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Bar Building Ideas

Updated on July 30, 2010

A home bar area is a great place for family and friends to gather and enjoy. There are so many options available for making a bar, it can be difficult to choose a particular style or design. Using some simple ideas to create fantastic bar spaces will go a long way in making the perfect bar for you.

Bar Shapes

Square Bar

A square bar allows people to sit all around it, allowing for more intimate conversations to arise. This bar type also makes it easy for the bartender (in this case, you) to converse with everyone easily while still serving guests. Keep the shelving open so that everything is accessible. Overhead glass hanging racks can be hung up for added storage.

Curved Bar

A bar with a slight curve does not increase the seating of the bar by much, but it will work in almost any space. This bar has a more modern design and the face of curved bar is covered with glass tile. A curved granite or concrete counter top compliments the glass tile. A simple shelf in the back will give you ample storage for supplies.

Teared Outdoor Bar

The unique design of a long bar of various heights is great for incorporating an outdoor bar on a hillside. The bar can follow the general lay of the land, while still being useful. Because it is an outdoor bar, teak and cedar are best for the bar face and should be installed at a diagonal to draw the eyes down the bar. The counter top will stretch along the all the tiers of the bar. Each section should have steps behind the bar that will lead to the next bar section. This bar has everything, including a grill and flat top stove for cooking food. This type of bar is the place to be when outdoors at your home.

Indoor Bar Materials

For a glamorous, modern look, glass tile on the front of the bar will pop off the surface and sparkle with any amount of light. For a more traditional look, stained oak, maple, or pine are typical bar face materials. Oak should be used for more elaborate designs that incorporate raised panels and decorative moldings throughout the bar. Pine is a great material for a rustic bar. With all of the knot holes and rough wood textures, this is perfect for a hunting lodge or to incorporate into rustic decor.

One unique idea for a beach bar theme, is place see shells on the face the bar wall while being built, make a frame 3/4 of an inch above the surface of the bar face, and pour lacquer onto the face. This will encapsulate the sea shells onto the face. Some shells will even protrude from the lacquer surface slightly giving it unusual depth.

Outdoor Bar Materials

Building an outdoor bar requires the use of weather resistant materials. For woods, cedar, teak, and redwood are the best natural wood materials to use. Treated lumber can be used, but will not have the same elegant look as the other woods.

Stone and tile are great choices for outdoor bars and look great against sleek stainless steel appliances.

A combination of these materials creates a lot of interest and will create a lot of different textures that will give the bar a very high end, designer look.

Countertop Materials

Countertop materials for indoor bars can be made of wood. Butcher block, lacquered wood, and solid oak or maple are all commonly seen in professional establishments throughout the world. For a more refined look, polished concrete countertops, tile, and granite are a better choice.

Outdoor countertops have to be made of non-porous stone, concrete, or tile. Granite can also be used, but is better in an area where the bar is protected from the elements.


If you are going to build a bar, if better have at least a mini fridge in it.  You can get as sophisticated as installing tappers with actual pressurized lines to a kegerator.  While this is elaborate and takes some serious planning, it can be one of the best investments you put into your bar. 

Food preparation is more for outdoor bars, but a built in grill adds to the character of the bar and gives it a customized look that is hard to top.  More elaborate cooking vessels such as pizza ovens and firebrick stoves can also be built but you will need a fairly large space for these improvements.



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    • Sylvie Strong profile image

      Sylvie Strong 7 years ago

      A very informative and useful hub. Alas, I'm not building a bar in my home (I wish). But I will stock my shelf with extra liquor in your honor.