Setting Up Your First Bar? Building a Home Bar On A Budget
Buying a brand new home bar will cost an average of $200-$5000
Once you have invested in your bar, you are not done yet. You still have to buy furniture, accessories, and most importantly, ALCOHOL. For those of us who want the luxuries of a bar without the huge price tag, there is still hope!
Building your own home bar is extremely cheap! In some cases it can even be free. In this article, we’ll be tackling the challenge of building your very own bar.
What you will learn in this article:
- Setting a Budget for your home bar
- Choosing a bar design / getting inspired
- What accessories your home bar NEEDS
- Learning to mix drinks
- Other AWESOME bar gadgets
Setting a Budget:
Setting a budget is a crucial step that so many people sadly skip. If you take time to set up a budget properly, you’ll be able to save money in the long run by not overspending.
There are two different factors to look at when setting up your budget: The initial setup cost and your monthly replenishment budget.
Initial Setup Cost:
The initial setup cost is what you initially pay to setup your bar(excluding the alcohol). This will include the materials, the tools, bar furniture, and bar accessories.
Monthly Replenishment Budget:
The monthly replenishment budget is how much you spend on booze monthly. Assigning yourself a booze-budget will help not over-spend on alcohol.
Choosing a Home Bar Design / Getting Inspired:
The sky is the limit when designing your home bar. If you aren’t a skilled handyman that can turn small ideas into beautiful creations, then it might be a smart idea for you to model off someone else’s bar plans.
There are many ways you can go about cheaply building a home bar. It’s even possible to do it for free by repurposing antique furniture(cabinets work great!)
Here are a few epic home bar builds that I have found around the internet:
Basic Home Bar Build
In this awesome build, you will learn how to build a basic home bar using 2x4s and some medium density fiberboard.
This build is great for getting the gist of how bars are constructed. The design of this basic home bar will accommodate for any sized room, big or small.
The Bowling Alley Bar
Have a spare bowling alley laying around? Build a home bar!
This home bar enthusiast used the power of Craigslist to find old bowling alley boards. With those bowling alley boards he built the home bar of his dreams!
Looking at the picture, you can’t even tell that this bar wasn’t store-bought. The top of the bar looks nice and shiny due to its urethane gloss. Adding urethane to your bar gives it a rock-hard finish as well as a little extra protection from frequent use.
This Old House’s Home Bar
If a $400 bar is in your budget, you might want to consider This Old House’s home bar plan.
Just because the price is relatively high, doesn’t mean that this isn’t a budget home bar. This bar looks just like a $2000 bar you would buy in a store. If you decide to make this bar, you can potentially save over $1500!
This Old House has provided great quality diagrams, pictures, and steps to help you along your way. I won’t call this build easy by any means, but if you know your way around the workshop, this bar is very doable.
You Have a Bar!! Now What?
You have just built the home bar of your dreams and it looks great! The only problem is that a bar isn’t a bar without booze, glasses, and other drinking accessories.
In this section of the article, I’ll be going over some essential glasses and accessories you should purchase for your newly built bar.
- Shot glasses
- Rocks glasses
- Wine glasses
- Pint glasses
- Shakers & strainers (Buy a couple so you don’t have to constantly wash out your shakers after each drink you mix)
- Bottle opener
- Pourers (Pourers are a simple little nozzle that fits on your bottles. It makes pouring drinks a breeze and works great for parties when you’d be required to pour many drinks quickly)
- Muddler (If you are interested in advancing your mixology skills, a muddler is a tool that comes in handy for making more complex drinks)
- Long spoon/stirrer (you can pickup a stainless steel bartending spoon for around 3 bucks)
Now you just need some alcohol! Click here to read my full guide on stocking a home bar!
Learning To Mix Drinks:
Your bar is built, you have bought a ton of knick-knacks and accessories, and you have stocked your shelves with many bottles of booze.
Now you need to acquire some mixology skills. In this section of the article, I’ll be giving you two helpful resources to better your drink-mixing talent.
It’s time to put your home bar to the test!
Bartending 101 (free Udemy Course!)
The first resource I’ll be talking about is 100% free! I have not tried Udemy until just recently. Basically, Udemy is a marketplace packed with both free and paid courses on skills ranging from computer programming to weight lifting.
Bartending 101 is amazing! It is a free course that will teach you how to mix a good selection of fancy drinks. You’ll appreciate how the videos are filmed professionally in HD.
Since this is a free course, you don’t get a ton of lessons. There are still a lot of classic drinks that are left out. For the free price, you can’t complain. It’s worth checking out at the least.
The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails
The Ultimate Bar Book is a must-have. I’d recommend getting it in hard cover rather than kindle edition. There’s nothing like having a physical book that you can mark-up to your pleasing.
I loved The Ultimate Bar Book because it has a load of classic, as well as newer, more modern drink recipes. You’ll see standard recipes such as the Bloody Mary, but you’ll also get lesser-known variations such as the Virgin Mary.
Along with the drink recipes, you’ll also get some useful basic information on barware, tools, and mixing tips.
Some categories of drinks that you’ll learn about are: Garnishes, rims, infusions, syrups, punches, gelatin shooters, hot drinks, and even non-alcoholic beverages.
Other AWESOME Bar-Gadgets
Mini Kegerator/Draft Beer Dispenser
This Kegerator will keep your kegged beer cold and fresh. It is very compact and will have no trouble fitting into any home bar setup.
Touchscreen Wine Refrigerator?
This fridge has built-in LED lighting to illuminate your wine. It is controllable by the touchscreen display. The design of this fridge is super sleek!
All-in-one 10 Piece Home Bar kit
For someone just getting started, an all-in-one kit can be very helpful! This kit comes with 10 different stainless steel tools that all store nicely in its metal cutting-board.
So there you have it! I hope you have learned some valuable knowledge on setting up a killer home bar on a budget.
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The image on the top of this post was done by Cycletours Holidays