Bar Building Blog

Chicago Bar Rail Molding Specials with Free Shipping.

Have you checked out the deals on our closeouts and specials page recently? At Hardwoods Incorporated we’ve been busy changing and growing our product line and in the process have developed limited batches of select bar rail molding being offered at a discount with free shipping on most items. These bar rail moldings are in good condition and may contain small knots, mineral stain or other natural inclusions. Whether you are building a small home bar or large commercial bar you will likely find a deal on the bar rails you need with no compromises. To place and order or if you have any questions regarding our closeouts and specials give us a call 1-800-BAR-RAIL.

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We have made it our mission to help our customers get the results they want when building a bar. That’s why, in addition to providing high-quality hardwood bar rails, bar tops, and other bar building supplies, we provide a collection of helpful bar-building resources. And, if you can’t find the answer to your question there, just reach out and one of our bar-building experts will help!

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.

7 Ways to Use Your Bar If You’re Not a Drinker

Home Basement Bar - 7 Ways to Use Your Bar If You’re Not a Drinker

When you think of a home bar, your mind automatically imagines a section of the house lined with various liquors and beers. While that’s what many people use that space for, the home bar can also be so much more.

Fortunately, there are countless ways to utilize a home bar that don’t include pouring a single drop of alcohol. Here are some of our favorite ways for non-drinkers to use a home bar:

Unique TV Setup

With a countertop for food and drinks and an entire back wall to stare at, home bars can also make for a perfect TV-watching spot. Installing a nice, big flatscreen on the wall of your bar allows you and your company to watch anything – from big games to blockbuster movies – from the casual comfort of your bar stools.

You don’t have to stop there! Use the space around your TV to store DVDs or Blurays, or even plug in your video game consoles along the back wall to create a larger-than-life gaming experience! Snacks and drinks can also be stashed away in cabinets or a fridge, guaranteeing a distraction-free night of entertainment.

Expansive Display Case

If you use your imagination, the back wall of a home bar can be used in countless ways! For example, let’s start with the obvious: it’s a great place to store your glasses and drinkware. If you have handsome glasses, crystal, or china, you can decorate the area around the bar to make it look more classy and modern.

Of course, drinkware is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can display on the back of a home bar wall! Do you have any particularly special sports memorabilia you’d like to display? Or maybe a few choice movie posters? Maybe you have an expansive collection of some sort, like bobbleheads or shot glasses? Proudly show off anything and everything you want!

Electric Fireplace Insert Display

Not every home is blessed with a built-in fireplace, but an electric fireplace insert can still create a very cozy atmosphere! Installation isn’t always cheap, but the end result can instantly transform an empty home bar into a bright, warm, relaxing leisure space.

If you want to really capture a rustic ambiance, wood paneling along the walls and some warm flannel blankets will definitely help set the scene. Use the extra shelf space to house a coffee maker or some hot cocoa mix, store a few warm slippers behind the bar, and settle in safe from the cold.

Personal Aquarium

A lot of home bars have a nautical theme to them, which can make for a really atmospheric and fun place to entertain guests. Deck your bar out in anything from traditional rustic sailing designs to loud and expressive luau decorations.

With all of that free back wall space, you could even go the extra mile and install a large fish tank for your guests to gather around and admire. Large aquariums, of course, are a commitment, but they’re also unparalleled centerpieces and conversation starters that can really compliment a seafaring-themed home!

At-Home Ice Cream Parlor

Even if you stay away from alcohol, you can still use your bar as a bar. Instead of serving up martinis and Bloody Marys, though, consider using that space to serve up something arguably just as delicious!

Use the back wall and shelving space to store your spoons and various-sized dishes, and use any extra space to keep a variety of cones, toppings, candies, and syrups. Of course, you’re going to want a decent-sized freezer to house all of the different flavors for your family and guests.

If mixing drinks can be considered an artform, shouldn’t the same be said for mixing different ice cream sundaes?

Wrap-Around Dinner Table

Think for a moment why people hang out by bars? Why do people have them in their homes? Why do some bars have regulars? What is it about that kind of space that draws people in so often?

Honestly, it’s the sense of community. People like to sit down, have a drink (alcoholic or not), and talk to each other. That kind of camaraderie is universal and gathering around a bar counter in your own home is perfect evidence of that.

