Bar Sinks – A Detailed Guide

Bar sinks are a popular fixture in many modern homes. As the name suggests, bar sinks are commonly installed in home bars, wet bars, and kitchen islands to provide a convenient spot for washing glassware, produce, and other items. But bar sinks offer versatility that extends well beyond the bar area. With the right design, they can add style and function to almost any room. This comprehensive guide explores everything you need to know about bar sinks, from styles and installation to care and maintenance.

What Are Bar Sinks?

A bar sink is a small rectangular or oval-shaped sink installed level with the countertop. Bar sinks have a modest depth, ranging from 4 to 8 inches deep on average. They are designed for hand washing and light prep work, not major dish washing or food preparation tasks. The compact size and simplified layout allow bar sinks to fit into tight spaces that cannot accommodate larger sinks.

Unlike regular kitchen sinks, most bar sinks have a single basin rather than a divided double basin design. They may come with a range of one to three faucet holes designed for a single faucet or up to three separate faucets. Overflow drains are not common. Shut-off valves, strainers, and other accessories can be added as needed.

Bar sinks are available in a range of materials including:

  • Stainless steel – The most popular option; durable and easy to clean.
  • Enameled ceramic – Offers a built-in color finish and classic apron-front design.
  • Solid surface – Made from acrylic or polyester resin blends to allow seamless installation.
  • Glass – Elegant transparent sinks that make a bold design statement.
  • Stone – Natural and synthetic stone materials that provide one-of-a-kind looks.
  • Copper – Striking metal sinks that develop a unique patina over time.
  • Fireclay – Vitreous china material with a durable, stain-resistant enamel glaze.

Benefits of Bar Sinks

The compact versatility of bar sinks makes them useful for a variety of applications beyond the home bar area:

Extra Prep Space

Adding a bar sink expands your prep area and cleanup space in a kitchen or entertaining area. You can use it for everything from washing fruits and vegetables to hand washing delicate glassware. The second sink prevents bottle-necking when you need to wash produce or other items when your main kitchen sink is occupied.

Convenient Wet Bar Addition

Wet bars have become increasingly popular in home recreation rooms and outdoor kitchens. Installing a bar sink provides a convenient space for washing glassware and cocktail equipment without heading back to the kitchen.

Stylish Bathroom Upgrade

Bar sinks aren’t just for kitchens – they also make chic additions to master bathrooms and powder rooms. The petite size takes up less space. And a beautiful glass vessel sink can upgrade your bathroom’s style.

Mudroom Utility Sink

In a home entryway or mudroom, a bar sink provides a handy spot for washing up after gardening, playing outdoors with kids and pets, or tackling other dirty work. The compact size fits well even in modestly sized mudrooms.

Outdoor Kitchen Function

Outdoor kitchens continue to grow in popularity. Adding a bar sink makes an outdoor cooking space fully functional and allows cleanup without heading indoors. Just make sure to choose a sink designed to withstand temperature fluctuations.

Island Installation

Bar sinks are ideal choices when adding a sink to a kitchen island or peninsula. Their small size takes up minimal space in the island. And their simplified design requires less cabinetry and plumbing than a full sink.

Wet Bar

Wet bars in home recreation rooms, man caves, lounges and other spaces are incomplete without a sink for washing glassware and equipment. Bar sinks take up minimal space while providing essential function.

Prep Sink

Adding a bar or prep sink in an island or galley kitchen expands workspace and allows multiple people to wash produce, prepare ingredients and complete other tasks simultaneously.

Bar Sinks

Bar sinks provide the perfect washing spot for glassware, produce and other items in a compact footprint. Install one in your kitchen island or home wet bar to expand your culinary workspace stylishly.

Bathroom Vanity Sink

With their compact silhouette and wide range of material choices, bar sinks make chic replacements for traditional bathroom vanity sinks. Their small size also fits well in powder rooms.

Mudroom Utility Sink

Bar sinks are ideal utility sink choices for modest-sized mudrooms. Wash up after gardening or playing outdoors without tracking dirt through the house. Their simple design also suits laundry rooms.

Outdoor Kitchen Addition

Outfit your outdoor cooking space with a bar sink to allow for cleanup without heading indoors. Just be sure to choose a material that withstands the elements.

Coffee Bar Sink

Add a bar sink to your home coffee bar or cafe station to keep your prep area tidy. Use it for washing mugs, equipment and other coffee-related items.

Garage Utility Sink

For messy garage tasks like cleaning paint brushes or washing gloves after yard fertilizing, a simple bar sink gets the job done without taking up much space.

