July 8, 2015

A Guy Walks Into A Basement Bar

I had this scary reoccurring dream as a kid where I would walk downstairs into my dark basement and Bozo and Cookie the clowns would be sitting at the bar waiting for me.  I'm not sure why they were sitting at the bar, and I'm not sure what they wanted with me...gosh, maybe I need some psychotherapy for this one. 

Aside from the the weird clown dreams, the basement was the source of a lot of fun and happiness when I was growing up.  It's where we had parties.  It's where we spent Christmas Eve with the family. It's where I played "restaurant" and "school" with my friends...and eventually it's where we reenacted all the scenes from Grease.  However, it was still a basement:  cool, dark and damp.

Basements have come a long way in the last twenty years or so.  They have become true extensions of our homes and not just a place where we throw things we don't want around...including our kids.  We put a lot of thought into our basements and how we can make them uniquely ours.

This is a subject I know all too intimately.  We just did the basement-remodel-from-hell last year.  It started with a "Let's finish the basement so the kids have somewhere to hang out with 100 of their closest friends," to a "Let's finish the basement so we can have somewhere to hang out with 100 of our closest friends."  Long story short, after three contractors and ten months, we have a very cool basement.

The thing we went back-and-forth with most was what to do with the bar.  This is also something very important to buyers.  I can't tell you how many times my clients will walk away from a house because they don't like the bar area.  This is interesting because often the people who make the biggest deal about the bar will rarely or never use it. 

You'd be astonished by some of the answers I get when I inquire why a bar is important to someone.  Some say they will use it to cook meals and entertain for the holidays.  That's all fine and well, but running up and down the stairs a million times will get really old if you don't have a full-size refrigerator and oven.  Some say they are going to throw huge fantastic Super Bowl parties.  Great.  Buy a house for a football game that comes once-a-year.  Some actually say they have no idea because they rarely entertain.  I love that one.

Here's my advice:  Figure out if and how you will use a home bar. There will be some things you need and some things you think you need that you really don't.  Will you be using it purely for a refreshment area?  A small fridge and a microwave will suffice.  Do you drink a lot of wine?  You'll need a wine refrigerator and perhaps a room-converted-to-a-cellar to store it.  Will you be making a ton of drinks?  Get an ice maker.  Will you be watching the game?  Invest in a good TV and comfy stools.  Do you have small intimate get-togethers?  A sprawling bar will be a waste.  Will you have people over who are similar to my neighbors?  You'll need a place to chill Rumchata and to store a few hundred bottles of vodka. 

Don't have any friends?  Just sit at the kitchen table and call it a day.



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