The minibar, sometimes spelled mini-bar or mini bar, is a small, private bar offered in some places of accommodation that provides the convenience of drinks and/or snacks immediately accessible in the room, often for a surcharge. The beverage portion of the minibar is usually refrigerated.
Also known as a “Cash Bar” or “À La Carte Bar,” the minibar may offer other items, such as condoms, grooming kits, and other amenities, that will be billed to the room and guest upon checkout, if the items are used or consumed.
According to the Atlantic, the refrigerated minibar “was invented in the early 1960s by a German company called Siegas, and first attained fame in 1963” … “with the opening of the Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C.”
Source 1: “Elegy for the Minibar,” The Atlantic, March 2013. Retrieved 2017-03-26.