Popular Styles of Bar Sinks

Bar sinks come in a range of installation types to suit your space:

Drop-In Bar Sinks

Also called self-rimming or top-mount sinks, drop-in bar sinks have a rim that rests on the countertop. Installation is simple since the sink drops into a pre-cut hole in the counter and gets secured from below. But the countertop edge is exposed and needs regular sealing.

Undermount Bar Sinks

Undermount sinks have a smooth rim that sits below the counter allowing for a seamless countertop surface. Installation is more difficult since the sink gets mounted to the underside of the counter. But you avoid an exposed sink rim that can trap dirt.

Vessel Bar Sinks

Vessel sinks sit on top of the counter like decorative bowls. Many glass, metal, and stone vessel sinks have beautiful molded designs. Vessels come in a range of heights, from nearly flush with the counter to significantly raised.

Corner Bar Sinks

Corner sinks are designed to optimize space in a corner. They allow you to install a small sink while preserving the walkway clearance you need in front of it. The bowl is shaped to fit neatly into a corner.

Apron-Front Bar Sinks

Also called farmhouse sinks, apron-front sinks have a visible front face. The exposed apron can be a functional or decorative design feature, often made of a contrasting material. Apron-fronts have a classic, retro look.

Choosing the Right Bar Sink

Keep the following factors in mind when choosing a bar sink for your space:

  • Size – Measure carefully to ensure the sink you select fits the allotted space. Standard rectangular bar sink dimensions range from about 10″ x 14″ up to 20″ x 30″.
  • Depth – Shallow bar sinks around 5″ deep suit prep tasks, while deeper 7″ – 10″ sinks allow more versatility. Consider what you’ll use the sink for.
  • Shape – Rectangular, oval and corner sinks work best based on available space and your design preferences.
  • Installation Type – Select a drop-in, undermount, vessel or other design based on your countertop material and style needs.
  • Material – Stainless steel, ceramic, solid surface, glass and other materials each have their own pros and cons.
  • Number of Faucet Holes – Look for a sink with adequate holes if you plan to install multiple faucets. Most bar sinks have room for one faucet.
  • Optional Extras – Assess whether you need extras like a drainboard, cutting board, colored accessories or a custom sink grid.
  • Faucet Pairing – Choose a faucet sized appropriately for your sink that fits with the rest of your kitchen or bar decor.

How to Install a Bar Sink

Installing a bar sink is typically a less complex project than installing a full kitchen sink since it involves fewer plumbing hookups. But some bar sink types do require careful planning and skilled techniques for a successful installation.

Prep Work

Before installing your bar sink, make sure to:

  • Gather the necessary plumbing supplies – sink strainer or drain, P-trap, supply lines, elbows and adapters. Follow your local code requirements.
  • Have the right sink base cabinet or supports prepared and anchored.
  • Determine the ideal sink location factoring in needs for water supply, drainage and existing infrastructure.
  • Turn off water supply lines and disconnect electrical power.
  • Clear the installation area.

Installation Steps

General installation steps include:

  1. Cut out countertop sink opening following the sink manufacturer’s template. Clean edges smooth.
  2. Set the sink in place and attach from below for drop-in sinks or to the underside for undermount sinks.
  3. Seal the sink perimeter using silicone caulk.
  4. Hook up the drain P-trap and drain tailpiece. Connect supply lines.
  5. Make sure sink drains correctly and check for leaks.
  6. Reconnect electrical supply and turn water back on. Test faucet and accessories.
  7. Run water into the sink and check below for any drips or leaks.
  8. Apply silicone sealant where the sink meets the counter for a finished look.

Bar Sink Plumbing Details

To function properly, bar sinks require some key plumbing components:

  • P-Trap – The P-shaped pipe that fits between the sink drain and waste line to hold water and prevent sewer gases from entering. Bar sink P-traps measure 1 1⁄4” or 1 1⁄2”.
  • Tailpiece – The vertical section of drain pipe attaching to the sink strainer and feeding down into the P-trap.
  • Supply Lines – Flexible copper, braided stainless steel, or vinyl supply tubes deliver water to the sink faucet.
  • Elbows and Fittings – Necessary to orient supply and drainage lines. Fittings join sink components and adapt to existing plumbing.
  • Shut-Off Valves – Optional valves installed on the supply pipes allow you to shut off water to the sink. Helpful during repairs.
  • Drain Strainer – Catches food debris and prevents large objects from clogging drains. The drain tailpiece attaches here.

