When my sister Joyce, brother Tony and I were little, we used to play 'bar'. This involved filling my mother's old and chipped wine decanter with colored water, mixing drinks using a variety of different kinds of Cool-Aid and slurring our speech. My guess as to the inception of this game? One of my uncles owned a bar. This is the ironic part of the story: I don't drink. Never have. HOWEVER, I still LOVE going to liquor stores to buy booze for other people. I love the bottles, the labels, everything. When I go into them, I revert back to that kid playing 'bar' and feel like I'm getting a glimpse a forbidden segment of the adult world. Might sound weird, but it's true. It probably comes as no surprise then that I'm also infatuated with in-home bars. Not the big 'belly up for a drink boys!' kind of bar, more like the kind of bar Don Draper has in his office. A place to keep the bottles and glasses just in case a impromptu party busts out or if Roger Sterling happens to drop by. In an effort to spread my infatuation, I thought I'd scour the intertubes for some small bars done right. These, by far, are some of the best out there.
The first 2 pictured here are from Shelterness. Notice how the bar becomes a focal point with the help of that amazing starburst.
A small bar cart in the corner is sometimes all you need!
Here's another example of a corner put to good use. Note how the liquor is stored on the bottom shelf while the top one is reserved for (I think) books and such.
This vignette feels less like a bar and more like a collection of interesting chotchkies.
Not sure who the lovely lady in the corner is, but the bar in the background is perfect touch the empty space below the art collection.
If you have formal dining room, tucking a bar cart in the corner will make it do double-duty.
And, finally, check this idea out...a commercial serving cart turned bar. Here's a great one from The Container Store that has adjustable shelves ($230). I love the idea of using a cart like this for a bar, because, if you should change your mind about the bar, you can always use it in the kitchen!