home truths

When we viewed our house, one win­ning fea­ture stood out as a ma­jor sell­ing point.

Real Homes - - Contents - FOL­LOW LISA @_lisa_­daw­son_

Our monthly colum­nist, Lisa Dawson, on home bars

Ob­vi­ously room sizes, school catch­ment area and park­ing for two cars was up there on the list, but there was one ex­tra ben­e­fit that boldly swayed our pur­chas­ing de­ci­sion. Out­door space? Util­ity room? Nope. The bonus was a fully func­tion­ing, 1970s-style home bar. We’d hit the jack­pot. Play it cool, Trig, play it cool.

Okay, so when I say the words ‘home bar’, it sounds rather more glam­orous than the re­al­ity. The de­vel­oper had taken a cor­ner of the room, added a counter top, a mounted bot­tle opener and a cou­ple of op­tics.

For most, it would be wasted sofa space. For us, it had PARTY writ­ten all over it in flash­ing neon lights. Sold to the cou­ple with the gin ob­ses­sion and a love of clas­sic 1980s sit­coms.

Back in the 1950s, so­cial­is­ing at home was the norm. No liv­ing room was com­plete with­out a fully lit drinks cabi­net or side­board groan­ing with de­canters. Sherry was served at six, cock­tails at seven – peanuts and stuffed olives, ice and a slice came as stan­dard. Then came the af­flu­ent 1990s and no one wanted to stay in and have fun; wine bars, mir­ror-balled dance floors and Har­vey Wall­bangers were es­sen­tial for a good night out.

But over the last few years, the home bar has been mak­ing a come­back. Eco­nomic fac­tors mean we are more likely to be cook­ing a meal for friends than putting on the ritz at an ex­pen­sive restau­rant or mem­bers club. Din­ner par­ties are back in vogue, en­ter­tain­ing at home is the new black, and the drinks trol­ley is fea­tur­ing promi­nently. Oh yes! Par­ty­ing at home has sev­eral key ben­e­fits. One, it is im­pos­si­ble to be late when you only have to walk down the stairs. Two, you don’t have to queue for a taxi with drunk peo­ple who think they are hi­lar­i­ous. Three, you’re never too inadequately dressed to wait for said taxi in arc­tic tem­per­a­tures. And four, if you are quite rude (like my hus­band) you can evict your friends at mid­night and go straight to bed.

No mat­ter what size your space, there’s al­ways room for a home bar. Trawl the char­ity shops or Ebay for old tea or bar trol­leys. I’ve been known to buy spirit bot­tles based purely on their aes­thetic value. Vin­tage glass­ware looks fab­u­lous teamed with gold ac­ces­sories, and a retro ice bucket is es­sen­tial for your drinks tool kit.

And you don’t have to stop at the trol­ley when it comes to mak­ing a state­ment. Look for ‘bar’ signs to help point peo­ple in the right di­rec­tion, and use sub­tle light­ing and green­ery to make the area look wel­com­ing. It’s a known fact that peo­ple al­ways gather in the kitchen at par­ties. The best thing about hav­ing a home bar is that it pro­vides some­where for peo­ple to grav­i­tate to rather than hang­ing round the fridge – al­ways an un­wel­come dis­trac­tion when you’re try­ing to get your nib­bles out of the oven.

I love a house party. On my 40th, I had a 1970s theme and didn’t stop at the out­fit. Cheese and pineap­ple sticks, chicken vol au vents, Baby­cham and Snow­balls were served, and the cake was a stand with mini lemon meringues, Bakewell tart and Black For­est gateau. If you’re them­ing, go the whole hog.

So dig out the tea trol­ley, drag out the neon sign and get styling. In­vest in gor­geous gins and ac­ces­sories to make your liv­ing room the best bar in town. And add a hint of 1970s kitsch. It’s of­fi­cial – stay­ing in is the new go­ing out.

‘At par­ties, A home bar is some­where

For peo­ple to grav­i­tate to rather than hang­ing round the fridge’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.