Why A Home Bar Essentials List Is A Waste Of Time

Setting up a home bar is a big project and the costs can run wild if you don’t keep them in check. Knowing what you need for your home bar is also a big project, there is so much stuff to get. Working off a home bar essentials list may not be your best bet.

There are plenty of these lists available and many of them are okay if you are setting up a professional bar. Use them as a guide, but don’t think for one minute you need all the things on some of these lists.

You Don’t

A home bar essentials list is a waste of time because a home bar is a personal entity. What you need as essentials for your home bar will be different to what I might need for mine.

In this article I will look at what is on some of these essential or must have lists. Plus look at how to personalise your own list for your own home bar.

50 Must Haves For Your Home Bar

I read a list with 50 must haves for your home bar, but there were lists with more items on them, some were over 100.

However the list I read only had 11 items that I felt were essential to my home bar.

Drinks List

There are so many types of drink available, but we don’t need them all. Here is a typical list of drinks considered essential.

  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Whiskey/Bourbon
  • White Rum
  • Dark Rum
  • Brandy
  • Tequila
  • Vermouth
  • Campari
  • Amaretto
  • Orange Liqueur
  • Coffee Liqueur
  • Cream Liqueur
  • Aperol
  • Creme De Menthe
  • Creme De Cacao
  • Beer
  • Red Wine
  • White Wine
  • Rose Wine
  • Champagne
  • Coke
  • Lemonade
  • Soda
  • Tonic
  • Ginger Ale
  • Orange Juice
  • Tomato Juice
  • Lime Juice
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Pineapple Juice

That’s enough of that, the list goes on with premade cocktails mixers, cocktail bitters and cocktail syrups. Also there are cocktail garnishes, one list had 3 types of olives, 2 types of cherries and cocktail vegetables.

Now I agree with a bottle of vodka, gin or even tequila, and of course beer and wine, but that list is not going into my home bar.

And that list is definitely not what I see as an essential list for a home bar.

Essential Home Bar Tools

why a home bar essentials list is a waste of time

This is another area where there are so many items that are deemed must haves for a home bar. Here is a typical list of bar tools considered essential.

Again the list could go on, but they are not all bar tool essentials. Give me a bottle opener, corkscrew and some bar mats, they are my essentials. Okay maybe an ice bucket and tongs, but that will do.

It might be nice to add a few cocktail making tools in the future, but they are not essential to my home bar operation.

Essential Glassware

Glassware can get a bit out of hand too. There are so many types of glasses and we don’t need all of them. Here is a typical list of essential glassware for a home bar.

  • Pint Glass
  • Half Pint Glass
  • Beer Mug
  • Highball Glass
  • Rocks Glass
  • Red Wine Glass
  • White Wine Glass
  • Champagne Flute
  • Coupe Glass
  • Sherry Glass
  • Port Glass
  • Shot Glass

Now that list is not as extensive, but if you have 5 – 10 of each then that is a lot of glasses to store. Also think of all the different beer glasses there are. Pilsner glass, straight pint glass, goblet, tulip stein to name but a few.

Likewise the same applies to wine glasses too, before you know it you will have more glasses then Wetherspoons.

Therefore give me a selection of beer glasses, a few wine glasses and a few shot glasses and that is all that is essential to my home bar. Maybe a few highball and rocks glasses too.

What else do I Need For My Home Bar?

why a home bar essentials list is a waste of time

Surely that is enough already, no there is more. And while some of the things on the lists so far are essential these are must haves.

  • Bar
  • Bar Stools
  • Bench Seat
  • Table And Chairs
  • Fridge
  • Shelving Unit

If you are going to have a home bar then you will need the things on this list. A bench seat is not essential, but some form of seating will be important.

Likewise you will need some kind of shelf unit or cabinet to store bottles and glasses.

How To Make Your Own Home Bar Essentials List

A home bar is personal to you, so only include the things you really need (or want). By all means read through a few essential lists, but only take from them the things that will fit with your home bar.

If I stocked up on all the drinks in the list above most of them would sit collecting dust. I am not a whiskey drinker, so 10 types of whiskey sitting on my shelves will only collect dust.

Likewise cocktails are not my thing, so I am not going to buy a load of spirits, mixer, bitters or all the tools for making them. Still I may get a few basics in the future, but that will be that.

Also think about who will share your home bar experiences, what family and friends will be regular visitors. I have a friend that just drink sparkling wine, so I may keep a bottle in case she forgets to bring her own.

Another friend is not into beer, he might drink a certain macro beer, but his drink is vodka and red bull. So again I might keep a bottle of vodka and a few cans of red bull in stock.

Just as another friend only drinks one type of beer, so you get it.

Tailor you home bar to your own needs and those of your regular visitors. That way you won’t have a load of drink and tools just sitting about collecting dust.

My Home Bar Essential List

why a home bar essentials list is a waste of time

I am in the process of building a pub shed at the moment, so I have a list of my essentials. Some of these will be essentials to you too, but some won’t be.

Anyway it will outline how to personalise your own list.

  • Pub Shed Building (check)
  • Bar (check)
  • Bench Seating (Presently Building)
  • Bar Stools (To Do)
  • Table (Check)
  • Shelving Unit (To Do)
  • Lighting (To Do)
  • Fridge (Check)
  • Fermentation Unit (To Do)
  • Brewing Cupboard (To Do)
  • Beer Pump And Line (To Do)
  • Selection Of Glasses (Check)
  • Selection Of Drinks (To Do)
  • Fixed Bottle Opener (To Do)
  • Corkscrew (Check)
  • Bar Mats (To Do)
  • Beer Mats (Check, but still adding to collection)
  • Dartboard (Check)
  • Pictures & Pub Memorabilia (Got some but need a lot more)
  • Pub Sign (To Do)
  • Ice Bucket & Tongs (To Do)

These are all the things that have made my essential list and the list is quite different to the ones I have read. This list will have my bar set up how I want it. In time I might decide to add more things, but this is my initial must have set up.

My selection of drinks will just include different beers and a few wines, and maybe a bottle of vodka and gin. However I am sure that will grow over time.

Final Thoughts

While the list above is suited to me, your list will almost definitely be different. Just take your time and add to the list over time. Only start with the drinks you know you are going to drink.

It is okay to get in the odd bottle of something a friend might like. However more often than not friends will bring round what they want to drink. And if they leave the bottle with some still in it, mark it with their name and it is there for the next time they visit.

I have brewing things included because I like to brew beer and this will now be done in my pub shed. So only include the things that are important to you.

I like darts and pool, I’ve included a dartboard but don’t have room for a pool table. But if you like pool and have the room, then whack one in.

The point is to not read endless home bar essentials list, just make your own tailored to you. However most of all have fun doing it.

Leave a Comment