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Image: Nelle Clark

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Jamie Boudreau, co-owner, Canon; Soni Davé-Schock, co-owner, Bottlehouse and Mr. West Cafe Bar

No more stashing away booze in that cabinet above the fridge. Take pride in your bottle collection and finally build that home bar—with no actual building out if that’s not your thing. A pair of aficionados behind two of Seattle’s most beloved watering holes explain how having your own bar can be as easy as picking a favorite cocktail.

Mix and Match

Don’t feel obligated to go out and buy a full set of bar glasses, says Soni Davé-Schock. If you like manhattans and fizzy drinks, keep martini glasses and highballs. Intermix bottles and glassware on shelving for a dynamic display. And keep a bowl of fruit for your signature cocktail garnish. “The idea is that you’re highlighting what’s special to you.”

Choose a Signature Cocktail 

If you have a fat bar budget, go ahead and buy all your bottles at once. But it might be smarter to pick a favorite drink and stock around that. “Unless your taste is extremely esoteric,” says Jamie Boudreau, “most basic ingredients will be able to form many other cocktails.” 

Stay out of the Kitchen

Whether you’re repurposing an existing surface or constructing a new bar, stay away from the stove-fridge-sink triangle, says Davé-Schock. Instead utilize empty square footage—like a cluttered or unfocused desk area—to “direct traffic flow, get people out of the kitchen, and encourage them to congregate in other parts of the home.”

Keep a Toolbox

“You’ll need a shaker, strainer, mixing glass, spoon, citrus peeler, and juicer. That’s about it,” says Boudreau. But these tools don’t have to be uniform. Davé-Schock suggests mixing materials to add texture and color to a bar spread. And that includes the ice bucket. Go with something unexpected like teal. 

Go Mobile

Find a bar cart—or stick casters on a good-looking TV armoire—for a more flexible beverage setup. Davé-Schock also recommends a serving tray to extend the surface of the bar. Give the cart its own space by hanging a fabric backdrop or a piece of art.

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