9 Mini-Bars for the Urban Small Space

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vintage couple having drinks

There are people who drink, and then there are people who have drinks.

The latter tend to appreciate what it is in their glass. They’re winetasting, making cocktails, cellaring beer, and more. They’re the folks investing in quality concoctions and they’re passionate about what they’re enjoying on any given night.

If you’re a fan of cocktails, you know how expensive a good collection of booze can be. That’s why it’s nice to have a way to display your beautiful booze. A bar, well, that’s fantastic, but in today’s ever-shrinking urban apartment, you’re lucky if you have space for a full-size sofa, let alone a bar!

And that’s why they make mini-bars. For most of us, we’ll never have more than 8 to 15 bottles to show at a time, and a mini-bar is perfect.

From reinvented suitcases to improvised booze carts, here are a variety of options that might make Happy Hour a whole lot more swanky chez toi.

1. Vintage suitcase on wheels

You’re packed full of goodness when you’ve got a great retro case upcycled to store your bar. With lots of sizes to choose from, if you’ve got the DIY skills to trick out a case, you can go big and kit it up with wheels, like this great version has.

2. The wine barrel bar

You’ll find examples of this in fancy architectural sites and decor pages, and why not? I absolutely adore this look, and here you have complete instructions and a tutorial. The wine barrel has a door cut into it and shelves installed, along with an interior light, to create a stunning feature point, and I bet that aged, wined wood smells amazing.

3. Quirky hipster winebar

This is a weird hodgepodge mini-bar but it shows you how you can vamp up some old pieces, add some baskets and knobs, and presto, a funky oddball mini-bar will keep you drinking in hipster vogue.  I’d have loved this in my 20s.

4. The industrial bar cart

I love the idea of bar carts. Wheel your bar to your sofa? Hello! What’s not to love? Well, this is just a brilliant, gorgeous project, all started with a rusty, ugly industrial cart found at a flea market. I’d be proud to put a version of this in my home, since minimalism and functionality with a pop of color tends to go better with more spaces than fancier options can.

5. The “You say tools, I say booze” cart

This US General Tool Cart looks fantastic once it’s outfitted with all the lovely booze and its accoutrements. I think it’d look terrific in urban lofts and modern spaces. For under a hundred bucks and with no futzing about, it’s a great sturdy option, and if you ever give up the booze, you’re all set to start a workshop up.

6. The Upcycled Tube TV Bar

Old tube-style TVs are being turned into gorgeous mini-bars. Whether it’s the large console style or just the TV itself, they all look pretty cool. Like this one here. Don’t be afraid to paint it and get crazy, because they’re a wonderful conversation piece.

7. The converted dresser

This “Bliss Ranch” DIY project has a ton of country chic. Rustic, funky, and fun, this is a wonderfully inventive way to repurpose a free old dresser when you’re wanting a bigger option that can store your glasses and other necessities.

8. The butler’s table

Like a TV stand but with walls around the top, these are a sturdy and smart solution that can sit in the corner. They tend to come without wheels, so it doesn’t have the fluid convenience of a cart, but with a top that copes off and folding legs, it certainly is portable. It’s a good amount of space for a basic cocktail counter.

For example, this mirrored butler table is a sleek $99 new from Cost Plus World Market and would be a terrific mini bar station.

9. The simple, sturdy tray

When all else fails, find yourself a great tray, preferably with raised sides. You’ll need really strong handles, and a place to store it with everything on it, but it’s a cost-effective, space-smart way to keep a small mixing station contained and still remain portable.

I found a nice silver tray, simpler than the one pictured here but still snazzy, at Value Village, of all places, for $5, and you’d never know it was a bargain find. I keep mine in a cupboard and can pull it out for parties.

Whatever Works

In the end, there are a lot of ways to store your alcohol, whether you use up counter space, bookshelves, or just a stand in the corner. There’s something nice about making it a ceremonial experience. You bring it out, put it away, and it feels more satisfying.

Where’s your booze?

Do you have a creative way of storing booze?

Do you have a non-creative way that still totally works for you?

Tell us all about it in the comments section of this post.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.