Wet Bar vs Dry Bar: What should you install?

Entertaining in your home is serious business, but serving the right drinks… now that’s a top priority. For that you need the right bar… but should you install a wet bar or dry bar? Having a bar in your home is a great place to serve those drinks without having to prance through your house looking for the perfect beverage or accessory. Installing the wrong type of home bar can be disastrous to the comfort and quench of your guests.

There are many design aspects to setting up a bar, from barware as well as furniture like stools.

Let’s start with the obvious question before we knuckle down to all the finer details of each.

What is a dry bar?

A dry bar is a piece of furniture that is designed to store all of your barware… bottles, glasses and other accessories and usually houses a fridge to store beer and wine.

A dry bar can be built into a room or be mobile and the bench is usually built at counter height. There are many designs available so it really comes down to personal preference on how you want the bar to be laid out.

The term “dry bar” is sometimes used to refer to a bar that does not serve any alcohol. This is also a true definition but when the term is used to compare a wet bar or dry bar then a dry bar simply means a bar without a sink.

What is a wet bar?

A wet bar on the other hand, includes all of the features of a dry bar and also includes a sink with running water.

Wet Bar vs Dry Bar: What’s the difference?

A wet bar has a sink where a dry bar doesn’t but apart from this, there is no difference between them. A sink can be very handy so we’ll run through the reasons why you might want to install a wet bar below.

When would you choose a wet bar?

  • You’re going to spill something or need to wash something (such as your hands) so a sink is a great thing to have in a bar if it’s feasible
  • When you want to rinse out a shaking tin, spoon juice squeezer or some other accessory commonly used when making cocktails
  • When the kitchen is a long way from the bar
  • The sink can be used to hold ice (so long as you clean it well beforehand)

When would you choose a dry bar?

  • you want the bar to be portable
  • it is not possible to run a water pipe to the bar
  • you are not able to run a drain pipe away from the sink
  • there isn’t space to install a sink
  • you don’t want to spend the extra money to install
  • the kitchen is close to the bar

Do You Need to Run Hot Water to a Wet Bar?

You can setup a wet with only cold water if you wish. It will definitely save you money by just running cold water. If you only have access to a cold water pipe, you can get hot water by installing an electric instant water heater. The Ecosmart ECO Mini Electric Tank Water Heater will take up space under the sink, but it gives you almost instant hot water from your faucet. In many occurrences, you will be able to pay your plumber a little more money to run hot water pipes to your wet bar. You may not use the hot water very often but if your plumber is going to great lengths to run a cold water pipe then they should be able to run a hot water pipe at the same time.

Does a Wet Bar All Value to a Home?

Adding a wet bar to your home will definitely add value, and here’s why:

  • many homes have unused rooms like basements and attics (if these spaces can be made into functional areas of the home then they will definitely add value)
  • a well made wet bar will add a “wow” factor to your home (potential buyers want to be “wowed” when inspecting a house)
  • it adds another “mini” kitchen to your home, together with a fridge and running hot and cold water, you have a fairly functional kitchen
  • today’s homes are all about entertaining (the more entertaining areas you have in a house, the more value you will create)

Plan Your Bar

Whether you plan on installing a wet bar or a dry bar. Planning is crucial. Things like fridges, sinks and kegerators all need to be properly allocated for from the beginning. It is always best to leave room for things like a kegerator, even though you may not plan of having one at the beginning. You still have room to install one later. Are you building your bar in the basement? There should also be plenty of storage space for things like glassware. The last thing you want is to be running backward and forwards to the main kitchen just to grab that beer glass.


A wet bar is more than just running water and drinks, it makes a bar look more complete. If you have the space, water pipe accessibility and budget you definitely should install one. It may not be something that you use all the time but it’ll surely be a handy option when you need it. Most importantly, install the type of bar that suits YOUR needs.