My Home Bar Finalists


May 7, 2020

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I got in the mood to look at people’s home bars. So, I put a call out on Instagram for people to tag me in a post with their home bars.

I figured it would be pretty easy. After all, how many people really want to do a YouTube Live tasting, which is what the winner gets, with me?

Well, I quickly learned that I was in for some work! A few days after the announcement, I had more than 2,000 comments, tags, messages and tweets to sort through. And I’m sure that I missed one really rad bar, but I quickly realized I had no clue about how I would narrow these down.

Suddenly the not-planned-at-all Instagram post turned into a bonafide, qualified virtual face off and I had to up my game to figure out what I really want to see in a home bar.

How many open bottles were there? Did they build the bar? What does bar mean to them? Is there a family connection? How much vodka did they have? Did they brand it to their identity?

Well, I asked a bunch of questions of these folks and learned a thing or two about them.

Now, I’ll Instagram Live each one of them to figure the motivation behind their bar.

I will admit that I passed up on some bars that looked amazing, but these finalists really represent the kind of place I want to sip or grab a bottle off the shelf. None of these bars are perfect. But they all are the owner’s bar and it means something to them. In the end, that’s what a good home bar does: Gives you a reason to lean over and pour a drink. It has a living and breathing purpose–to share a drink with you.

Here are your finalists…..


I love this bar’s diversity, symmetry and lighting. The fact he has it branded tells me this bar is meant for entertaining good friends, and I’m sure during isolation, this poor thing is really lonely.

Bourbon Club of Arkansas

I actually started chatting with this poster, and the owner of the handle is head of the club. What struck me immediately was the sign, “Fly Delta Jets,” which I’ve seen throughout the airports of the world. He managed to integrate much of his Air Force days and civilian life in a single bar. He also built with his own hands. Very strong contender here. If Delta hadn’t lost my luggage once, he’d stand a better chance… just kidding. Or am I?

Porsche Malt Whisky

I believe this is my only international finalist, but there’s a Porsche. A friggin’ Porsche in this bar. Oh, and there are some whiskeys. Did I mention it has a Porsche?

Michael Buffa

I love the coziness here and the colors. The read duty free warehouse door is iconic. This also feels like the kind of bar that’s been used. A lot. I imagine the owner dropping a few Glencairns occasionally on a Saturday at 3 a.m., as he’s looking for the remote, because dammit there’s a game on.

Bourbon Goggles

First, great Insta handle. Second, this room has a lot of unopened trophies, which doesn’t bode well for it. Still, it’s hypnotic the way this room is to me. With that said, this is one of the entries I feel I could learn a lot more during the Instagram Live. Perhaps, there’s a hidden door? I want there to be a hidden door. Please be a hidden door.

Alida Of Bourbon

Kansas City, where bar owner is from, makes me think barbecue and I instantly think about barbecue. So, I see Kansas City in this post and start getting hungry, then I look at the post and see bourbon…. (squirrel). What I like about this bar is the bottles may not all look open, but they mostly are and there are backups upon backups. This strikes me as a family who’s killing a bottle slowly and is tasting the ranges. I’ll need to figure out where the actual bar is on the Insta Live process. But I dig this set up a lot.

Rick W. Wright

These are probably my favorite cabinets. Simple yet elegant. And he’s paying attention to the dust build up.

GFLinker Photos

This is an extremely inviting place for a music lover. I imagine listening to some great tunes and sipping some lovely whiskey. However, we’re dealing with a professional photographer here, so I’ll be sure to get a poor quality Insta Live tour, so I’m not fooled by his fancy wide angle lens.