Reader Tyler submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:
I graduated college in May. Moved to Chicago for a consulting job. Four days a week I’m in a different state and I fly back to Chicago on weekends. I have friends from college who also moved here. I like to have pre-going out parties on weekends at my place to build a social life. I want to put together a bar in my dining room. I want it to be a gentleman’s bar not something I would have done in college like a kegerator. I like being organized and prepared. Want to do it up right. Think GQ.
If you don’t already have a piece of furniture to act as a bar and you have room for it, I recommend you get something to act as your “gentleman’s bar.” This will give you a space to store the liquor you have out of direct light and your bar equipment as you acquire it (ice bucket, high ball glasses, etc.), plus you can use the top as a serving area when you do have a party. In our home, we use an Ikea Bjursta. We bought ours a few years ago and it looks a little different than the one they sell now (and I think ours was less expensive than this one), but you get the general idea. Check out Craigslist, garage sales, and second-hand shops for something more unique if that fits your style.
Once you have the furniture, your next step is to decide on a signature drink. (I’m thinking martinis, old fashions, Mary Pickfords, sidecars, Manhattans, etc.) You mentioned that you usually throw pre-parties, so let the bar you’re going to later be the one to offer a full-range of options. You just want to get the party started, and you don’t have to break the bank to do so. Find a drink recipe that you really like, and only store the ingredients for it. Change up your signature drink whenever you run through your ingredients to keep your guests interested and clutter out of your space.
Eventually, you will get nice bottles of liquor as gifts, and you can let those be your alternatives when someone isn’t a fan of your signature drink. I keep a bottle each of vodka, bourbon, gin, light rum, vermouth, and tequila in our home bar and a bottle of Khaluha, grenadine, and sweet and sour mix in the refrigerator. I also grow mint in our garden. We have friends and clients over for dinner and/or drinks four or five times a month, so we have more on hand than I think most people should. I don’t recommend storing more than what I’ve just listed. It becomes a pain to store and keep organized. As with most things, it’s about quality, not quantity. I’m trying to get back to a signature drink and get rid of some of the stuff we’re storing.
Oh, and as far as accoutrements are concerned, you honestly don’t need a lot. We have an ice bucket (you could use a bowl), a cocktail shaker, and eight high ball glasses (these are also our every day glasses when we’re not having parties).
Thank you, Tyler, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. I hope that I helped! Check out the comments section for even more bar-organizing ideas.
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