How to Build a Bar in Your Home

Having a bar in your home gives you a place to entertain company, or a wet bar where you can enjoy private time. You don’t have to pay a carpenter a lot of money to install a private bar in the house. Learn how to build a bar in your home without any outside help, which is a great conversation piece when your drinking buddies come over to enjoy a few mixed drinks.

Building a Home Bar

Here’s a list of bar building tools you’ll need when building a home bar. This shouldn’t take too long, even with one man working alone.

Bar Placement Tips

I mention the empty space, because you’ll need a little negative space in your home to put your bar. Luckily, you can locate this anywhere in the home besides bedrooms and restrooms. Look throughout your house to find the right spot for your wet bar: living room, den, computer room, game room, basement, patio or garage.

If you’re building a bar for entertaining and parties, you’ll want to find a location to accommodate guests. Talk with your wife (if applicable) and decide on a spot that she won’t be ashamed to have guests. Mostly, you’ll need extra space.

You’ll have a lot more options if this is a private bar, because you won’t be entertaining company.

Measure Bar Space

Once you pick out a location, get out a tape measure and measure the space available. You’ll use this to decide which type of bar you want, as well as how many supplies you’re going to need.

Pick Out a Bar Type

There are three basic bar types to choose from: L-shaped bars, straight bars and free standing bars. Free standing means you’ll have your bar in the middle of the room, out and away from the walls.

Straight bars are just that – a straight tabletop about chest high that people can sit or stand at, but which offers space between the bar and wall to store drinks and mix drinks. An L-shaped bar is like a straight bar, but with a perpendicular hook that offers a little more barspace.

Buy Supplies

Go to Lowe’s, Home Depot or another supply store and collect the supplies you’ll need. You’ll probably have most of the tools, so this should mainly be a run for wood to build your home bar with. You might have the spare building materials around the place, but if not, you need to get enough wood to produce your design in the right size.

Purchase a Ready-Made Cabinet

One way to cut out a lot of time and frustration, if you aren’t much of a handyman, is to purchase a ready-made kitchen counter height cabinet at the hardware store. You can find cabinets with space underneath to hide hot/cold water connections and drain pipes. If the idea of building a cabinet yourself sounds like torture, but you don’t want to spend to bring out a carpenter, this is a nice middle option.

Purchase a Counter Top

How to Build a Bar in Your Home

How to Build a Bar in Your Home

Options include tile, wood, Fromica, granite slabs, concrete slabs and tiles. You want a counter top that can stand getting wet and not display drink rings. You want something sturdy enough for a bar crowd.

Paint or stain your cabinet, if it came unfinished. It’s probably better to do this early, but you can perform this part of the job after the bar is in place.

Add a Sink, Faucet and Plumbing Fixtures

A good idea for a wet bar is to have a sink, a faucet and some plumbing, so mixing drinks doesn’t become a mess. If you don’t have the room or the desire to get into your home plumbing, you can skip this option.

If you do add a faucet, you simply make your water connection from the nearest water line in the house. Consider bringing out a plumber for this option, or skipping it, if you don’t want to pay for a plumber.

Install Your Cabinet

Installing your cabinet is a matter of finding the high point of the floor (about 3″ up from the floor), then marking this high point with a pencil. Then you find a stud in the wall and screw your cabinet into this stud, which makes for a sturdy connection.

Put shims underneath your bar, to raise it to the high point of the floor, if needed. After you have your bar in the right spot, you can trim off your shims with a knife, so they aren’t showing, when the project is complete.

Install the Countertop

Once you’ve got your bar in place, install the countertop. Mark off holes for your sink and other countertop considerations. Be careful and precise with this step. Take your time.

Use a paper template, if you’re using a granite slab. Cut holes in the granite according to the template. If you are using tiles, start by cutting a backer board. You’ll then install tiles from this point.

Buy Bar Plans – Bar Blueprint Websites

You can find bar blueprint sites online that gives you plans for building a bar. Barplan ( and Bar Gear ( are just two options where you can buy home bar plans for as little as $19.95.

Buy Your Own Bar

If all of that seems too much for you, you can also buy ready-made bars at certain outlets. These are a lot cheaper than having someone make you a custom-made bar and they look perfectly nice. You can select the right size for you. A foyer table makes a nice mini-bar in a pinch, too.

Create a Theme for Your Bar

Consider creating a theme for your bar as decoration. If you’re going to have your bar handy for watching sports events, have a football, baseball, golf or NASCAR themed bar. If you and the guys love Jimmy Buffet and frozen margaritas, go with a tropical theme. If you love disco, then bring out the disco ball.

Stock the Bar

Of course, the most important part of a wet bar is the liquor stock. Stock your bar well, with a variety of different kinds of beer, wine and spirits. Your hard liquors should include several different options for mixing drinks, as well as various taste types among the liquors.

Remember to stock the bar with a few liqueurs, too, such as cordials, Kahlua, Irish Cream, Creme de menthe, Grand Marnier, Galliano, Amaretto or Irish Mist. That is, you should consider having at the very least a coffee liqueur, a cream liqueur, a creme liqueur, a fruit liqueur, a berry liqueur, an herbal liqueur, a nut-flavored liqueur and a whiskey liqueur. Also mix in a cordial or two, for good measure, and probably some Bloody Mary Mix.

This gives the people sitting at your bar plenty of options, so far as mixed drinks go. If you’re going to be hosting at a bar, you should learn how to mix a drink or two with every alcohol you have in your stock. A great host knows how to mix drinks.

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