Today’s home bars are drastically different from your grandfather’s cabinet in the den, which might have held a few bottles of spirits and a lone jar of maraschino cherries. These days, home bars combine beauty with functionality. For proof, look no further than these 5 Northern Michigan home bars, which are at once unique, inspired, and practical.

Featured in the December 2020/January 2021 issue of Northern Home & Cottage. See more stunning Northern Michigan homes and read the magazine here.

The Chimney Bar

Architect: Gary Nance Design
Builder: Matthews Construction
Design: Jill Brecheisen, Kitchens by Design

Designer Gary Nance incorporated this bar into the side of the chimney of a home he designed on Walloon Lake. Nance made enough space for kitchen designer Jill Brecheisen to install 24-inch-wide Sub-Zero refrigerator drawers with paneled fronts. A wood counter above the drawers became the drink staging area. “To complete the look, we added matching charcoal-colored vertical planking and matching shelved to create a practical but unique space,” says Brecheisen.

Clearly this bar deserves the finest in glassware—such as Nachtmann Fine Bavarian Crystal drink glasses and decanter (three-piece set, $120). Thanks to Shelley Doyen of The Ideal Kitchen in Manistee for this elegant recommendation. See the photo gallery below for glassware and drink accessory images.

The Modern Sophisticate Bar

Designer: Dawn Whyte, Petoskey Kitchens

Wear your heels and pearls when you sidle up to this inspired home bar created by Dawn Whyte of Petoskey Kitchens. Handsome sliding black-framed glass doors are a sexy prelude to the custom black concrete bar, two Thermador Wine Preservation Columns, a high-end Galley Tap faucet and the tiled backsplash that imbues the space with a breath of Art Deco.

This bar has earned a Whiskey Wedge by Corkcicle. This simple, innovative way to make a wedge of ice cools a glass of whiskey instead of diluting it. We found ours at Nifty Things in Traverse City ($17.99). See the photo gallery below for glassware and drink accessory images.

Beach Bar

Designer: Kim Hooker, Cedar Creek Interiors
Cabinets: Nowak Cabinets

This full-functioning bar spans the interior wall of the home’s lower level, transforming the beach just outside the door into the ultimate hangout for friends and family. A design collaboration between Cedar Creek Interiors and Nowak Cabinets, the bar is comprised of rich walnut cabinetry, a dramatic cream-and-taupe quartzite bar top, seed glass upper cabinets, hand-cast pewter hardware and top-notch appliances, including wine fridge, ice maker, dishwasher and microwave. Stunning mercury glass pendants, three whitewashed oak-and-steel swivel stools and a 60-inch wall-mounted television complete the space.

We think the fresh clean look of a stainless steel cocktail shaker and matching stainless ice bucket, both by OXO, is just right for this bar. We found them at Crystal Crate and Cargo, where Sally Berlin gives the pieces high marks for their design and functionality—including the fact that the top of the ice bucket is on a hinge that drops it to the side of the bucket when open … much easier to handle than trying ro find a place to put the lid on a tight bar! Cocktail shaker ($29.99); ice bucket and tongs ($49.99). See the photo gallery below for glassware and drink accessory images.

Handsome Dazzler

Kitchen Designer: Jill Brecheisen, Kitchens by Design
Builder: Harbor View Custom Builders
Interior Designer: Jennifer Keiser, The Quiet Moose

“We found this amazing countertop by Dekton called Trillium—its metallic tones and unique movement was the pivot point that began our color direction,” says kitchen designer Jill Brecheisen of this fabulous home bar. A warm cherry finish on the bar complements the countertop, as does a metallic penny tile backsplash, selected by Jennifer Keiser of The Quiet Moose. Wire mesh inserts in the Shaker-style cabinetry and cabinet hardware by Richelieu pull the look together. An undercount bar sink, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawer, Sub-Zero wine and beverage cooler and a waste and recycle bin round out this bar’s functional side.

Get that last little pool of red wine out of the bottom of your wine glasses and really get that growler clean with the Delta Glass Rinser. Available from Infusion Kitchen & Bath Supply in Traverse City. See the photo gallery below for glassware and drink accessory images.

Northwoods Bar

Designer: Kitchen Choreography
Builder: Draper Construction

The live-edge walnut bar sets a rustic, masculine feel for this cocktail bar in a lodge-style home on Torch Lake. Warm-toned Fusion Quartzite countertops complement walnut Symphony cabinetry (Kitchen Choreography’s in-house cabinetry line) that features 1-inch-thick, distressed inset doors. State-of-the-art appliances including Sub-Zero beverage, wine and freezer drawers make this bar more than just a handsome face.

We think the chunky, real-rock beverage dispensers by Funky Rock Designs pair well with this bar’s lodge look. Thanks to Darsi Lee of The Lake House in Charlevoix for the rec. Dispenser ($139); base ($49). See the photo gallery below for glassware and drink accessory images.

See these gorgeous home bars, along with other beautiful Northern Michigan homes, in the free digital edition of the December 2020/January 2021 issue of Northern Home & Cottage below. Or get Northern Home & Cottage in print six times a year for free when you subscribe to Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.