How to… set up a home bar

Feel like a bottle-twirling Tom Cruise? Crave for Coyotes to shake their thing for you? Simply want your house to be "the place where everyone knows your name"? Well, all you need is a bar in your home and this is how you do it.

You could go out and buy a ready-made one and get someone to install it for you but where would be the fun in that? The entertainment is in constructing it yourself and drinking of course.

Choose your location
The most important thing is to select a perfect location for your domestic Cheers and this part is up to you. If you’re trying to make it a retreat from the rest of the family then maybe the garage or a spare room is a good call. But if you want an all-encompassing extravaganza of booze then the living room or kitchen could be for you. You’ll also need space so plan for at least a four feet square corner. It doesn't really have to be a corner but you'll find that it saves space as well as construction time.

Select a theme for your bar
Are you going to have it looking like a sports bar with neon signs and sports memorabilia? An automotive theme, perhaps, with hubcaps and steering wheels? Or what about a retro look? What's imperative is that it fits with the overall décor of the room. If you decide to set up your bar in the study or living room, make sure it doesn't shout for attention. In this case you might have to go with more sober styles, preferring customised mirrors and mahogany panelling to flashing beer signs.

Set a budget
Another vital aspect to consider before you get started is the amount of money you're willing to inject in the project. Look around and seek out information. Bargain for materials and see what you can afford. But be sure to do this before you hit the first nail to avoid nasty surprises.

Plan your extras
Do you intend to have a keg box or a mini-fridge? Are you planning on installing a sink or just a water pipe? These will likely be decided upon as per your budget. If you're on limited resources, you might want to simply consider putting together a counter and spirit bar and with a few bar stools in front, it can still look professional. Better finances can provide you with the works: draft taps, running water, refrigerator, icemaker and the list could grow depending on how many pounds you want to spend.

Work on the design
Wake up the architect within you first and foremost. Everything must be drawn, outlined, plotted, and sketched. Use graph paper or any similar squared paper so that you can have scaled blueprints. Measuring is fundamental. Spending three hours measuring will save you 10 hours of rebuilding, so make sure everything fits like a glove.

Start by building the base
Use pressure treated two-by-fours to outline the base of your bar. Then cover it with three-quarter inch plywood. Raising a skeleton will necessitate two-by-four pine boards. Again, this part won't be visible, so pine will be rather less expensive than using a fancier type of wood.

Outline the walls of your bar with these boards, and bring it to a desired height (consider the height carefully, especially if you've already purchased the stools). Erect the boards evenly and secure them with angle bars to ensure sturdiness. Lay other two-by-fours over your upright boards to lock everything in place.

You're ready to cover the bones
At this point you will have to have made a decision as to what kind of exterior you want for your bar. If you use wood, it should be stained (or painted) before being mounted to avoid hassles. You will need glue and finishing nails to stick it on. You can now add an overhanging trim to cover the joints.

To finish the interior, you can use half-inch plywood to make shelves. Use a small wooden baguette to make a rail so as to avoid accidents. You should make the cabinet doors with the same material you used for the exterior if you can afford it; that way it will be attractive all around.

Or if wood is not your thing…
Granite and marble are always trendy although they can be quite pricey. Using a glass top can be chic but make sure you've found a solution as to the rough wood underneath. Synthetic materials are available and you could even make your own design, covered with clear glass-like polymer coating.

Finishing touches...
Once you have your bar set you need to make sure it doesn't look naked. Think about hanging some suave posters and prints around your personal watering hole and consider atmospheric lighting to really set the tone.

When you have the look sorted all that remains is outfitting it with useful accessories. Glasses of various shapes and sizes, an ice bucket and tongs, a bottle opener and cocktail shakers should they be required.

Then it’s the fun part, stock the bar with your beers, wine and spirits and then all that’s left to do is send out the invitations.

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