Cocktail Hour

There are few opportunities to engage directly with your decorated environment that present themselves quite as eagerly as the home bar. It is an experience, a chance for experimentation, for frivolity and for conversation – the modern markers of luxury. It’s also a highly adaptable addition to any home, fitting in regardless of the available space. However, the perfect home bar isn’t just a collection of bottles, glasses and the odd shaker or strainer, it’s a brilliantly succinct way to pack some serious style into your living room or kitchen.

You don’t need a lot of floor space to introduce a kitchenette bar – a small, shelved alcove will suffice. Consider cordoning the space off with concertina doors or a plush-fabric curtain that will add drama to the occasion when the bar area is revealed for evening entertaining. This multi-level layout is also an ideal time to start mixing forms of different heights, creating interesting, almost cityscape-esque tableaus using a variety of bottles and decorative pieces.

If you’re looking to fill an awkward corner or simply have some available space against a wall, opt for a bar cart or repurposed trolley, which has always been one of the most unabashedly daring design plays. It knows what it is and it announces it proudly, whether it’s a high-glam vintage Italian piece in burnished brass, something skeletally Mid-century in black steel and glass or even the opulent carved wood of an old English antique. Regardless of provenance the statement is always the same: this is where the fun begins.

On a smaller scale, the same can be said for the anything-but-humble drinks tray. Nothing is off limits here and, in fact, the piece almost demands a bold use of materials – cut glass, marble, lacquer and metal – in an eclectic and inspired fashion.

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It is an experience, a chance for experimentation, for frivolity and for conversation – the modern markers of luxury

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With your bar type decided on, it’s time to get accessorizing. Mini-bar paraphernalia is a fantastical, eclectic and even sometimes-irreverent chance to show off your skills as a collector and, in the most tongue-in-cheek type of way, a curator of good times. The recent surge in the craft spirits industry has translated into the world of craft decorating where the only rule is that there are no rules. Cocktailware is, by nature, excessively glamorous with just a touch of self-referential kitsch so don’t be afraid to mix a variety of styles, combining classic elements – such as crystal decanters and 40s and 50s pieces – with humorous accessories – think copper pineapples and tiki-style objets.

Above all else cocktail hour at your home bar, whatever form it takes, is about the casual nobility of entertaining your guests, be it with by your visually captivating display, the small-batch spirits on offer or your deft use of a shaker. This is a space that speaks of imminent adventure, a sort of prelude to unknown excitement, and the way you appoint this boisterous corner of your home should say exactly the same thing.

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