Customizing Your Bar Sink Area

Beyond the sink itself, additional fixtures and amenities can make your bar sink area even more functional and comfortable:

  • Faucets – Look for bar faucets sized to fit your sink. Gooseneck styles allow clearance for washing large items.
  • Sink Mats – Cushion glassware and delicate items and protect the sink surface.
  • Sink Grids – Let water drain through while keeping items from blocking the sink. Help protect sink surfaces.
  • Cutting Boards – Built-in or freestanding boards provide prep space right at the sink. Look for reversible boards with juice grooves.
  • Colanders – Fit over or sit inside the sink to wash produce. Some even attach to faucets.
  • Soap Dispensers – Convenient models mount right beside the sink faucet for easy access.
  • Towel Bars and Holders – Install by the sink to keep towels handy but out of the way.
  • Storage – Base cabinets, shelves or racks add space to store barware, cleaning items and more.

Caring for Your Bar Sink

With regular cleaning and occasional sealing, bar sinks should provide years of service. Follow these care tips to keep your bar sink looking fresh:

  • Clean regularly – Clear away debris, wash with hot soapy water, rinse and dry completely to prevent residue buildup. Avoid abrasive cleaners that could scratch.
  • Disinfect occasionally – Sanitize with a non-abrasive bathroom, kitchen or bar sink cleaner to kill bacteria. Rinse thoroughly afterward.
  • Protect with mats – Use rubberized sink mats or grids to protect sink surfaces from getting chipped and scratched.
  • Seal when needed – Reseal drop-in sinks annually using clear silicone caulk. Undermount sinks may need sealing where they meet the counter.
  • Watch standing water – Don’t let water pool in the empty sink, as minerals in the water can stain the basin.
  • Clean faucet aerators – Remove and soak faucet screens in vinegar regularly to prevent buildup that can reduce water flow.

With their versatile sizing and style options, bar sinks are at home in today’s open concept kitchens, entertainment areas, bathrooms, outdoor kitchens and more. By selecting the right bar sink for your space and care for it properly, you can enjoy added convenience and style for years of everyday use.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bar Sinks

What is the main benefit of installing a bar sink?

Bar sinks provide extra washing space in a small footprint. They allow you to add a second sink conveniently when you need more prep area or to wash glassware where you need it. The compact size is ideal for tight spaces.

How big are most bar sinks?

Bar sinks range from around 10 inches wide by 14 inches long up to 20 inches wide by 30 inches long. Rectangular shapes are most common though you can find oval, round and corner bar sinks. Average depths are 4 to 8 inches.

Do bar sinks come in different installation styles?

Yes, you can find drop-in, undermount, vessel and apron-front bar sinks among other installation types. Drop-in models are easiest to install. Undermount provides a seamless counter. Vessels sit on top of the counter. Apron-fronts have a visible front face.

What faucets can I use with a bar sink?

Look for bar faucets sized appropriately for your sink. Mini widespread faucets or those with a high arched gooseneck allow clearance for washing. Single-hole models often work well. You can also install up to 3 separate bar faucets.

How difficult is it to install a bar sink?

If you have basic DIY skills, installing a bar sink is quite manageable compared to a full kitchen sink. It involves fewer plumbing hookups. But some bar sink types like undermount require skilled techniques. Getting professional help is recommended if you lack experience.

Can I put a bar sink in my bathroom?

Definitely. Bar sinks make excellent additions to master bathrooms and powder rooms. Their petite size lets them fit in tight spaces. And glass vessel bar sinks create a stylish modern bathroom focal point in place of a traditional vanity sink.

Are bar sinks only for indoor use?

No, bar sinks are also popular choices for outdoor kitchen islands and wet bars. Just be sure to choose a material designed to withstand freezing temperatures, direct sun exposure, and other outdoor elements like stainless steel or ceramic.

How often should I clean my bar sink?

Daily cleaning with hot soapy water and a soft sponge removes residues that can build up over time. Disinfect at least weekly using a spray cleaner or diluted bleach solution to kill germs. Deep clean under and around the sink every few months.

Does a bar sink need a special drain configuration?

Bar sinks use a standard 1 1⁄4 inch or 1 1⁄2 inch sink drain P-trap. Tailpieces connect the sink strainer to the P-trap. You may need elbows and tube extensions to orient the plumbing correctly. Each brand may have specific recommendations.


Adding a bar sink expands your kitchen, wet bar or bathroom workspace in a compact footprint. With their streamlined design, bar sinks can be installed in tight spots or as a handy second sink to prevent bottle-necking during busy prep times. With myriad shapes and finishes available, it’s easy to coordinate a bar sink with your existing interior design. Some smart planning for the best size, placement and plumbing needs will ensure your bar sink provides maximum function and style enhancement for years to come.