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The Home Bar


“Enter as strangers, leave as friends.” So often this statement describes what happens in the local bars of Southeastern Wisconsin. But what happens when the bar is found in the home? Whether built for personal use, occasional hospitality, or boisterous entertaining, the home bar is a bonus room that creates a unique social setting and offers a revealing reflection of a homeowner’s personality.

Lake & Country had the privilege of visiting four exquisite and unique in-home bars. We toured historic, passion inspired, family oriented, and imported bars around the Lakes Area. While each is unique and has an individual story and purpose, they all share the similar function of bringing people together.

The Historic
This Fontana home, built in the early 1900s, offers warmth, charm, and elegance. The owners converted a former sleeping porch into a private bar room, maintaining several aspects of the original house, such as oak bead board ceilings and textured walls. Sitting high up above Geneva Lake, the room features what could easily be one of the best views of the lake. The quaint four-stool bar was designed to bring close friends and family together in a casual and warm atmosphere.

The room holds personal meaning as well. The space honors people and moments of great significance to the homeowners. Decor commemorating his father, memories of their daughter’s engagement, and a personal throne behind the bar fill this room with the personalities of the homeowners. Though this home bar has the accommodations to entertain a small crowd, it is most often used as a personal retreat. Whether it be a quiet lunch, an afternoon game, or drinks with the family, this home bar is a favorite gathering place any time of year.

Dream Inspired
Nearby, a Fontana homeowner dreamed of retiring on a boat in the Caymans, but he eventually traded this dream in order to stay close to friends and family. His home may not be floating in the Caribbean, but it is every bit the boat he had always dreamed of. Working side by side with the builders, this homeowner transformed the main living areas into a replica of a yacht’s interior. The solid oak floor was paneled and stained grey with hand painted grooves to resemble the traditional teak flooring found in many boats. Surrounded by wooden walls, the living room and kitchen blend together seamlessly creating the perfect galley and salon.

The homeowner’s passion for the water is evident in each detail of the space.

The perfectly executed bar, porthole windows, and yacht style skylights would make any sailor feel right at home in the hull. A murphy bed, for guests, sits quietly between trophy cases that portray this homeowner’s excellence in his craft. This unique in-home bar pays tribute to a dream that once was, and epitomizes the passion that will always be.

 

For The Entire Family
Of course, the home bar is not just for adults; it is a place for family and friends to gather regardless of age. These Fontana homeowners put a fresh twist on the in-home bar in order to enjoy it with their children. As a young family, they needed a space where the kids could relax with friends, while maintaining an atmosphere that adults would appreciate as well. The open concept bar is large enough to boast a two-way fireplace, wine cellar, putting green, and relaxing space with a couch big enough for the entire crew!

Replacing the traditional wooden bar counter with galvanized steel gives gave this space a family-friendly, contemporary look. “Scratches only add character,” says the homeowner. On the back wall, atop a backsplash of stone, hang two TVs on either side of a beautiful double door wine cellar. The cellar features LED lights that change color to fit any occasion. The homeowners enjoy their bar as a place to set up a buffet during sports games, host movie nights and wine tastings. And there’s plenty of room to give the ladies a place to have a refreshment and chat as the men practice their putting close by. This home bar will set the atmosphere for any occasion while making anyone feel right at home.

 

The Import

Every once in a while, we find ourselves in a room that transports us. If there was ever such an in-home bar in the area, it is embodied at “The Vagabond”, a legendary home bar located just outside of Lake Geneva. The Vagabond was built to resemble a quaint English pub. In fact, several pieces of the room were directly imported from Europe. A grand ornate bar commands attention in the center of the room. It stands proudly against the wall, flanked by a dance floor on one side, complete with disco ball and karaoke, with quaint booth style tables on the other. The bar itself has details to match any old English pub. Stained glass windows, a brass foot rail, and dozens of glasses hanging overhead give this bar a truly authentic feel.

The original owners of this special space desired an unusual place for entertaining. By paying attention to the smallest details, they succeeded. Little did they know, it would become an area legend. Locals have either dreamed of seeing the iconic bar, or have spectacular stories that are set in the space. Its new owners look forward to carrying on the torch for more evenings of dancing, singing, card playing, and drinks.

An in-home bar is a place to gather with friends in the comfort and intimacy of home. Whether the patrons are as close as family, or new acquaintances that leave as friends, the room provides a space to build new relationships and cement old ones. So, pour a beverage and grab a stool. Memories are in the making.

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