Fraternity Basement Bar

Introduction: Fraternity Basement Bar

About: On the hunt for my proverbial "post-college-job", teaching Karate, building a better world one great Instructable at a time!

Step one, clear out the location and figure out what it will look like by scouring the world wide web for inspiration. You have to decide before even beginning construction, what you're looking to get out of the bar. Do you want somewhere people can sit and enjoy a nice scotch, or are you just looking for serving en mass and want it functional. In our case I chose the latter due to the fact that I can't afford to buy nice scotch.

Step 1: Gather Ye Wood!

See what ya got to work with and modify your plans accordingly. I only spent about 25$ on 2 x 4's but everything else I had laying around.

Step 2: What You'll Need:

Wood wood wood wood wood!

Lots of wood. I spent about $20 on 2x4's because I didn't have enough for the structure of it, but everything else we found laying around or recycled from old furniture.

Safety goggles and earmuffs to protect hearing.

Gloves to prevent gruesome splinters.

Hammer to remove nails from reused wood and the rubber mallet for inching along stubborn pieces that won't fit without causing damage to said pieces.

Drill for.......drilling... and screwing I suppose...

Clamps for making life easier.

Painters tape for marking on the floor without actually using a marker to mark the floor.

Saw for like cutting stuff.

Clamps and needle nosers for washers and nuts that need convincing to be tighter.

Tape measurer for, well, come to think of it I have no idea why it's always following me around. Darn thing never leaves me alone.

Pen for writing down ideas and scratching your back. Also something to chew on if you just quit smoking.

Forstner bits for like drilling the most awesome perfect circles and holes ever.

Step 3: Foundation

Step 4: Frame / Skeleton......skeletor! :)

It's kinda hard to explain these steps because to me its kinda common sense on how to build a frame. I start out with building the base rectangle. After the entire base is built, I build an exact duplicate of it. This will be the top part of the frame. Once the base is built, cut out as many "legs" as you'll need. Try to have more towards the front of the bar and less towards the back - thereby making more easy to reach shelf space. You'll still need some support in the front, but not so much that you can't reach anything inside the bar once completed.

Note - don't worry if its wobbly. The final total weight of the bar will force the wobbly-ness out of the wood.

Step 5: Frame Complete, Solidified, Then Put on Front Panels.

Once your frame is complete and relatively sturdy. You can place the front panels on it.

I measured it to go past the surface by about 6 inches. I used a recycled oak cabinet set.

Step 6: Bar Top and Finished Siding.

Just continue to match up and install pieces of similar wood as you see fit. Lucky for me the wood I was using was already stained and looked awesome. This is the weight that solidifies the sturdiness of the bar. Each one of these panels is about 15 lbs (6.80389 Kilos for all ya'll metric people :), Total siding and bar top probably added another 200-300 pounds (90.7185-136.078 Kg) to the bar, so any wobbliness is automatically eliminated.

Step 7: That Part That People Lean on / Where You Put Bowls of Bar Mix.

This is where that 6-7 inch (17.78cm) lip comes into play!

I used pieces of 2 x 6. Put as much on as you want. I would have done it without gaps but I ran out of wood and figured I had enough, and it works out fine so yay!

Step 8: The Leaning Lip / Bar Mix Shelf Holder Thing!

I found this among the random wood I had laying around. If you can't find anything similar, just remember to round and smooth the edges that your guests / patrons will be leaning against.

You'll be screwing these pieces into the 2 x 6 you attached to the top of the bar. Never enough screws since you'll probably have a lot of people leaning on it.

I also attached some L support brackets and braces to support it from underneath. Remember you can never have enough support!

Step 9: Internal Shelving

This comes the easy / fun / creative part. Build your shelves as you see fit. I just took a bunch of 1 inch thick wood strips and cut em down custom to fit bit by bit.

Step 10: Finished

Pat yourself on the back and pour yourself a cold one!

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    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmmm, like 3 days, total of about 9 hours-ish. If you need to go wood-hunting it might add a little on. Also, I dislike blueprints and just sometimes like to sit on my mini-chair and visualize projects in my head, but I don't include those hours in the total construction time.


    6 years ago

    I love the fact that you used stuff you already had. I like the lighting! If it ever goes bad take a look into LED lighting strips. They are simply amazing and perfect for this application.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Aren't they like really expensive though? I've looked into them for other projects like the other bar I built but it always seems to be a lot of $ per foot versus cheapo X-mas lights.


    Reply 6 years ago

    They can be expensive, but if you buy it in bulk it's not too bad.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yea I agree, however, I only needed 1 string of lights. If I ever go pro with building bars, then yea I'd buy them because of the professional look of it, but for now the budget is the priority.

    Also I'm getting into making custom stuff with EL wire, it looks cool but doesn't project light. Might make custom fraternity letters with the wire for behind the bar though.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    That came together nice ! Simple, Clean and Functional !

    I really like the Reclaimed wood you used for the top counter. All you need now is a wet bar and some mood lighting :D Great job !


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a lot for the feedback. When the lights are out in the basement, the bar lighting is just perfect as is. I built 2 speed rails for the other bar I built, but it's in a part of the house that gets less crazy so I could afford to add more complex items to it without fear of them getting broken or in the way.

    I went to the restaurant supply store for inspiration and found the cheapest speed rail cost about $50, which is more than I spent on the whole bar. Instead I just spent about $10 on supplies and customized it to work just the same. Never spend money needlessly!