When my buddy Ned called and asked if I could build him a bar in his basement he was nice enough to give me free reign over the design.  Initially I think he was thinking we would throw together a quick table top and toss some bottles behind it.  After a brainstorm we came up with a fully operational bar with sink, kegerator, stools and shelving.  Because if your going to build a bar you might as well go all the way right??


Ned’s home has a classic New England design with wide pine floors, custom molding and a very warm feeling throughout.  Although the finished basement has more modern materials I wanted to keep consistent with the upstairs vibe.  I decided to build the base of the bar out of reclaimed spruce 4x4's and use a natural edged pine slab for the top.  Reclaimed material is tough to find, especially at a bargain, but if you sniff it out, it can give your project a super cool look that you can guarantee will not be replicated anywhere else.  

I started by cutting the rug back and building a frame out of 2x3's that the reclaimed beams would anchor to.  I bolted the frame to the concrete and studs in the wall to make sure it was strong.  I then piled the 4x4's up like a paneling and screwed them in from the back with 2.5" screws.  As I placed the 4x4's I made sure to have the best side facing out.  If the wood was dirty I brushed it lightly with a wire brush (by hand)  to clean off any dirt or loose grain.

Once the base was solid I started working on the top.  Slabs can look really cool, but you can also screw them up quickly, so make sure you take a deep breath and take your time!  A wire wheel on a grinder works great to clean off the live edge and remove any bark.  We decided on pine since it was so much cheaper than any other species I could find.  This piece was 10' long, 24" wide and 1.5" thick.  It came in around $300 compared to any other rare species at $1200 - $3000!  If you are in the New England area check out Stonewood Products in Dennis MA, or Longleaf Lumber in Cambridge.  


TIP - Keep a VERY light hand with the wire wheel, if you go too hard it will score the grain damaging the edge.  A thorough sanding with a series of 80/120/150 grit papers and this top is ready to be cut to fit.  Lastly WEAR GLASSES!  The wires can come off the wheel and hit you in the face which can cause some serious eye damage!

Although it looks like deep scoring these marks will all blend once the poly or stain is applied.


Once in place I screw the top on from the bottom making sure to select a screw that is not so long that it will go through the top.  I also make sure that there are plenty of cross braces under the middle of the board so that it does not cup or bow.  Three lightweight brass hinges for the door on the right and it is good to go.  

The floor was one of the only new items I used.  I decided to go with a pre engineered 3/8" hickory floor from Lumber Liquidators.  We needed something that could float over the concrete, but I wanted a full 3/8" with a real wood finish.  This way it did not feel like a fake laminated floor like many of the cheap options on the market.  It went down fast and once finished was rock solid.  The Hickory also had some natural blemishes that nicely matched the darker reclaimed beams.  

TIP - Be sure to lay down a 6mil plastic sheet under the padding to keep the moisture out.  Also, be sure to seal any seams of the padding and plastic with duct tape.  Its really that easy!  

The fun parts of projects like this are in the details.  Thanks to an idea from my friend Lindsay, I built a rack out of an old pallet, big enough to fit 6 bottles of wine and 6 glasses.  Live edge pine shelves to match the top were installed in the corner and I used black steel gas pipe for the shelf brackets.  Lastly I took a piece of butcher block and created a shelf over the wine fridge they had finished off with some barn board for the side.  This same block was used for the sink base.


We finished off the bar with a dual tap kegerator and bar sink.  In the coming weeks Ned is installing a flat screen on the back wall and is going to paint.  Just in time for the Superbowl!