Introduction: Building a Basic Home Bar

Following a few step by step instructions, I will teach you how to build a basic home bar that will satisfy your needs. Having a bar in a basement or other living space is vital for get togethers, whether they are with friends or family. Use it as a place to dine, watch the ballgame, place cards, or enjoy your favorite adult beverage.  Very basic woodworking skills are needed but don't be terrified if you have no prior knowledge. Get a friend or a relative that knows a little about woodworking and this will be a great project to start with. When all is said and done this project will cost you around $100.

Here are a few tips to make this project safe and enjoyable:

        Don't be intimidated by the magnitude of the project

        Take each step slowly and concisely in order to achieve greater accuracy 


Step 1: Tools & Materials Needed

The following tools are needed to complete the job. I included the tools and materials I used for further clarification. If you don't have these basic tools, you do not need to go out and purchase them. Go to a neighbor or a relative and try to borrow these tools before purchasing!

         Screw gun (impact driver)- 18 V Milwaukee 1/4" Impact Driver

         Screws- 3 inch outdoor screws (make sure you have the same bit)

         Finish nails- small 1 inch finish nails

         2 foot level- Stanley Fat Max 2 foot level

         Table Saw- Craftsman

         Compound Miter Saw- Craftsman

         25' tape measure and a pencil

Lumber: Please note that the following measurements may be larger or smaller depending on the size of space you are dealing with.

         2X4- I used six (6) 16' 2X4s.

         MDF Board- I used a 4'X8' sheet of this material. 

         1-1/2" trim

         Another 4' X 8' wood material- This is the piece that is nailed into the front of the bar. I used the thin piece of camouflage          material to add some fun decoration to the bar.

Step 2: Layout the Groundwork

Decide where you want to put your bar and how you want if orientated in the room. Measure off of the wall how far you want the bar to come out. For me, I came 7 feet off of the wall and decided that was good enough. You will need to cut two pieces to length (USE MITER SAW FOR THIS CUT, GET HELP IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE CUTTING). So for my example I would cut two (2) 2X4's at 7 feet. This will give me what is called the bottom and the top plates. 

In the picture the bottom and top plates are what you are cutting now. Don't worry about the picture being upright at this point. We will deal with that in the next step.

Step 3: Erecting the Framework

Now that you have two identical 2X4s cut, you are ready to layout where your "studs" need to go. You will want to mark both the bottom and the top plate the exact same. Make a mark with your pencil on both plates every sixteen inches. Square the lines across the 2X4.

Now you will need to decide how tall you want your bar to be. For me, I chose 4 feet tall. Doing some basic math 48"- 3" (for the top and bottom plates) - 3/4 " ( thickness of MDF board) = 44-1/4" <---- This will be the cut for the "studs". Make as many cuts you need to satisfy all the marks you made on your top and bottom plates.

Once you have made enough "studs" you will now need to screw these studs between the top and bottom plates. Make sure that the studs are lines up with the lines you made across the plates.

Step 4: Securing the Framework

You will now need to stand up your frame. Make sure that it is "square" off the wall and that this is the correct dimension you want to work with (your preference). Once your frame is square (makes a 90 degree angle with the wall) you can fasten it to the wall by screwing through the end stud into the wall (make sure to use your level to ensure the frame is plumb).

NOTE: I made my bar run the length of the room so I did not need to fasten my bar to the floor. If you choose to make your bar not run all the way, you will want to fasten the bottom plate to the floor using nails or concrete tapcons. Do a simple google or search to learn how to fasten a plate to the floor. 

At this point your bar should look like the following picture.

Step 5: Constructing Support Structures

In order to add some support, as well as a spot for a shelf behind the bar we will create two or three block structures. See the picture below for extra help. Determine at what height you will want your self to be. For my bar I chose 26". Not unlike the first step in this design make three (3) pairs of 10'' 2X4s (these will act as top and bottom plates for the structure.

Doing some basic math for the "studs". I want the shelf to be at 26'' therefore, 26" - 3" (top and bottom plates) = 23" <--- this will be the cut for the studs. Cut two per structure (I would cut 6 because I am adding three structures).

You will assemble rectangle like structures out of the four 2X4s (two ten inch pieces and two 23" studs). Once you have these screwed together you will screw them to studs from are previous frame. (SEE PICTURE BELOW)

Step 6: Inserting Stabilizers for the Bartop

The next step in creating this bar is to add stabilizers to the top plate to ensure stability in the bar. By adding several 2X4s to the top of the bar you will create a spot to fasten the MDF board to. Cut enough pieces that you can have one stabilizer (one board) over each stud on the main framework. You will want to cut this piece as long as you want the bar top to be. For me we cut ten inches for the portion of the bartop hanging over the front and 8 inches for the bartop hanging over the back. 

Doing some basic math. 10" hanging over the front + 3-1/2" (for the top plate) + 8" hanging over the back = 21-1/2" <---- Cut enough of these to sit on top of each stud on the main framework. 

Use four (4) screws to attach these stabilizers directly into the top plate. They will create a spot to put the bartop.

NOTE: The picture below has the MDF board attached!

Step 7: Install the Bartop

This is the step where all the work comes together to look like a real bar! You will need to make cuts using your table saw with this one (MAKE SURE TO GET ASSISTANCE IF YOU NEED HELP USING A TABLE SAW). You will need to make your dimensions the size of your top and bottom plates for length and the size of your stabilizers you just cut for width. To hold this board in its proper place screw from underneath the stabilizers up through the MDF board. 

Step 8: Install the Trim to the Front

With the 1-1/2 inch trim cut a piece the same length as the MDF board that you just installed. Use finish nails to fasten the trim to the MDF board flush with the top of it. The picture below will put some visual with the text.

Step 9: Install the Material to the Front Face

With the type of material you chose (I chose a thin camouflage paneling) measure the dimensions you need to cover the entire front face of the framework. This will be a measurement you must make because everyones will be slightly different. When the piece is cut (using the table saw) fasten the board to each stud with the finish nails. 

Step 10: Job Well Done

Hopefully your bar turned out well! If it did not, go back and reread a step or make the adjustments you need. Hopefully this was just a guide to making the bar for you. Everyone will have different things they want to play around with, but this is a good start and good foundation for a good looking, structurally sound bar. 

Now it is your job to look up instructables on bar stools and other barroom accessories!

I hope this was a pleasing project to make and you learned something about woodworking. Now go out and enjoy the time with family and friends on the newest addition to your abode!!