How to Convert a Closet to a Dry Bar

Heather Finch

Out with the coats and in with the booze! If you have an underutilized closet, consider turning it into your own dry bar. A dry bar does not have a sink or require plumbing, like a wet bar, so you can install one easily if you know the basics of putting in cabinetry and counter tops.

Whether you choose to build your own custom pieces or purchase the parts you need, converting a closet into a dry bar can make your house feel homier.

  1. Choose your closet. Shallow closets with two doors make better dry bars because you will have more room.

  2. Decide if you want to keep the doors on your closet to hide the bar. If you decide to keep them, you will need to consider how they may interfere with the operation of your bar.

  3. Remove current shelving, rods or other hardware.

  4. Measure the inside of your closet. You will need to know the width, length and height of the closet. Make sure you have accurate measurements.

  5. Design your bar. A very basic bar will have a counter top approximately waist high to mix drinks and shelves above it to store liquor, glasses and accessories like shakers and jiggers. Underneath the counter, you may want to install a cabinet to store wine and a mini fridge for beer, mixers and ice.

  6. Purchase your supplies. Ensure size accuracy so you don’t have any problems with installation.

  7. Install new lighting and an electrical outlet if you choose to include a mini fridge. You may need to hire an electrician.

  8. Paint the inside of your closet bar and update the flooring as needed.

  9. Install any cabinets and the counter.

  10. Put up the shelves. Shelves for holding liquor should have a 2-foot clearance to accommodate larger bottles.

  11. Stock your bar with your favorite drinks and mixers.


Make this project even easier by purchasing a freestanding bar that fits in your closet and installing shelves above it for extra storage. If you order a mini fridge, it should be the same height or shorter than the cabinets and the counter.