Pimp My System: Clint's Home Bar
I have enjoyed brewing beer in my kitchen for about two years now. We were stationed in Ft. Irwin, Calif., with little room to build any sort of system and no place for my brewing. Instead, I shared an area for storage, brewing, bottling, and consuming in our kitchen, sometimes to the dismay of my wife.
We moved to Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., and now have a home with a finished basement, which I instantly translated to my own man-cave area (that I also share with our children). I searched for a few weeks through the AHA Forum and online for ideas, and finally settled with some plans from BarPlans.com. While you do pay for these plans, they come with simple instructions and a detailed bill of materials that a novice like me absolutely must use in order to be successful.
- (9) 4x8 sheets of plywood
- (24) 2x4x8
- (2) 2x4x10
- (1) 2x4x12
- (1) 2x6x10
- (1) 2x6x12
- (2) 2x6x8
- (1) 2x6x4
- Various sizes of oak board for arm rest and trim
- Various size screws, finishing nails, liquid nails
This list of materials simply lists what was on the initial bill of materials from the plans. Once I started construction I found a few things that I wanted to do differently. Additionally these plans do not account for a kegerator being installed within the bar, so you would need to adjust measurements according to the size of your fridge.
After gathering the materials I laid them out on floor of the future man-cave. It was at that moment that I realized exactly how big 8'x10' really is. I decided that it was time to go big or go home and to build the bar exactly how I wanted. I used primarily drywall screws instead of nails. This made construction a little easier and will be easier to take apart when we move again.
As this was my first large construction project, I made sure to follow all instructions carefully. This was doubly important during the base framing of the bar. All cuts were measured, and often measured twice or more. Even then not all cut pieces of lumber matched, so I ended up with a frame that appeared to be somewhat unstable. Once the base framing was complete and I added the framing to the bar it began to take shape and look like a bar.
At this point I checked the kegerator to see how it fit. I noticed a major issue that I would eventually have to deal with: the top of the kegerator was not flush with the bottom of the bar. I wanted to have the tap handle on top of the bar, so I needed a way to bring the beer line from the top of the fridge and through the top of the bar without losing cold air. After a visit to Home Depot and some consultation with my wife and another home brew buddy, we decided on the solution. Using two 2-3/4" toilet flanges and a dryer duct we fashioned a container that would enclose the beer lines from the fridge to the bottom of the bar. I finished the framing and moved to the bar top.
As I mentioned earlier, once I started working on the project I had a vision of how I wanted to finish it. I specifically changed the bar top from a single piece of oak veneer to three 2x6x8s. My intent was to have a smooth surface across, however I have learned a few things about gluing long boards together without having much support between the two ends. For the most part, the top is even and what was not I was able to sand down to a generally even surface. I choose a dark stain for the base of the bar and a light honey stain for the armrest for some contrast.
Finishing with the toilet flange beer tap configuration I glued this to the bottom of the bar top then screwed the bar top down, ensuring that I covered the beer line hole from the kegerator. Finally, I stuffed the excess space with cotton balls for some insulation of the beer lines.
Overall the basic build of the project took about four days, but if you are experienced I am sure you can do it faster. The total cost was about $350, which may vary depending on type of wood and if you deviate from the plans to do something on your own. I do plan to make a few more modifications to it, as well as improve the overall ambiance of the bar. Overall, this was a great project and has hosted plenty of good times already.