Going out for a few drinks may be too pricey a proposition these days, so consider setting up a bar in your home instead.
You'll have to invest some time and money up front, but in the end, you'll have a friendly place to gather. All you need are some essential spirits, a few drink-making tools and some minor renovations to an unused corner of your home.
If you want an actual bar in your home, not just a liquor cabinet or a corner of your kitchen counter, you'll need to install one. You can find blueprints for a wide range of bar designs at Web sites like barplan.com and bargear.com. You can build the bar yourself or hand the plans over to a contractor. Options range from simple designs with a small bar surface and a few shelves below to full-service L-shaped bars that can seat several people.glassware—from brandy snifters to Collins glasses—but you can make do with a few versatile items. Besides the mandatory wine and shot glasses, you might consider buying highball glasses, which hold eight to 12 ounces. They're perfect for tall cocktails like Bloody Marys or spritzers, and they work fine for beer as well. If you're willing to spend a bit more and you've got the space, consider acquiring cocktail glasses or beer steins.
Serious wine drinkers will want an efficient and easy-to-use corkscrew, like the top-of-the-line Screwpull Elegance Lever ($143). To make cocktails, you'll need a bar spoon, paring knife, citrus zester, shaker and a jigger. Shakers come in different styles, but the Metrokane Bullet Cocktail Shaker ($14) offers a classic three-piece design with an appealing art deco look.