Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Let the Good Times Roll




When I planned this post over the weekend, I intended for the topic to be solely about home bars from the 1920s through the 40s. And then I realized that this post would be published today- the day after the election. So I suppose I could say that these images might serve as some inspiration for those of you who are celebrating today.

All kidding aside, have you ever thought about putting a bar like one of these in your home? It would certainly be a far cry from the drinks tray or table that most of us have. Back during Prohibition, some of the design magazines gave tips for designing home bars. Since you couldn't imbibe in public, you had to drink your bathtub gin at home (far safer than hanging out at a gin joint). And it couldn't just be any old bar. It had to be rather swell. The kind of place that would elevate your hooch into something far more refined.


While most of us don't have the luxury of space to create a home bar, it's fun to imagine what it would be like to have a room devoted entirely to recreational fun- or vice, depending on how you look at it!


Elsie de Wolfe designed this bar for her Beverly Hills home After All. That black and white tented ceiling is pretty fabulous, but I would think that it might cause a little dizziness after one too many Singapore Slings.


This bar was designed by the old design firm Thedlow. Rather gutsy to render the doors as giant playing cards.


This was a serious little bar for the hardcore home barkeep. But how great is that floor?

Image at top: This bar decorated by Frances Elkins is seriously cool. And those bar stools have to be the all-time best bar stools ever designed. Period.

28 comments:

  1. I love the tented ceiling and I think the Elkins bar would look so very cool in a city apartment :)

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  2. Courtney- I agree. That is just the best bar!

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  3. Well, I am certainly not celebrating today but that's the way it goes sometimes. Life goes on and the sun did come up this morning! I thought the tented ceiling was so unique and chic too........wouldn't that be a cute idea for a nursery or child's room!
    BTW.....I will still support my country and our new President!

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  4. Anonymous10:02 AM

    My high school senior daughter is searching for a '70s upholstered portable bar!!! She thinks they are awesome in a cool and humorous sort of way!
    Christy

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  5. Lee- Great idea about tenting a nursery. That would be adorable. I think you've got a good attitude about things too!

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  6. Christy- How fun would that be to have one of those in your house!! I hope your daughter finds one :)

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  7. I love the "serious little bar." Especially the foot rail that I find is a welcome addition. Or maybe I should say "welcoming" addition to the bar itself. That foot rail tells me that they'd like me to stay for a little while.

    Mrs. E. and I are fortunate to have a bar room. It is the most crowded room in the house even during the largest parties. During the weekend, we take cocktails there before dinner. If we have guests they sit there while I cook and comment through the kitchen door. It is a wonderful retreat.

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  8. The Frances Elkins drinks room is pretty fabulous, but as a rule I find something ludicrous in the notion of a home "bar", one that the host must get behind, in order to shake up the martinis etc, as if in imitation of a professional bartender. Bars have no place in private houses~it's too silly for words. Still...Frances Elkins rocks! Such a far cry from the Rat Pack ideal.

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  9. Tented rooms really lend themselves to a bar.
    I have always love that Elkins bar. I love the cerused paneling. The shaped back on the banquette is the perfect touch, rather Venetian in shape. I think that and the zebra rug adds the right touch of elan in what is a very pulled back room.
    Fun post, as always!

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  10. Anonymous8:34 PM

    J,

    Those are like the Bond Girls of bar stools!

    xo
    pt

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  11. I absolutely agree, those bar stools are the best! In fact that room is probably one of my all time favorites. Such an amazing designer!

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  12. Just adore the zebra skin rug in the first pic. They just never go out of style!

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  13. The Elsie de Wolfe and Frances Elkins are pretty fabulous!!

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  14. How timely! I just bought an English bar chest / cabinet and my husband is bringing it home today. It has a burl wood veneer and the top portion is mirrored on the inside. There is also a pull out shelf - mirrored as well. I would like to learn more about my latest love - can you recommend any resources? I'd like to get a better idea of what I have, maker, age, etc.

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  15. I really adore the Elsie de Wolfe bar. Why don't we see tented ceilings any longer in interior design magazines?.. It gives a really galmourous air to a room otherwise pretty simple (like in that case)... just wondering how much fabric and hours of work it requires to get it done... Must be dusty pretty fast too... anyway that's gorgeous!

