always on you and your gorgeous cabinet.”$3,295 Wine Enthusiast
Best Space-Friendly Bar Cabinet
Hideaway Bar Cabinet With Cooling Storage Option
With a built-in cooling system and foldout Murphy table, our experts agree that the Hideaway Bar Cabinet is perfect for wine and spirits lovers alike. Karlsberg points out the cabinet’s ample amount of shelf space and additional workspace up top. “It’s simple and beautiful as a cabinet, but can easily transform into a functioning bar,” he says. Schehr says it’s an elegant option for a wine lover, due to the optional cooler. “I love that it opens to a generous surface for service and folds into a clean neat package when not in use,” he shares. Pimentel agrees, stating it’s a perfect complement to other wood or leather pieces in the home. “This option would be perfect for small spaces; once opened, it is extremely inviting to the curious guest—and would make one heck of an impression,” he says.$2,195 Wine Enthusiast
Best Compact Bar Cabinet
Barrel-Inspired Spirits Wall Bar with Prep Shelf
With its narrow depth and clever design, this spirits bar is a great low-profile and affordable option. “The integrated lighting and pull-out table offer great flexibility at a very modest price point,” says Ewald. Schehr agrees, describing the interior lighting shining through the metal grate front as particularly inviting. “The pullout drawer [also] makes a homey serving surface and just feels good to use,” he says, equally noting that this cabinet is perfect for those with limited floor space (hello, apartment-dwelling city folk).$795 Wine Enthusiast
Whether you’re looking for a full service bar for your prized wines and spirits or a simple solution to enjoy your favorite drinks, Pearce says your home bar cabinet decision ultimately comes down to style choices. “All of them have storage, and which one would choose would ultimately depend on how you entertain,” she says, and don’t forget the contents inside. For more inspiration, explore our full collection of furniture and decor.
Published: February 9, 2024