Must-have wet bar appliances

sweetandrewFebruary 21, 2012

We are finishing our basement & meeting with the architect later this week re: interior details. We're putting in a wet bar & plan on including a beverage fridge and ice maker. Would you do a built in microwave or open cabinet space for non-built in microwave? What about dishwasher drawer or full dishwasher? I don't think we'll be washing more than a few glasses or popcorn bowl so do we really even need a dishwasher down there? Thoughts/experiences? Any brand/model recs?

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What is the budget for appliances?

That is the most important parameter before picking appliances and deciding between "must have" and "like to have" appliances.

Are you planning on a lot of wine? Red and white?

Or just beer,soda,juice and water in the beverage center?

Is really cold beer important? Or beverages at 40 degrees plus ok?

Do you have a strong preferance for clear ice? Do you have a preferance for soft chewable ice or hard ice that does not dilute your single malt ?

Do you have hard water or soft water?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:49PM
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If this will be a party room, where you'll be using washable (rather than disposable) stuff, a dishwasher of some kind might be useful. They use less water and energy than hand washing. You'd still have to use it for the regular, daily stuff, though. You really should run it once a week to keep it in good shape. If it really is just a couple of glasses and a popcorn bowl, handwashing shouldn't be hard. Perhaps a drawer is just the right size?

For the microwave, it depends. Do you want it to look particularly spiffy? Because a $100 microwave will do what a built-in will do. The rest is looks. If there are teenagers involved, I'd go for the cheaper, replaceable microwave...but maybe one with a trim kit that makes it kind of built-in-ish, so they're less likely to pick it up and toss it around.

Re beverage fridge, I'd go with a real fridge, rather than "beverage center" for cold drinks, and a wine fridge only for wines. That's me. I don't like the combo units. To me, they seem to sort of do many jobs and never do one completely right. Then again, if you have an entire appliance for making ice, maybe you don't need to chill cold drinks at all. Just use ice with the soft drinks, and chill beer and juice in the wine fridge, and put them in a dish of ice before serving to chill down the last little bit.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 12:09AM
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What is the budget for appliances?
Our builder didn't put a line item in the basement budget for wet bar appliances and we will be purchasing on our own. We don't have a set budget but want to do this right as we only plan to do it once (our basement previously held two small apartments, we gutted the space during phase I of our reno, and now in phase II we're finishing the space for our family's use -- mudroom, laundry room, bathroom, guest bedroom, family room with wet bar, and screened porch).

Are you planning on a lot of wine? Red and white?
I don't think we need a dedicated wine fridge. My husband wants to eventually enclose some of the crawl space under the basement into a wine cellar. We have a new U-line beverage fridge in our kitchen and it holds plenty of white wine for our purposes and the red wine we store in a wine rack in our laundry room.

Or just beer,soda,juice and water in the beverage center?
Mainly just beer, mixers, and some juice pouches or milk boxes for the kids. We try not to drink sodas. We'll have a filtered water dispenser at the wet bar sink so that should serve our water purposes for the most part.

Is really cold beer important? Or beverages at 40 degrees plus ok?
Doesn't need to be really cold. Our U-line beverage fridge in the kitchen is set at 38 degrees and that seems just fine.

Do you have a strong preferance for clear ice? Do you have a preferance for soft chewable ice or hard ice that does not dilute your single malt ?
You know what? I really don't ever use ice. We put a Liebherr fridge in our new kitchen and I don't think we've used one bin of ice in 6 months (need to dump it out and make fresh ice). My husband is the one who is adamant that we need an ice maker so I will ask him about the type of ice, but my guess is that he doesn't have a strong opinion (though he does enjoy a single malt on occasion).

Do you have hard water or soft water? Hard.

We have two microwaves leftover from the old basement apartments so now I'm thinking that we should just have a space in upper cabinet to place one of them vs. splurging on built-in microwave just to pop popcorn occasionally. (And for that matter I am not so lazy that I couldn't just walk upstairs and pop in the kitchen). This is more for hubby who envisions entertaining in this space....

Thank so much for your help and thoughtful questions!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 9:00AM
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I'd go for a standard microwave on a shelf.

I might look at an 18" DW compared to a dish drawer and choose the cheaper of the two.

A mini-fridge might do fine for beverages.

You didn't mention entertaining. The icemaker would depend on how much entertaining you plan on doing with the family room and screened porch. It would save you from walking up/down stairs to get ice for guests.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 2:30PM
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Miele Futura Dimension Slimline Series G4500 or
Bosch SPX5ES55UCx

Both are 18" DW. The Miele is substantially better but almost twice the cost. Both can be had in custom panel or SS door.

Both have built-in water softner. Miele adjust automatically based on hardness level of incoming water and manipulates hardness level throughout cycle to give optimum results.Leaves glass and crystal spotless. Bosch you set softning level manually based on average water hardness.

Beverage Center

I would get an undercounter fridge for your situation.

Sub-Zero UC24CI.

Available in custom panel or SS door.
Has ice-maker freezer section on the bottom.
Food safe refrigerated center section that can get down to 34 degrees.
And eight bottle wine storage up top.
Makes cloudy white crecent shaped ice.

If you really want to split up the ice maker and fridge because you really want more refrigerator space,want clear ice/more ice for parties, or really really want glass door becuase it makes the wet bar look cool then....

Liebherr RU500 beverage center. Temp range 37-68 F. Humidity range 50-80%

Hoshizaki AM-50BAE-DS

Can be had in either SS or custom panel door.
Hard clear top-hat type ice ideal for cocktails.
Makes upto 55lbs of ice per day.
Most durable in hard water condition.
Still needs to be cleaned every 6 months- 1 year depending how hard water is in your area.

For the microwave I would do drawer linked below for $409 shipped. It is manufacuture refurbished. I bought one and so have several people here without problems. They are either customer returns that had defective part fixed or some chain purchased too many and Sharp allowed return due to previous agreement. These can't be sold as "new". But they are not old MWs used in homes for any substantial amount of time.

Here is a link that might be useful: LINK

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 3:29PM
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For people who don't really use ice, you'd be paying a lot extra to have a lot of water be frozen and washed down the drain. Just get a skinny fridge with freezer and ice maker in it. Top freezer will be cheapest. Bottom freezer will be prettier. Cover it with cabinet panels and it disappears entirely.

Here is a link that might be useful: Liebher 24

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 4:24PM
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This is great--thank you! Visited an appliance store today -- really interesting how different looking the Sub-Zero ice maker cubes were compared to the U-Line cubes. The store didn't carry Hoshizaki (or at least didn't have on display)--will have to check that out. $409 microwave looks great! Interesting idea about the 24 in. Liebherr fridge--would be cheaper than Sub-Zero or U-line beverage fridge plus ice maker, I think. Lots to consider now...

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 8:44PM
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