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  16. Laissez les bon temps roulez right back to you, Jenifer! Bars = an interestig thread. I agree about the wonderful tented bar. That would also work well as a pool pavillion.

    My husband's grandparents had a bar in their home with built-in banquettes. It was such a fun room for entertaining and very sophisticated and era-appropriate.

    One of the most fun bars I ever saw belonged to this marvelously eccentric dowager in Charleston who owned an historic single house, one that was pressed for space. You opened this handsome built-in cabinet on the side of her fireplace (the cabinet looked original to the house), and her decorator had papered and lacquered the inside with prancing elephants. Here was a house with all of this chippendale, along with chinoserie pieces and other serious furnishings, and the bar was just so kitsch! Well done, mind you, but still kitsch. It matched her quirky sense of humor. She'd get you in there, ply you full of liquor, fill you full of cocktail tidbits (benne wafers, seasoned oyster crackers, cream cheese and pepper jelly), and then expect you to navigate the aging Charleston sidewalks to go to dinner, as she stumped and staggered ahead with her cane. Ah, the memories. Bars can be fascinating extensions of their owners' personalities. ;-)

    Sheila

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  17. Philip and Hansaxel- I adore that tented room. But then again, I've never met a tented room that I didn't love!

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  18. Sheila- What a marvelous story! That bar, actually the whole house, sounds divine. Characters like that are unfortunately few and far between anymore! And you know what? I can make a meal of cream cheese, pepper jelly, and triscuits!

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  19. Lifes Humor- Have you tried going on 1st dibs or Bond & Bowery? You can search through those sites and see if you find something comparable. I tend to do that when I purchase a piece of furniture. Your bar cabinet sounds beautiful!

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  20. I don't know why we don't have more built-in bars in our homes -- even a small little niche. Or a cocktail cabinet. So much money is put into electronics. Most all of us have liquor -- but we stuff the bottles into a lower kitchen cabinet. When friends come over we search out a tray to line them up and think how bad it looks. Then wish we had glistening crystal decanters and better barware to drink from. What happened? Why do we hide our liquor nowadays? Drinking habits really haven't changed that much. Who wouldn't want to sit in Frances Elkins' bar room as opposed to what most of us do -- sit on our sofa in sweats, in front of the tv and drink our wine from a juice glass.

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  21. Soodie- You're so right about this. I think we've gotten complacent. Perhaps it's time we make more of an effort, especially when entertaining our guests. First, we need to ditch the juice glasses! :)

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  22. i am trying to stop drinking so much!! xv

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  23. Leave it to the POCHIC to reinvigorate the home bar!
    what a marvelous idea - it reminds me of a pentouse apartment I once rented in rio - with a textured leather covered bar off the living room, and very 70's ( probably original, but it worked), orange and neutral toned tiled wall. I agree that the first bar stools are perfect - and I am looking for stools right now too - how I wish I could find those! thanks for a great post -
    as always, perfect!!

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  24. Despite my offhand dismissal of "bars" I do consider this a subject worthy of discussion! Case in point, in the house I live in: there is a long low french chest, authentically Gothic and slightly ecclesiastical (carved saints in bas relief) that we've always used to set up drinks for parties. It's wide enough to allow a generous surface. Yet just recently there was a waiter here for an event, and he suggested we move the chest out from the wall so he could stand behind it!
    There was a withering lecture from me, needless to say.
    On the subject of decanters, I much prefer the David Hicks approach of a welcoming array of bottles of booze... the glasses regimented, the mixers (small bottles only) and the bright lemons all making for a pretty picture.

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  25. Oooh! Love the Elsie tented room! I'd always associated home bars with tacky faux-leather 70s "wet bars." I have to rethink my whole paradigm now.

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  26. My parents had a real bar in the house. And so did alot of their friends. Mixing cocktails at the bar made a get together a party.
    I don't know if I would want one taking up precious real estate in my house, but I agree, that we can indeed ditch the juice glasses ha ha! xo xo

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  27. Some interesting home bars. Would like to see them in color. The bar with the playing cards looks like its from a club instead of inside a home. Guess that's the point.

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