Alright, so you’ve read our How-To Guide on creating the perfect bar for your man cave. You’ve decided on the location, the layout, the materials you want to use, and the alcohol you’ll be stocking.
You’ve got it all figured out. You’re ready. You’ve starting picking out custom cabinetry with glass doors, wine racks, bar stools, and liquor bottles.
But first things first. Whether the bar is going in a finished basement, a living room, or even an outdoor kitchen, there’s one more decision you need to make: Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar. What’s the difference? Why does it matter? Let’s get into it.
What is a Wet Bar?
The thing that differentiates a wet bar from a dry bar — the thing that makes wet bars, well, wet — is a bar sink. The main difference between a wet bar and a dry bar is that a wet bar has a sink. Actually, that’s the only difference.
It may not seem to be the most important feature for a bar, but it can take your guys’ nights to the next level. Adding a sink to your bar makes cleaning up during a party simple and easy, so you can focus on having a good time with the boys.
What is a Dry Bar?
In contrast, a dry bar functions more like a standard counter and storage space. You can still have the mini-fridge, beer taps, or other amenities you choose to include, just without the kitchen sink attached.
While the dry bar doesn’t give you the convenience of having a sink close by if you need it, it is still a worthwhile investment for any house.
Wet Bar or Dry Bar: Which Should You Choose?
So now you know the difference between wet bars and dry bars you have to choose from. But how do you decide which bar is the right fit for you? Let’s break it down.
Pros of the Wet Bar
The addition of a sink with running water at your bar makes cleanup quick and easy. Mixing cocktails for your guests? Need to clean the used glasses? You can now rinse your equipment between drinks in a matter of seconds.
You can even install an instant hot water system for hot water on demand if you choose a wet bar. If you know how to run a water line, this is an easy way to add hot water.
Now you don’t need to drag an armload of glasses up to the kitchen only to have to bring them back down to your man cave. Did someone spill their drink on the countertop? Having a water source nearby lets you clean up the mess without the sticky residue that would be left behind if you were using a plain paper towel. It’s all about convenience.
Since you’re already running water lines for your wet bar, you may also want to consider installing a small dishwasher to make cleanup even easier.
If you plan on having parties and entertaining guests, a wet bar is definitely a good idea. It may even increase the resale value of your home.
Cons of the Wet Bar
While having a wet bar is convenient, making one is not. It’s a matter of plumbing. The main issue with making your own wet bar is how you’re going to get running water to your bar. First, you need to figure out where your closest water supply and plumbing lines are and how far they are from your bar’s location.
Once you have that figured out, you will need to hire a plumber to connect your plumbing lines. This can be a complicated and expensive process. It’s important to consider the cost and hassle when deciding if the wet bar is the right fit for your man cave.
Pros of the Dry Bar
To put it simply, dry bars are a lot more DIY friendly for the average person. Without the hassle and expense of hiring a plumber to bring running water to your bar, you can focus on adding other amenities to your entertainment room.
Let’s be honest, a sink can take up a lot of room. If it isn’t a priority for you, that’s space that can be used for something more important, like counter space for a prep area. The dry bar may be simple, but sometimes simple is more effective.
If you are just going to be drinking a few beers, then skipping the sink is a great way to save money that you can spend on a good beer fridge or wine fridge.
Cons of the Dry Bar
Depending on how far your man cave is located from your kitchen, the lack of a water can be detrimental. If you have a basement bar, running up and down the stairs to the kitchen sink can become tiresome.
The point of having your own bar in your man cave is to avoid having to venture out to the kitchen to get another one of your favorite beverages or to clean a glass.
Having the added sink in your man cave allows you to keep your alcohol and drinking glasses in the man cave ecosystem. Without the convenience of a sink, you’re forced to choose between using up more glasses during the night to clean after the party or leaving the party to clean your glasses. Either way, it’s a mess.
Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Other Things to Consider
What kind of alcoholic beverages will you be serving? Mixing cocktails requires more equipment than pouring a glass of beer, creating more dishes to clean between drinks. In this case, having a sink nearby would be handy.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a lot of space then adding a sink to your bar area might take away from the entertainment area.
What kind of parties will you be throwing? Having a couple of buddies over would create a lot fewer dishes than, say, a large scale Super Bowl party would create. In that case, having a water source close by for clean up might not be too high on your priority list.
How often are you using the bar? If you’re using the bar frequently it might be worth it for you to invest more money into the quality of your bar. If you’re only using it once in a while, something a little simpler will do just fine.
Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Who’s the Winner?
Home bars became popular in the 1950’s and not too much has changed – it’s still about personal preference. Ultimately, the choice really depends on your own needs and desires. Keep in mind the overall feel and purpose for your man cave and make your choice accordingly.
If the vibe you’re going for with your home bar is a full-service cocktail bar, the wet bar is a great idea. If you’d be happy with a mini fridge and an ice bucket full of beer, then a dry bar is the better option.
If you prefer a more casual bar to store your drinks, a dry bar may be a better fit for you when you need them. If you’re still on the fence, you can always start with a dry bar and add a sink or wash counter at a later time if you feel like your home bar will need it.
No matter what type of bar you choose, your bar is an important piece of furniture for your man cave. A man cave bar is a great entertainment space.