Picture this. Some good mates gathered round the bar sharing laughs and a cleansing ale. The best part? It's in your own home.
Building a home bar can be as simple as knocking up a couple of bits of four-by-two into a few book stands or you can go the whole hog and go for oak panels and stainless steel foot rests. Either way, a home bar is the ultimate man cave.
A night out on the town is expensive so a home bar can pay for itself with lower lager costs and cheap snacks. If the bar is built to a high standard it could even add value to the property, so if your other half isn't thrilled by the idea, explain that your bar is actually a clever investment.
Pick your location
To get things rolling, pick a location for the bar. Your personal watering hole needs to be far enough away from bedrooms that you don't disturb the kids during those State of Origin get-togethers, while still being close to bathroom and kitchen facilities. This will be more important if you're planning a wet bar (with a sink) as you'll need to be near plumbing lines.
Once you've got the location sorted, work out where to place the bar with your chosen area. A corner may seem logical but remember to allow room for you to comfortably move around behind the bar.
Next, plan your dimensions to get an idea of the quantity of materials you'll need. The standard bar is a bit over a metre high but if you've seen some bar stools you like, check they fit this height.
Ideally the counter top needs to be around 400-600mm wide with an overhang of at least 200mm to provide a bit of knee space. A feature worth having is bar moulding – a lip that provides an arm rest and catches spilled drinks and snacks. If you want your bar to look extra professional adds a drinks rail like the sort seen in older, traditional pubs.
If you're especially handy, cut a recess in the bar's surface and add a drip tray to catch spillages. This makes it easy to keep the bar clean and looking good for longer.
Finally, add a foot rail on the outward facing side of your bar. This should be about 200mm off the floor, and it can be as simple as a ledge of timber or go professional and add a brass rail.
Behind the bar, you'll need a recessed area for a mini fridge to keep the liquid refreshments cold. If you are installing a draft system, a kegerator is a must-have to keep the beer chilled.
Give yourself naming rights
Your bar room décor matters too. It can help to visit a few alehouses for inspiration (it's a tough job but someone has to do it!) and it's a great way to decide on a theme – and even a name for your bar. You could keep it simple with signage like ‘Mike's Bar' or if you're a tradie you could try something like ‘The Carpenter's Arms'.
English pub names offer lots of inspiration – like The Old Dog & Duck, The Slug and Lettuce or the Hop Inn. Maybe you could name your bar ‘The Office' so that mates popping in for a drink can tell their better half they're staying back late at the office without bending the truth too much.