A mini-bar is a small, private snack and beverage bar, that is often found in upscale Western-style hotel rooms. Typically, a minibar comes in the form of a counter and small absorption refrigerator stocked with a precise inventory. The room's guests can take a beverage or snack at any time during their stay.
The bar is commonly stocked with small bottles of alcoholic beverages, juice, and soft drinks. It may also include candy, cookies, crackers, and other small snacks. Some hotels offer non-food items, such as socks, toiletries, and condoms. Prices are generally very high compared to similar items purchased from a store, because the guest is paying for the convenience of immediate access and also the upkeep of the bar. Prices vary, but it is not uncommon for one can of non-alcoholic beverage to cost between $4–$10.
Some mini-bars use infrared or other automated methods of recording purchases. These detect the removal of items, even if the items are not consumed. This is done to prevent loss of product, theft and lost revenue.
Typically the minibar cooling unit was different from standard refrigerators, using absorption technology. An Italian company, was the first manufacturer to install a compressor mini-refrigerator in the NASA Space Shuttle in 1982. In 2012 was produced the first A+++ class compressor minibar. Compressor refrigeration unit, in addition with timer and a eutectic plate, allow to save more energy, compared to traditional absorption minibar.