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In the Washington Post’s most recent “Ask the Builder” column, a Pensacola, Fla., native asks Tim Carter about his thoughts on adding a wet bar to a basement. Carter has built bars for quite a few customers and says the biggest mistake people make is using standard kitchen base cabinets for the wet bar. Homeowners will soon discover they can’t reach the bar comfortably. See the rest of his advice on adding a home wet bar below.

The first thing I’d do if I were you is to go visit no less than four real bars. Do this when they’re not busy and chat up the bartender. Ask if you can take photos and some measurements. Determine the best width for the bar top. Do you want your guests to be able to have a plate of food on the bar or just drinks? The width of the top determines this.

Pay attention to the width of the lower counter that the bartender works on. Note its height and the height of the actual bar. Ask the bartender what they love and hate about the bar. What would they change if given the chance?

You need to also decide which direction the bartender will face at your home. Most people want to face the guests they’re serving. Planning and getting the bar dimensions right are well worth the investment of time.

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