Having a basement bar is a great way to entertain guests at home. It’s also a great way to unwind at the end of a working day – having one means you don’t have to drive to the nearest bar or spend more money buying expensive drinks. For many people, their basement bar doubles as the family room, the entertainment center or the game room.

One of the most important elements of a basement bar is the bar counter. It’s often the center of attraction, which is why a lot of people are concerned that they may be making the wrong decision when choosing the bar counter.

We want to help you out. So, here are the considerations one has to make when choosing a bar counter.

Bar counters

photo credit: finest-spirits.blogspot.com

How Many People Are You Going to Accommodate?

This is not easy to estimate. You might have your friends over sometimes, or maybe your spouse’s friends also love coming over. How about family gatherings? Should you have a seat for each of the family member? The trick with this is to count how many people you often have. For instance, if you and your close group of friends love having a drink during weekends, then having a seat for each of you sounds sensible.

I would also suggest having extra seats just in case. A couch, in addition to the bar stools, would put you in the safe zone just in case you suddenly have more guests than expected.

Countertop Surface

There are too many surfaces to choose from when it comes to bar counters, and you’re not the only one confused on which surface is the best. Well, the most popular choice is wood. Many people actually uses the same material used for floors such as hardwood. This is because hardwood is known for being very durable and timeless. The only issue you might have with hardwood is that it’s not okay getting wet often, but this can be solved by pouring thick lacquer over it.

Another popular countertop material is stainless-steel. The big advantage of using this material is that it’s very durable. It doesn’t get scratched easily and is very easy to clean. Stainless-steel is much better suited for basement bars with a modern theme while wooden countertops are better suited for one with a classy theme.

Should I Have it Installed?

A lot of people are confused on whether they should have the bar installed or just buy a movable bar unit. Well, this really depends on you.

If you’re the type of person who likes moving things around (ex: you easily get bored of how a room looks like) then I suggest you buy a movable bar unit. This way, you can just move it around whenever you want to. This is actually a more economic choice compared to installing a bar.

If you’re the type of person who’d rather stick with an arrangement, there should be no problem with installing bar counters. Some people prefer them because they tend to make the basement bar more personalized, and it also gives the house more value should you choose to sell it in the future.

How High Should the Bar Counter Be?

The suggested height is 42 inches. Manufacturers have set this height as standard because it’s more comfortable for the average person to lean against a bar this high. It’s also the perfect height for servicing both a standing and a sitting person.

In some cases though, people have their bar’s height customized according to their own height. This way, it’s easier for them to mix or hand drinks over to their guests.


Setting up a basement bar is an expensive project. You’re lucky if your basement has already been prepared for it, otherwise, you’d need to start from scratch.

So, why would anybody spend money on a basement bar?

Well, there are many advantages to it. One of the biggest advantages is that it allows you to unwind without having to travel far. I’d always choose coming down to my basement for a bottle of beer over driving to the nearest bar.

Having a basement bar will also allow you to save in the long run. If you have to drive to a bar two times a week, staying at home will save you a gallon or two of fuel. It will also save you money because you’re buying your own drink from the store. Because bars have to spend money to run the business (employee’s pay, electricity, etc), their drinks are more expensive.

Another advantage in having a basement bar is that it provides privacy. When I was young, I’d always look for a place packed with people. Now that I’m a family man with a job, I like unwinding in quiet places better. I now prefer bars that reflect my personality.

With this being said, how exactly should you choose your bar’s design so that it gives the effect you want it to have on people?

Big and Spacey

big basement bar

photo credit: www.bs2h.com

This type of bar is perfect for people who wants comfort, luxury and style. The bar on this picture is actually not that big, but there’s a lot of space around to enable ease of movement. With this design, your guests are free to sit on the table or watch a movie or a game on the couch. The overall color is very elegant, and there’s a fridge on the side for stocking cold drinks. This bar can serve as a party place for you and your friends or as a family room for gatherings.


Relaxing basement bar

photo credit: www.creativefan.com

The color the owner chose for the walls and the bar makes this place cool to the eyes. A lot of people think they have to spend thousand of dollars for their basement bar, but this design shows that simplicity is an option. If you want your basement bar to be a place where you can relax, this is a good design to consider.


Retro Feel


retro basement bar

photo credits: www.gstisp.com

A basement bar with a retro design is a great way to travel back in time. Red and black are popular colors for this design. Important elements in completing a 50’s-inspired design include a jukebox, vintage wall signs and a checkered black-and-white floor. Play an Elvis record at the back and you’re all set to go back in time. To read more about this design, you can read our article here.


Underground Design

underground basement bar

photo credit: www.creativefan.com


Some people like the feeling of being underground. Personally, being underground makes me feel like I’m in an entirely different place. There’s also this dangerous element to it that produces adrenaline, and this is something that some people crave for.

This design is really not that difficult to achieve. Important elements include a brick wall (you might need to spend a bit of money on this) and dim lights. I’m not too crazy with the lights used on the room in the picture, and I would recommend a couple of dimmers strategically placed around the basement instead.



pub-inspired basement bar

photo credit: www.kenmoreinn.com


If you miss the feeling of being in a pub without the annoying people, you can make your home basement bar look like a pub bar. This is a great idea because not only will you have privacy, you can decide on your own music too.

Pub bars usually have lots of drink displayed since they have to mix drinks often. Stocking on a lot of drinks can be expensive, and unnecessary if you only like a couple of them. You can actually buy empty bottles and put it on the bar as decoration, just to make it look like there’s a lot of choices and then just stock up on what you actually drink.



modern minimalist basement bar

photo credit: www.st.houzz.com


I’m such a big fan of modern-minimalist design. I love how the simplicity of the design seems to make a place look elegant, without the need for frills. The lamps and the vases at the top of the cupboard gives this place a homey, traditional feel. You can also stick to strict minimalist by getting rid of these decorations.



sports-themed basement bar

photo credit: ww.cdn.decoist.com


Men loves sports, so it’s not surprising for too many basement bars with a sports theme. If you’re going for this design, I suggest adding a large-screen television for watching games. I mean, what good is a sports-themed bar if you can’t watch games, right? Make sure to have lots of comfortable seats for your friends.


Poker Night

poker basement bar

photo credit: www.cdn.decoist.com


I’m a poker fan, and this is something I’d love to have. The poker table replaces the popular billiard pool, and it spells m-a-n-l-y, all the same. The bar is just nearby, so handing out drinks to the players shouldn’t be a problem. The only comment I have with this is that it could have used better lighting at the poker table.




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Configuration Your bar counter can either make a statement or fade into the overall design and style of the basement depending on the focal point of the space. Further, the finished look can be as individualized as you are depending on the materials chosen and affordability. From the onset, an essential element for consideration is […]

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