STOCK THE BAR
This season we’re tailgating in the living room and bellying up to the home bar. What’ll ya have? Tiki vibes, city chic and casual beers are all on the menu. Cheers!
For a long time, I didn’t have a dining room table. A bar was more important. – Ross Fontenot
One of the coolest features of Ross Fontenot’s home bar is that he can stand behind it, mixing craft cocktails for his friends and family as they gather around.
“I’m really proud of the way it works with the rest of the house,” says Fontenot, who owns Genterie Supply Co. “It’s very organic.”
Brad’s Woodworks in Abbeville fashioned the bar from African rosewood (Bubinga), a hard, heavy wood with a rich grain. Fontenot stained it himself with clear satin polyurethane and installed a work surface made of black granite. A copper foot rail gives it an authentic feel. Fontenot and girlfriend Mitzi Guidry continue to added accents to keep it cozy and fun.
Fontenot stocks everyday spirits and mixers along with higher-end bottles on the bar’s lower shelves. Rum-centric tiki cocktails have captured his imagination during the pandemic — he’s been amassing rum and working his way through New Orleans restaurateur Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s book, “Sippin’ Safari.” Among the products you won’t find him without are his Koriko weighted shaking tins and a 5 ounce Anchor Hocking measuring glass, a simple, but essential companion to a 1 ounce jigger.
Copper Party Cup
This affordable upgrade to the Solo cup befits a range of beverages and it keeps things hip – and extremely cool. thelife-riley.com
Sweet Crude Rum
Local small batch Wildcat Brothers distillery’s award-winning white rum anchors refreshing cocktails, including the cherry-garnished official drink of Lafayette, the Rouler.
While you sip, explore the mythology of drinking in the South in this collection of essays published by the LSU Press.
You can go big or small. There’s such a wide range of elements to include in a home bar. It really depends on budget. – Elizabeth Gerace
Going big was the name of the game for this Elizabeth Gerace designed bar, an 11-foot space in a Bendel Gardens home that’s twice the size of your average home bar.
Small appliances, shaker style cabinets and an expansive granite countertop are luxuriously aligned to make preparing coffee, tea and adult beverages a pleasure.
Every type of beverage is given its due. Soft drinks and beer stay cold in the beverage center, while wine is chilled properly in a separate wine cooler. The icemaker drops ice nuggets (like the kind you get from Sonic), making cocktails a sumptuous experience. The Kohler undermount cast iron sink in Cane Sugar hue is set off by an elegant gooseneck Brizo faucet in Champagne Bronze (Facets, Lafayette).
“I like to push a sink for a bar,” says Gerace. “It makes it a lot easier to clean barware.”
A floor-to-ceiling cabinet on one end holds barware and linens and includes a coffee and tea nook that can hide behind retractable doors. The White Supreme granite countertop (Massimo) is the perfect spot for making cocktails.
Styling features products on loan from Koi Boutique and The Kitchenary.
Locally grown garnishes
Make your cocktail next-level with fresh fruit, herbs and honey raised by local growers. It makes all the difference. Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market
The Spirit of Rice
Southwest Louisiana’s rice farming legacy is reimagined in J.T. Meleck’s ridiculously smooth vodka and whiskey distilled from rice in the town of Branch. jtmeleck.net
Portable Cocktail Mixes
Short cut tedious mixology with locally made portable cocktail mixes that are also perfect for picnicking and power outages. leisuremanns.com/bees-knees
I love finding things that look expensive, but aren’t. – Ashley Riley
These two entertaining enthusiasts saw a tidy taproom and bar in a former arts and crafts nook.
“About the time our son was getting out of crafts,” says Lon Riley, “I was getting into craft beer.”
The first step was to install a double tap to serve Lon’s home brews, stowed in chilled tanks in the cabinet below. “Then we figured we should go the distance and really redo the rest of the area,” recalls wife, Ashley, who is passionate about affordable and offbeat home décor and barware. The couple runs the online retail business The Life of Riley (TheLife-Riley.com), which specializes in artisan cocktail items.
Using makeover maven Joanna Gaines’ sultry paint color, Blackboard, on the walls, cabinets and open shelves sets off the area from the white walls that dominate the rest of the house. Brookdale hexagon cement tile by Soci (United Tile) brings an edgy, modern look, while the countertop is simple faux wood. Drawers that once held crayons and paints now hold copper bar tools and conversation-starting cocktail napkins.
Swig Life Stemless Cups
Tailgate-worthy stemless cups keep your beverage refreshing and your surroundings tidy. No spills. The Kitchenary
French Bistro Table
What screams French café? This snazzy marble and iron bistro table. bonnecaze.com
When your drink procedure is stirred-not-shaken, this elegant cocktail spoon gets the job done. thelife-riley.com