A surprising amount of heavy duty equipment and work goes into maintaining a commercial bar. High volume bars work through gallons of lemon juice, lime juice, sodas, and a wide variety of other mixers, which is a fast road to a sticky bar if you don't have the proper equipment. Home bartenders have a slightly different problem, as it's not necessary or financially realistic to purchase a bunch of heavy duty cleaning equipment when you aren't serving hundreds of customers. Luckily, there are plenty of must-have accessories for your home wine bar and incredibly high quality bar cleaning products that fulfill the needs of today's home bartender without breaking the bank.
Glass Washer by New Star
Whether you have to clean dozens of glasses on the fly in the middle of service or you are simply cleaning a few at the end of a casual cocktail night with friends, there is no substitute for a sturdy, reliable glass washer. The intuitive glass washing design is easy to use: Simply stick it to your sink or counter and this triple brush system will be at your disposal for the rest of the night.
A Soft Cleanser Premixed Formula by Bar Keepers Friend
Bar Keepers Friend is the be-all, end-all cleaning product for any kitchen, not just a home bar. This "soft cleanser" can be used to clean just about any surface in your bar, from a stainless steel sink to a laminate countertop to just about any dishes or cookware you have on hand. This brand has been a staple among bar cleaning products for over a century, and it's still unparalleled. Bar Keepers Friend traditionally comes in a powder form, but this premixed version saves you a step and is much easier to use for getting up those stick marks from spilled drinks. This cleaner puts the best home bar essentials every private bartender needs to absolute shame.
Bus Tub by Crestware
As a home bartender, you won't always need to use an actual bus tub, but it is more useful than it appears for day to day use. Where it will really shine, however, is whenever you decide to host your next cocktail party. It'll already be enough of a chore for you to keep up with drink orders without having to worry about cleaning new glasses. A bus tub serves as the ideal receptacle for used glasses, keeping them off your bar and out of your way. Not to mention, having a classic black bus tub under your bar adds a feeling of authenticity, don't you think?
Sanitizing Tablets by Steramine
Sanitizing your glasses is one of the most important steps in glass washing, especially if you have to wash and reuse glasses in the same evening. There isn't a whole lot you need to say about this product: it's cheap, easy to use, and a staple in commercial bars and restaurants everywhere. I find a lot of households don't keep sanitizing tablets on hand, but I highly recommend you pick some up for your home bar.
Terry Towels by Cleaning Solutions
Whether it's wiping up a spill, drying a glass, or getting leverage on a particularly stubborn twist-top lid, there is simply no limit to the usefulness of a simple bar towel. When it comes to spills, many bartenders become overly-reliant on paper towels. Besides being no friend of the environment, paper towels are also expensive and actually inferior to a good cotton towel. Get yourself a big pack like this one and keep them under your bar, and I guarantee you'll find a million and one uses for them. Toss used towels in a plastic bag, clean them with bleach at the end of the night, and they'll be good as new for your next events.
Narrow Trash Can by Suncast
I don't want to insult anyone's intelligence by telling them to buy a trash can of all things, but a waste basket—and I mean a good waste basket—is one of the most important restaurant supplies that is all too often missing from home bars. It's an easily overlooked item, which is understandable. Inexperienced bartenders will often buy a trash can that is too small, too bulky, or one that is simply poorly designed, causing almost more trouble than its worth. In the worst cases, they'll avoid buying one altogether, instead running over to the kitchen any time they need to toss something. Whatever you do, don't be like these guys. Get a big, but discreet garbage can like this one and keep it behind your bar. You won't regret it.
Garnish Station by Cocktailor
Any self-respecting bartender has a number of garnishes up his or her sleeve for adding that much-needed element of visual and fragrant stimulation. At the very least, you should keep wedges of lemon and lime on hand to toss into your Cuba Libres and Margaritas, but more creative mixologists are known to explore all manner of unusual garnishes, like candied ginger or pomegranate seeds. Regardless of your garnishes of choice, keeping them in a garnish station like this Cocktailor model ensures that they are on hand whenever you need them so you aren't reaching in the fridge every time you finish a drink. The plastic cover is a vital feature for keeping your garnishes fresh and free from fruit flies.
Fruit Fly Traps by BEAPCO
Speaking of fruit flies, which are the biggest menace to any home or commercial bar, some traps will be essential during seasons when fruit flies are more active. Having a covered home for your garnishes will help keep them free of flies, but you still don't want the pesky insects buzzing around your "customers." Many bars will create makeshift traps by putting some sour mix in a cup, cover it with saran wrap, and poke a few holes in. I find store-bought solutions to be a little more elegant and much more effective.
Drainage Mat by Envelor
I understand that shopping for bar cleaning products is not nearly as exciting as shopping for rare and interesting cocktail ingredients. This rubber drainage mat is the pinnacle example of such products, but is no less important. If you only use your home bar to make yourself a cocktail or two every now and again, you probably don't need a drainage mat like this (you also are seriously under-utilizing your bar). If you ever find yourself working behind your bar for any significant amount of time, I can't overstate the convenience of having an anti-fatigue mat to keep you from slipping and to keep liquid from collecting under your feet.
Beer Line Cleaning Kit by Kegco
Of bar tools, this cleaning product is the crème de la crème. If your home bar has a beer tap, you must also keep proper keg cleaning equipment on hand. Beer lines are a collection site for calcium and mineral deposits, which can harbor microorganisms. All beers, especially craft beers, contain a considerable amount of yeast, which can also build up and affect the taste and shelf life of your beer. You should thoroughly clean your keg and beer lines at least every time you switch out your keg. Specially designed cleaning products like this kit from Kegco make the process easy, so you have no excuse for not maintaining a clean keg!