Home & Garden

Southern Barscape: A Hush-Hush Hideaway

Transform an ordinary cabinet into an extraordinary libation destination


Elizabeth Greenhalgh‘s built-in cabinet bar.

This time of year, with all the holiday parties in full swing, it’s fun to observe how different Southern hosts put a personal spin on their at-home bars. I tend to favor examples (both of parties and of barscapes) that fall on a smaller, more intimate scale than those of the hire-a-bartender-and-rent-a-tablecloth variety. And I love a good secret bar. 

Perhaps this is because when I was growing up, my dad created a hidden bar at our Virginia farm that I found mesmerizing. He built it into the wall molding—the whole thing disappeared when he closed its doors. When open, however, the interior revealed a jewel box of glassware and bottles and a very cool brass sink. 

Naturally, then, I fell for this home bar belonging to Elizabeth Greenhalgh, a client of the Charleston, South Carolina, lampshade design studio Sorella Glenn. In this interpretation, a built-in cabinet conceals a diminutive and chic cocktail-making arrangement—complete with a wired-in sconce for ambient light.

The spot lies “adjacent to her kitchen and dining room, where space is at a premium,” explains Gracen Ashton, Sorella Glenn’s cofounder. The mahogany shelves and tiny custom lampshade elevate the look. 

photo: Sorella Glenn

Consider this now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t bar as the ultimate Southern party trick. “My parents, coincidentally, also had converted a closet into a bar in our family room,” Ashton says. “I still love to use the linen cocktail napkins that have been passed down through our family today.”


Get the Look

To bring the same festive spirit to your house, Ashton recommends the following:

photo: Marcela Diaz Photography

Paris Coupes by Cleod Glassworks

$86 each, cleodglassworks.com

Orange Bitters by the Bitter Housewife

$16, thebitterhousewife.com

Acrylic Tray by Nicolette Mayer

$305, nicolettemayer.com