When building a home bar, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is actually a fairly deceptive one – to install a bar sink or not. Depending on the location of your bar, and that location’s access to plumbing, this can be a relatively simple job. But if not, is it really worth spending the extra money for a water supply and drain, or even worth altering the location of your planned project to get one? Bar sinks add important utility to a home bar – and can be pretty snazzy to look at, too – but what difference does having one really make?
Access To Running Water
Straightforward, no? There are a plethora of reasons you want access to running water in your bar, from being able to rinse glasses or fruit, fill ice trays, wash your hands or utensils, or just have some good ol’ H20 to help pace you and your nearest and dearest. It’ll save you not only having to run to your main kitchen to clean all your bar equipment, but also having to run off to rinse sticky mixers off your hands. Even very, very small bar sinks like this Cuisine bar sink from Herbeau is enough to connect your bar to some standard plumbing and get the job done without taking up much space at all.
Now, it’s possible to hook up a sink without a drain, just run a water line directly to the faucet, a little like a refrigerator water dispenser. But I’d only recommend this if you really need the water but linking your bar up to your plumbing absolutely isn’t feasible. Drains are every bit as important as the faucet itself – you can’t do most of the things a faucet would allow you to without a drain to match. A simple sink like this Stainless Steel Sink from AmeriSink doesn’t take up much space and can be installed immediately adjacent to two walls for easier plumbing access. Having a drain allows it to double as a self-draining ice bucket – just fill the sink with ice, and put your favorite bottle or some cans on to cool until you’re ready to serve.
Teeny Tiny Prep Station
The best thing about bar sinks is that many of them are spectacularly innovative in design. Take this Fete Sink from Kohler for instance. Its odd shape is like nothing you’ve seen in a sink before, but it maximizes utility while minimizing its footprint. The sink itself is hardly the size of a mug, just big enough to catch the water from the faucet without splashing. But the oblong, recessed side extension creates a petite, easy-to-clean prep station. Made of enameled cast iron, it’s highly resistant to staining and scratching, so you can use it as a mini cutting board for garnishes. To clean it, just splash with water and let it drain back into the main sink.
For a slightly more sophisticated (though not nearly as cool looking) setup, this Sinks To Go Package from Opella includes not just a sink, but a whole barkeep setup. The custom cutting board is made to fit exactly on top of the sink, either to use as a prep station for cutting garnishes or appetizers (it doubles as a pretty decent cheese board), or as a lid if you use the sink as an ice bucket. Either way, the board is easy to clean, easy to stow, won’t make a mess (any dribbles drain right into the sink), and it won’t take up any extra space, which is especially important if you have a smaller bar, or a bar with a limited prep area.
Bar Sinks Are Built Tough
If you’re hesitant about getting a bar sink because you think you’d be a little too rough on it, don’t worry – many bar sinks are built to withstand even the least able aspiring flair bartenders. The Silgrainit series of sinks from Blanco, including this simple but sturdy Rondo bar sink, are designed to stand up against heat, cold, chipping, scratching, staining, and just about any and every other common sink malady. Even if you drop your heaviest muddler from way up high directly into the sink and manage to chip it, the material is the same color all the way through, so it won’t show.
Built In Drink Server
Smaller bar sinks can be used to chill a bottle or a can or two, but larger, trough style sinks like this Chesapeake Trough Sink from Sierra Copper are the perfect, classy replacement for a big ice chest. Just fill the whole sink with ice and stash your favorite cans or bottles. The sink drains the water naturally, and can be refilled as often as needed. These are especially great for home bars with a nice TV setup, or those that are part of a larger entertainment area, so you can watch the game and grab a drink without having to lurk behind your bar.
For a smaller round or semicircular bar, this Yukon Trough Sink is a perfect choice – it offers 180 degree drinks while taking up significantly less floor space than your average bar. If you want to install a sink directly into your bar rather than a prep area, a trough style sink really is the way to go, as they can be customized to accommodate the length, width, and shape of your individual bar. The only time I would strongly recommend AGAINST this type of sink is if you have a very nice, high quality exotic wood bartop – but that probably goes without saying!
Bar Sinks Are Just Plain Fun
Even ignoring all the practical aspects of installing a bar sink, many of them come in fun, stylish designs that can help spruce up and customize your home bar design. I personally love this Mystic Martini Sink from Elkay, complete with a skewered-olive handle on the faucet. Unique sinks like this add a little personal touch and can help turn your bar into a playful space that you and your friends and family will enjoy for years to come.
Long story short, if you can find a way to make your home bar accommodate a bar sink, it’s definitely worth doing. It’s one of those little overlook-able things that can make a big difference in how easy and how comfortable it is to use your bar. If you’re designing the space for a little R&R ,a sink is definitely something not to pass up if you can help it. What are you looking for in a bar sink? What do you like about bar sinks, and where would you ideally install yours?