Creating a retro bar feel: three essential tips

There is nothing like your own bar for the ultimate in socialising luxury. Why pile up three revellers deep in an overpriced local venue when you can create your own experience at home?

Creating a retro bar feel

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There are various ways of creating your own retro bar and you will need to consider different aesthetic aspects, assuming that you have already found the right location and checked it for suitability.


A retro bar will need authentic and ideally original pieces. A salvage or restoration yard is a great place to start, as are antiques shops and auction halls. If you can’t see what you want, speak to the owners and make your needs known. In this way they will be able to keep an eye out for you when sourcing stock.

You will also find some great ideas online to help with your project. There tends to be a good supply of antique bar furniture in London due to the sheer number of pubs and bars that are renovated and closed. Look for a specialist supplier of original bar pieces, such as

You will need the bar itself, drinks cabinets and shelves, serving items and bar stools to get started.


Don’t forget to include authentic lighting for that dimmed and cosy bar feel. Try low pendant lighting with soft bulbs and wall lights with dark lampshades for that old-fashioned feel. Low-hanging pendants make the bar space feel welcoming and personal and create intimacy for your guests.


Choose drinks in beautiful bottles and seek out unusual brands in beautifully-designed glassware, which you can make into a feature. Bars tend to be dark and interesting; therefore, pick a dark-coloured paint or wallpaper for the walls and seek out some quirky pictures and accessories to create talking points and visual interest. You may find that the best approach is to create your bar over time and allow it to evolve as you spend more time in it, which will help to prevent it feeling contrived and give it a sense of history and personalisation.

Time spent sourcing items for your retro bar will mean that you can build up a collection of vintage pieces over time as you decide on the best way forward, allowing it to develop its feel and personality.

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