Want To Build a Bar? Start Here!

So you’ve made the decision: You want to build your very own custom bar. Congratulations! But now that you’ve made the decision to build, what’s next? This practical guide will help you through the beginning stages of building a home or commercial bar on your own:

Choose Your Space

What sort of bar are you looking to build? Do you want an indoor bar, or an outdoor bar? Obviously, weather will be a major determining factor in answering this question. You’re less likely to spring for a fancy outdoor bar if your backyard is covered in snow for most of the year. However, if you plan to keep most of your bar-related entertaining to the summer months – Memorial Day barbecues, pool parties, and 4th of July fireworks – you may want to consider an outdoor bar even if you live in a colder climate.

When choosing your space, indoors or outdoors, make sure the area you’re choosing is large enough for the number of guests you’d like to entertain and any features you want to include. A good rule of thumb for bar length is about 2′ wide for every person you plan to seat at your bar, or a little less if you’re going for a cozier feel. If you plan to include extras, like a TV or pool table, either choose a space large enough to house all these features or scale down somewhere – in either your extras or the size of your bar – to accommodate. No matter what, make sure the space you plan to build is level, up-to-code, has proper ventilation, and is able to be heated and cooled to your personal preferences. There’s nothing worse than spending a bunch of money crafting the perfect basement bar only to find out no one wants to hang out there because it’s too cold!

Take Some measurements

Once you have your space sorted out, it’s time to pull out your measuring tape or yardstick and get to crunching some numbers. Rough out the length of your bar, its distance from the behind-bar wall and any walls on the seating side, and space for any additional features, such as extra seating. Check out our Standard Bar Dimensions & Specifications page for more information on some basic measurements for the bar itself to get an idea of how much space you’ll need.

The bigger your bar, the more money you’ll end up spending. This is especially true if you plan to include beer taps or multiple refrigerators. Look around and start pricing out some of the essential features you want in your bar, including shelving and seating, so you can adjust your plans early in the game if necessary.

Pick Your Look

After you’ve got some of the big early decisions out of the way, it’s time to choose your bar’s style. Are you a fan of the Irish pub look? Or do you crave a sleek, contemporary atmosphere? Do you want your friends to feel as if they’re in their own personal sports bar? Figuring out exactly how you want your bar to look is one of the most interesting and fun parts of building your own bar, so take your time! Check around the internet for some inspiration, and don’t be afraid to think a little different. This is your bar, so make it reflect your tastes!

Whatever look you decide on is going to determine everything, from your bar top down to the pictures on the walls. A good rule of thumb is to pick one or two non-negotiable items that you must have in your bar, and choose everything else from there. Whether those non-negotiables are a favorite athlete’s framed jersey or a map of the London Underground, picking some focal points or style inspiration pieces can help you create a cohesive look more easily.

Affordable, Quality Hardwood Bar Parts for Every Bar

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we pride ourselves on making only the highest-quality hardwood bar tops, bar rail molding, and bar parts so you can have exactly the look you want at a fraction of the cost. Check out our in-stock selection in a variety of beautiful hardwoods, or contact us to request any of our products in a custom specie. We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in: Bar Building, Bar Parts, Bar Rail Installation, Home Bar Tips

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Hi Paul,

I wanted to let you know that my order arrived and everything is in great shape. Thanks for the fantastic job of wrapping everything up. The UPS driver was really nice helping me get the order off of his truck. I am so impressed with the quality! I’m not a professional but I’m confident that my bar is going to turn out great with these tops and rails. You even over-delivered on the glass rail so I can do that in a one continuous piece now so thanks for that. There’s not a chance I could have pulled this off had I not found your website!

Todd G. – Liberty Township, Ohio


I am so impressed with the quality!

This was the first Bar that we have done and decided to go with the BR 475 style rail. First off I’d like to Thank the Folks at Hardwood Inc for a very quick turn around on getting our bar rail to us. And I will have to say everything they told me on it was on the money. I did make a jig because it was the 1st one as I said before to make my 45 cuts at both ends of the bar. But the end joints were beautiful and took little to no work.

Thanks Again!

Johnny C. – Lexington Kentucky



I’d like to Thank the Folks at Hardwood Inc!