Liquor Cabinets

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 18, 2016

Liquor cabinet

We look forward to happy hour, that moment when our work is done and we can enjoy a few drinks. But when you get home, you may find that there is nothing on-hand except a couple of stale beers in the fridge. Or maybe you invite friends and co-workers over for a dinner party every once in awhile, and when cocktails and wine are requested you find you’re fresh out of supplies. Instead, you have to search through long-forgotten cupboards only to find remnants of strange liquids you’ve collected throughout the years. If the top of your fridge is overloaded with half-used bottles or your kitchen storage space doesn’t leave room for your libations, then it may be time to invest in a liquor cabinet.

Speakeasies: Then and Now

Liquor cabinets were first invented as a cover-up. During prohibition, many people had to hide their booze, and the best way to conceal alcohol was to store it in commonplace furniture, such as cabinetry and hutches. But after the ban was lifted, the bar cabinets continued to stick around out of shear convenience. It was like having a saloon in your own home. Everything was out of the way but still easy to access. In fact, having grown so much in stature, they’ve now become a permanent fixture in many homes. Most of the time, they’re even intentionally put on display due to their elegant design and classy look.

Not a Secret Anymore

If you’re in the market to invest in a bar cabinet, don’t think of them as simple storage spaces. They’re actual furnishings intended to be showcased. Most stand alone like any other piece of furniture and are typically crafted out of high quality wood. But these freestanding closets don’t just consist of some shelves and a door anymore. There are many accessories that can now also be included.

For instance, if you have an extensive wine collection, then latticed wine racks could be installed. If you have glassware only used for special occasions, buy a unit that can store or hang these items. If a room in the house has a tavern theme, buy one with glass doors to exhibit your bottles as a form of decoration. You can even buy contemporary units with unique lighting systems, stained glass facades, or sleek metallic designs. Since they are supposed to be seen, be prepared to pay what you would for any other piece of furniture: they can range from $100-$500 (or even more) depending on their size, materials, and craftsmanship.

Keep It on the Down-Low

If you actually like the fact that they keep alcohol out of sight but you still want the convenience and sophistication they offer, you have options. Invest in a model that can also act as a hutch, vanity, or coffee table. To keep it inconspicuous, decorate the top with pictures, trinkets, or a mirror so it looks like an everyday display case to the naked eye. You can always go the custom route to add your personal touch as well. A custom liquor cabinet will be on the low end of the average cost to install traditional cabinets.

Advice for Beginners

Now that you have a liquor cabinet in your home, you have some new choices to make. Here are a few tips to consider:

Lock: These units are intended to be within easy reach, which also means that you may have to play security guard sometimes. If you have kids or an expensive collection, it may be good to invest in a lock-and-key system to avoid any possible “break-ins.”
Stock: When filling your new liquor cabinet, don’t get carried away. Unless you really enjoy exotic liqueurs, simply stock it with the basics (whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, and maybe tequila) to avoid clutter. Think of your favorite drinks, find their recipes, and keep these items on hand, but always avoid stockpiling.
Stashing: Maybe you’ll use your bar cabinet everyday, but you may find that time will go by before you enter into your collection. Therefore, since alcohol never really goes bad, you could find yourself hoarding a lot of stuff you don’t want or never use anymore. Since the whole point is to keep things organized and on display, make sure to clean out your shelves often (you never want to waste good alcohol, so maybe give it to a neighbor, leave it at somebody else’s party, or present it as a gift for Christmas) in order to keep everything tidy, presentable, and functional.

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