Wet Bar vs Dry Bar

Ring ring. “It’s the 80’s calling. They want to know what you’ve done with their wet bar!”. While wet bars might have fallen out of fashion (slightly), there still might be a time and place when you want one in your man cave. Today we will take a look at wet bars vs dry bars, what the differences are, and when you could consider getting one.

Wet Bar Vs Dry Bar | Quick Answer

There are benefits and downsides to both a wet and a dry bar. The style you choose will be based on ease of installation, how much space you have and the kind of man cave you are trying to create. Here’s a quick rundown of a few things we consider great and not so great.

Dry Bar


  • Portable
  • Cheap to set up
  • Good for smaller amounts of company


  • Hard to clean
  • Can look a little ‘budget.’

Wet Bar


  • Looks really professional, lots of ‘wow’ factor
  • Easy to clean
  • Lots of options
  • Good for bigger crowds and ‘entertainers.’


  • Can be expensive
  • Hassle to plan
  • Sinks can start to get a bit ‘funky’ if they aren’t kept clean

If all this has left you feeling perplexed and you are wondering, ‘what is a wet bar’? Read on to find out more…

What is a Dry Bar?

A bar that doesn’t serve alcohol?

Doesn’t sound like our kind of bar, to be honest. A nice ‘mocktail’? No, thanks…

Although that can be the literal definition, the term ‘dry bar’ is more commonly accepted as a station at which drinks are served.

The form this ‘station’ takes can be open to interpretation, and there are several different varieties. It could be something as simple as a drink’s cabinet, complete with glasses, bottles and a few selections of your favourite tipple.

Or alternatively…

It could be an entire counter complete with a nice fridge… Or something in between.

So, what makes it ‘dry’?

In simple terms? A sink. A dry bar does not have a sink.

What is a Wet Bar?

No, it isn’t somewhere that’s going to get you in trouble with your Mrs…

A wet bar is actually pretty similar to a dry bar.

The astute amongst you will already have a good idea about what a wet bar is.

It has a sink. If you think of your local pub, the chances are that it has a wet bar. It’s great if you are serving loads of people drinks.

When Should you Choose a Dry Bar?

Remember what we said? Dry bars don’t include a sink. Guess what the advantage to this is?

  • No plumbing.
  • Dry bars can be pretty cheap to create and install. They are also quite portable. If you like to move things around or want a large degree of flexibility, then a dry bar could be for you.
  • If your man cave is near the kitchen anyway, then there seems little point in installing a separate sink and plumbing it in.

When Should you Choose a Wet Bar?

Let’s be honest.

Wet bars are a little bit of luxury. Unless you live in a mansion (or are super lazy), there’s a good chance that the effort required to install a sink might outweigh the benefits.

That said, there are a few reasons why a wet bar could be useful: –

  • If you are constantly entertaining people, it is handy to wash as you go and always have a regular supply of clean glassware.
  • If you have an outdoor mancave “pub-style,” then traipsing to and from the house might get a bit tedious when your pals order a pint, or you need to clean something up.
  • If you make many fancy drinks like cocktails, a sink can be handy to rinse and wash accessories.

What is the Point of a Wet Bar?

That’s a very good question.

Maybe now you realise why they are declining in popularity.

A wet bar is actually really useful if you’ve got a spare space that functions primarily as a bar. You’ll often see wet bars featured in basement conversions.

Some will argue that a wet bar adds value to your home, but this can be a little bit of a double-edged sword.

Sure, it’s a great feature if the would-be buyers are looking for a wet bar up in the attic… But spending the money to plumb in a sink could be counterproductive, especially if a man cave doesn’t fit into their plans for the house.

What Should a Wet Bar Have?

Ok, this list is by no means exhaustive, But let’s run through a few things that a wet bar will have… Remember, wet bars are fixed and tend to be a little larger than dry bars…

Shelf Space

First things first, any decent bar will have plenty of room to store things… Namely glasses. This depends on your choice of beverage slightly, but as a general rule, you’ll want room for a variety of glasses.

You’ll also need room for other things. This could include tools such as drinks strainers, cocktail shakers and bottle openers. But, it could also include practical things like paper towels, drinks mats and coasters and cleaning products.

A Flat Surface

This one is kind of essential.

The clue is in the name… ‘Wet bar’. Having a flat surface or preparation area is key to being able to prepare drinks quickly and easily. You’ll also have room for things such as chopping boards and ice buckets.

A Rubbish Bin

We mean a dustbin for all your waste, not a bin that isn’t good.

You are going to want somewhere to put all of those empty bottles and cans, bottle caps, straws, slices of lemon and lime and business plans that your mates draw on beermats after 3 pints.

Having a stinky bin on display isn’t the coolest thing, so we might suggest fitting a bin that goes inside one of your cabinets or units.

Drinks Storage

For things that don’t need to be kept cold, you can create your own drinks cabinet. This could be something as simple as a cupboard…

But where is the fun in that?


Who’s up for a warm beer?


Having a fridge to keep your drinks cool is pretty vital. The good news is that there are some really cool options out there

Running Water

Last but by no means least. This puts the ‘wet’ in wet bar. No, you can’t use a hose running from the garden. Yes, you do need to install a sink.

The cost of plumbing isn’t cheap and will require a fair amount of planning… When it comes to supplying your wet bar with hot running water, this is nowhere near as expensive as it used to be.

Now listen, we are about to share a secret…

For the cost of a few bottles of wine (classy wine)… you can easily and quickly get your wet bar plumbed in with hot water.


Check this electric tap out. You’re welcome.


Do I Really Need a Wet Bar?

This is the real question. Is this a case of need or want?

Here are some situations where you do probably need a wet bar

  • It’s a trek from your man cave to the kitchen
  • You have an outdoor man cave
  • You have a small kitchen
  • You tend to spill drinks a lot
  • You make a lot of cocktails

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Wet Bar?

Ok, so this isn’t cheap… But a wet bar isn’t ridiculously expensive either.

After all, for the price of a few units, some storage and a few extras, you could be pretty much set. The most expensive thing about a wet bar, by far, is the plumbing costs. Remember, it isn’t just about getting water into your bar. It is how you get it out again afterwards.

If you consider plumbing costs too expensive or just can’t’ be bothered with the hassle, a bar in your man cave is not beyond reach. You could still consider going for a dry bar.



First, don’t be too glum if you wanted a wet bar and couldn’t make it work. There are still plenty of options to create a fully usable bar that looks really cool. When it comes to a wet bar vs dry bar question, there is actually very little difference except for a sink. Some would even argue that a dry bar is easier and much less hassle. Which do you think is better? Let us know in the comments below!




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