Back Bar Ideas


The area behind an open bar, usually along a wall, is called the back bar. When creating or designing a back bar, use your imagination to help spice up your entire bar area and add a little personality. The back bar can also offer some functionality and space to fully stock your favorite alcoholic beverages.

Shelves, Built-ins and Lights

  • Shelves along or built into the wall can create an interesting look that enhances the rest of the bar area. Other built-in ideas like cabinets, shelving for a flat screen television, or a space for a lighted aquarium are just a few ideas to add personality to your back bar. Modern or contemporary designs with added specialty lighting in the ceiling, along shelves or under the bar, help to create the perfect atmosphere and mood for your guests.

Wide or Tall Back Bar

  • You can purchase a ready-made back bar or build your own using your own design or with a blueprint plan bought online. Some plans describe how to build a classic wide and/or tall cabinet. These offer lots of storage and counter space to install a full or mini fridge and a mini bar sink. There is usually ample room in this type of back bar for several rows of liquor or wine bottles to be displayed. A wine rack and a suspended stemware rack for hanging wine glasses adds a nice touch.

Narrow or Shallow Back Bar

  • Other plans are available online for building a back bar that is narrower and shallow, which is great in bars with limited floor space. The narrow back bar provides minimal shelves and room for wine racks and possible stemware racks. Most designs of this type should allow space to display many bottles of your favorite beverage along the narrow counter area, but a sink will most likely not fit with this design. Adding a mirror behind the shelving area provides a more open, larger bar image.

Compact or Corner Back Bar

  • If space is a huge concern in your back bar area, consider a compact pre-made cabinet, or just a few small thin shelves, if a full cabinet does not fit. A corner shelving unit or custom-made corner back bar may be the best bet to allow adequate walking space behind the front bar.

For Best Results

  • Follow the design and décor of the rest of your bar and room into the back bar so it harmonizes without sticking out like it doesn't belong or was an afterthought. A little pre-planning and visualization may help with this process, or ask a few friends and family members their ideas before starting your back bar project. Creativity and exclusivity may be the design you are trying to achieve, so don't be afraid to explore some new ideas. Just remember, you will be the one looking at it the most.

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