Building a bar is great addition to a family or recreation room. A bar can be built in a variety of designs. The finished product is only limited by the space available and the skills and imagination of the builder. Some home bars are built to have a similar look and appearance of a commercial bar while others are built along an ethnic design, such as an English pub, or are reminiscent of a sports team. No matter what the design, there are some common design elements to a home bar.
Designing the Bar
The first decision in designing a bar is whether to build a wet or dry bar. A wet bar has a sink and requires plumbing for water and the return of waste water. Depending on the proposed location of the bar and the accessibility of the current plumbing, a wet bar may be expensive and difficult to build. The sink can also be built into the back bar, the cabinetry built along the back wall behind the bar. It may be easier to access plumbing to the back bar than the bar itself.
According to the website Ask the Builder, the common height of a bar is 42 inches. For bars where bar stools will be used, the bar top should overhang the front wall of the bar by at least 12 inches. The overhang can be less for stand-up bars.
Allow at least 36 inches between the bar and the back bar or wall. This is a bare minimum to allow a single bartender space. If constructing a large bar, where it is possible more than one person will be behind the bar, allow more space.
The builder should also plan the electrical outlets and lighting for the bar. Small appliances, blenders, microwaves and even popcorn makers all require electrical outlets. Lighting can be planned to create whatever mood or ambiance the builder desires.
Building the Bar
Build the framework of the bar out of at least 2-by-4-inch lumber. If the bar will be topped with a heavy bar top, such as slate or granite, heavier lumber will be needed for the framework. Securely fasten the bar to the floor and wall, if possible, for stability.
Finish the front of the bar and any exposed surfaces with paneling, drywall or any other desired wall covering. The wall area under the bar should be covered with a durable material capable of standing up to the occasional accidental kick and scuff.
Add shelving or cabinetry below the bar and in the back bar. Add any finished wood and trim pieces to complete the bar.
Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.