If you really think about it, home bars are an excellent place to sit down and have a delicious dinner with your family. Many home bars wrap around, allowing everyone to be able to see one another while talking and eating. Use the back wall space to put in a small TV to watch, or invest in a jukebox and allow each family member to choose a tune. Either way, a home bar provides a unique sense of togetherness that every member of your family will appreciate.

Classy Coffee Bar

Just because you don’t drink alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t use your bar to serve up some tasty beverages. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, having your own setup at home can curb those cravings for some expensive takeout coffee.

Keep your French press, pour-over brewer, or espresso machine always at hand, along with your selection of syrups and mugs. If you enjoy lattes or cappuccinos, install a mini fridge to hold your milk of choice for easy frothing. An at-home coffee bar makes a great addition to those holiday mornings gathered around with family!

Everything You Need to Build Your Own Unique Home Bar

Feeling inspired yet? Itching for a fun place to entertain your family, friends, and yourself? At Hardwoods Inc., we craft exceptional hardwood bar rails, bar top kits, and other bar parts to turn your extra space into the hangout of your dreams. Check out our online store!

Introducing the Newest Way to Personalize Your Bar: Bar Front Trim Planks

White Bar Front Trim Planks

New from Hardwoods Inc. is a different way to customize your home or commercial bar: Bar front trim planks.

These planks can be installed vertically or horizontally on your bar front to give your project a Craftsman-like look and elegance. Add depth to your bar front in any length or configuration you want.

Install our bar front trim planks on their own, or with our bar front fluted columns for some extra flair. These simple trim planks even can be cut to different widths to vary the look. You’re only limited by your imagination!

These ¾” thick, 6” wide, 8’ long trim planks come in poplar, oak, cherry, maple, mahogany, or walnut to match the rest of your bar. Check out all the offerings in our online store, or contact us today for help selecting the look that’s right for you!

Custom Made Bar Tops by Hardwoods Inc

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we make custom bar tops and bar top kits for both home and commercial bars. Whether you are looking for a traditional wood bar top with bar rail molding or a natural edge slab bar top, we can help – all we need is a rough sketch with dimensions and your input.

We provide an itemized list of materials, labor, shipping costs, and time frame for your project so you can decide to either DIY the bar top or have us make it for you. Either way, we make the process simple by providing all you need to make your bar top from our one-stop bar building shop.

Lacewood Bar Top with BR475 bar rail molding and radius cornersCorner shot - Lacewood Bar Top with BR475 bar rail molding and radius corners

Pictured is a solid Lacewood bar top featuring our BR475 Bar rail molding and matching radius corners, custom made for a client in Alexandria Virginia.

solid red oak bar top trimmed with our BR475-S Chicago bar rail moldingCorner shot - solid red oak bar top trimmed with our BR475-S Chicago bar rail molding

Pictured here is a solid red oak bar top trimmed with our BR475-S Chicago bar rail molding and matching radius corner custom fabricated for a customer in New York City.

solid Sapele mahogany slab trimmed with our maple BR475 Bar rail molding1solid Sapele mahogany slab trimmed with our maple BR475 Bar rail molding

Pictured is a solid Sapele mahogany slab trimmed with our maple BR475 Bar rail molding to complete this custom home bar top for our client in Chicago Illinois.

Imported African Bubinga natural edge bar top

Pictured above is natural edge bar top made from a 3” thick slab of imported African Bubinga for a client in Miami, Florida.

Building the bar yourself? This is where we come in by providing everything needed to make your bar top and finish your bar front.

Pictured below are tongue and grooved main bar top kits that ship knock down and ready to assemble on your plywood sub top. Next we have our Chicago bar rail moldings and matching radius corners, carefully selected to compliment your bar top. All of our bar top parts come with full installation instructions, templates and finishing suggestions.

tongue and grooved main bar top kitstongue and grooved main bar top kits bar rails

When following our bar building resource guidelines, all you’ll need to do is cut your parts to length, sand, finish and enjoy your new bar top.

bar front fluted columns diagrambar front fluted columns diagram - Bar front trim kits

Looking for a convenient way to finish off the front of your bar? Why not consider using our bar front fluted columns and bar front trim kits? The team at Hardwoods Incorporated has over 40 years’ experience in actually building home and commercial bars. We’ve worked through many complicated installations and obstacles. When you are ready to get started, visit our website, call us, or email us your questions or rough sketch and we will help you select the right parts to build your bar or provide a quote to make it for you.

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.

