Speakeasy-inspired bars are trendy urban destinations these days, so why not use a similar twist in your basement bar ideas? During the Prohibition years, American bars went underground, and some of them moved from brightly lit street-level storefronts to dark cellars that were only accessible by a secret password. And while Prohibition laws were lifted decades ago, if you're looking for design inspiration, here are some basement bar ideas to help you nail this vintage look.
Choose a Specific Design Theme
For an old-time urban speakeasy, look to real, old black-and-white images that can be easily found online. You'll see that mahogany and walnut were popular materials during the 1920s, and you'll be able to get inspired by the dark wood billiard tables, upright pianos, and old-style iceboxes that were popular during the era. To recreate the look, consider using Affinity in Brown. Choose a stainless steel sink with a silver metallic backsplash and marble countertop.
To recreate the look of an old back room bar, select a white ceramic tub sink with a matching subway tile backsplash or a retro blend of black and white mosaic tile like Keystones black and white Hexagon. Finish off the look with a smooth black or white quartz countertop from the ONE Quartz Surfaces™ series.
Keep the Prohibition vibe going inside your basement bar design with a vintage-looking floor. While the real deal likely sported unpolished poured concrete, you can achieve a similar look by opting for Cotto Contempo for an aged cement sensibility or Volume 1.0 for a fresher cement-look. Both come in moody colors to complete your speakeasy scheme.
You can even opt for dark, clean-lined tiles from the EC1 line, and then soften the look with matching velvet curtains. A storefront speakeasy, which was usually fronted by a grocery shop or a deli, would have most likely had a wood or a black-and-white linoleum floor. To mimic the wood look, consider wood-look tile, such as the Yacht Club. This is a perfect material for the basement because it's resistant to moisture and extremely easy to clean. And if a retro black-and-white pattern is more your style, you can't go wrong with simple black and white ceramic tile or step it up with black granite and white limestone tiles in a check pattern.
Don't Forget the Details
Whatever you do, make sure to add some drama to your basement speakeasy. Add secret doors and nooks that are hidden by bookcases to heighten the drama of the design. You can even build a faux milk delivery box near the entryway or add a faux trap door to your floor and hide it with an antique oriental rug. These unique, special touches will help keep your guests entertained.
And while a lot of the details should be fun, don't forget to stay practical, too. For instance, try to update your bar with convenient built-ins. For starters, put a mini fridge behind the bar, along with cabinetry and shelves for your cocktail glasses, serving plates, and other china. Reserve space for at least one keg of beer and taps. Then add a discrete microwave oven to warm up toddies and liquids for hot drinks on a cold night.
Whichever story you choose to tell with your retro-inspired basement bar, use these inspirational tips to choose the right tile and add the right detail. Your finished space will definitely be worth making a toast to.