The Hardwoods Incorporated team

Stocking Your Home Bar for Entertaining

Building a Home Bar - Stocking Home Bar for Entertainment

Having a home bar is a huge perk in and of itself. By adding this space to your home, you’ve created an instant conversation starter, hangout spot, and party center all in one! Or, you’ve at least created the beginnings of one. After all, what’s the use of a home bar if it isn’t well-stocked?

Now that you have the bar, the stools, and the cabinets, it’s time to prepare to put them to use! Here are some things you need to stock your home bar for entertaining any and all future guests:

 

An Assortment of Glasses

When it comes to home bars, variety is the spice of life. You could very easily get away with keeping identical traditional drinking glasses at your bar and your friends and neighbors probably wouldn’t bat an eye.

That being said, you put the work into installing your home bar. You chose the wood, the finish, and the color, putting it all together to make it as nice and unique as the rest of your home décor. It only makes sense to go the extra mile and make sure your glassware matches the impressive look of your bar.

There are a variety of different glasses out there, each specifically designed for different drinks, including the short, stout rocks glasses and the taller, thinner highball glass. You can add as much variety as you personally want, but there are a few basics that stand out: chunky beer mugs, smaller shot glasses, and the vintage martini glass being chief among them.

 

Martini Shakers & Strainers

Speaking of martinis, these are the sorts of drinks that separate the home bar owners from the home bar experts. There’s a touch of class that’s instantly added to a party or event in which martinis are involved. If that’s the vibe you know you’ll want to go for someday, then you’ll want to invest in some shakers and strainers.

 

The Alcohol (& Their Mixers)

Now let’s talk about the stars of every home bar: the drinks themselves!

What makes a home bar so excellent for hosting parties of any sort is the fact that you’re only limited to the drinks you want to serve. Sure, you could have a few bottles of beer in the fridge and a wine rack along the back wall, but it’s your bar! What kind of drinks do you want to mix?

Whether you’re a cosmopolitan or a whiskey on the rocks kind of individual, there are a few basic liquors that every home bar owner should keep on hand for a party:

Vodka is probably the best liquor to use when mixing drinks due to its lack of a strong taste and color. A lot of the most popular mixed drinks – from Bloody Marys to screwdrivers – are made with vodka, making it an essential ingredient.

Whiskey is as American as apple pie and picket fences, and you no doubt have at least a handful of friends who prefer these sorts of drinks on the rocks. Bourbon and Scotch are the two most popular whiskeys, and they both make for strong, nostalgic drinks.

Gin is the backbone of every good cocktail, so if you plan on putting those cocktail glasses to good use, best keep a large variety of this stuff on hand. If your party is being held in the late spring or summer months, tequila is an absolute must-have. Round out your home bar menu with some choice rum, which is best used for punch or stronger cocktails.

 

A Guidebook (or Two)

All of that alcohol will only do you so much good if you don’t know how to mix it into delicious drinks! There’s absolutely no shame in having a recipe book under your bar to help you out on intricate mixes. Keep one or two of them handy; this way, your guests won’t just be impressed by your beautiful home bar, but your bartending skills, as well!

 

Need Help Building a Bar? Call Hardwoods Inc.!

What good are all of these bar essentials without an awesome home bar to use them all? At Hardwoods Inc., we craft exceptional hardwood bar rails, bar top kits, and other bar parts to turn your extra space into the hangout of your dreams. Check out our online store!

Bar front Panel Moldings by Hardwoods Incorporated

Coming soon to the Hardwoods Incorporated bar front parts store; Bar front panel moldings in poplar, oak, cherry, maple, mahogany and walnut ready for prompt shipment nationwide. We also provide custom milling of our bar front panel moldings in a variety of other wood species upon request.Bar front panel molding 1This side profile shows the notch which is 1/4″ x 3/4″ designed to cover our bar front trim planks and standard plywood thicknesses available in 8′ lengths.Bar front panel molding 2When you combine bar front panel moldings with our fluted columns and bar front trim kits you can create a nice deep recessed panel bar front that is perfect for both home bar and commercial bar applications. For more information on these panel moldings and all of our bar building products and resources checkout our website or call us 1-844-BAR-RAIL

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated your one stop bar building shop.

3 Things to Consider When Planning Your Basement Bar

Building a Home Bar - Hardwoods Inc

You’re ready to get started building that home bar you’ve always dreamed of, and have decided your basement is the perfect location. Basement bars are great – We’ve seen tons of amazing basement bar spaces!

Before you get started, you have lots of planning to do to make your home bar the talk of the neighborhood. Here are 3 major things to consider when planning your basement bar:

Location Matters

Chances are you’ve already got that ideal spot in your basement picked out. But will that spot be an ideal location for everything you need to build your bar? Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when finalizing your basement bar’s location:

 

  • Level floor: Basements are notorious for having uneven floors. You wouldn’t want to have to build a sturdy, solid bar over warped or bumpy flooring, which can cause extra construction complications or cause your finished product to not look as polished as you’d like.
  • Proximity to utilities: With your bar, you’re likely going to want electricity to run blenders or other small appliances, or plumbing for a sink, or maybe both. Running electricity across the room isn’t nearly as expensive a project as relocating plumbing, so either reconsider your bar’s location or the amenities you want to include.
  • Space: Depending on the design and goals for your bar, you could need a fair amount of space. If you have grand designs of hosting your friends for game day, but are short on space, you may need to re-think your design or the location.

Keep It Dry

A common problem in basement construction – bars or otherwise – is running into moisture issues. Whether you have just a little dampness, some mold and musty smells, or you get full-on flooding when it rains, water and basement bars don’t mix.

Before moving forward with construction on your bar, get any underlying moisture or flooding issues dealt with, at the very least in the area where you’ll build your bar. It would be a shame to spend all that time and money on a gorgeous hardwood bar, only to have it develop moisture damage or rot because of the conditions in the basement. If necessary, install a basement de-watering system to help keep things dry.

Make It Cozy

Sometimes, basements can be cold, sparse, and uncomfortable. Think of how unpleasant it is to stand on that concrete floor for a long time!

One of the keys to creating a welcoming environment for your guests, one where they want to stay and hang out for a while, is adding some elements of comfort to the area surrounding your bar. Consider adding carpeting or, if that’s not possible, some large area rugs to make the floor feel less hard. Buy padded stools and comfy couches or armchairs to encourage your guests to lounge and enjoy a game or just some great conversation. If you’ve got space, add in a pool table, dart boards, or other fun games. The more welcoming your home bar, the less likely your friends are to go somewhere else to hang out!

 

Exceptional Hardwood Bar Building Supplies

At Hardwoods Inc., we have made it our mission to help our customers get the basement bars of their dreams. That’s why, in addition to providing high-quality hardwood bar rails, bar tops, and other bar building supplies, we provide a collection of helpful bar-building resources. And, if you can’t find the answer to your question there, just reach out and one of our bar-building experts will help!

5 Cocktails to Master for At-Home Bartending

5 Cocktails to Master for At-Home Bartending- Hardwoods Incorporated

Now that you’ve mastered 7 basic bartending skills and can impress your friends, you need to build a mental library of basic cocktails you can whip up at a moment’s notice!

Sure, being able to mix up a complicated drink is sure to delight your guests, and plain beer has its place, but there’s nothing quite like mastering a tried-and-true crowd-pleasing cocktail to level up your parties. Get good at making these 5 cocktails, and your friends are sure to want to stop by anytime for a drink:

 

Martini

What good is a party without someone making a James Bond joke? And if you can get a martini down pat, you’re sure to hear “Shaken, not stirred” at least once.

The beauty of the simple martini is you can change it up to suit different tastes. Serve it on the rocks for the guest who likes it cold, or add a splash of olive juice if someone wants a dirty martini.

 

Martini

2 oz vodka or gin

Dash of dry vermouth

Stir or shake all ingredients together. Garnish with olives.

 

Manhattan

As sophisticated as its namesake, this cocktail is much easier than you’d think to make.

 

Manhattan

2 oz bourbon or whiskey

1 oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes bitters

Build ingredients over ice, then strain into a glass and garnish with a cherry.

 

Old Fashioned

A true American classic, using rye whiskey keeps this cocktail close to its roots.

 

Old Fashioned

1 slice orange

Cherry (no stem or pit)

1 tsp sugar

1 ½ oz whiskey or bourbon

2 dashes bitters

Muddle the cherry, orange, sugar, and bitters until they have become mush. Add whiskey and ice, stir, and serve.

 

Margarita

Perfect for all those hot summer days and nights, margaritas are classic party cocktails that your guests will love.

Margarita

1 oz tequila

1 oz cointreau or triple sec

1 oz sour mix

Build ingredients over ice and shake. Pour over ice in a glass with a salted rim, garnish with lime.

 

Cosmopolitan

This sweet-and-sour drink is sure to make you and your guests feel sophisticated while sipping.

 

Cosmopolitan

4 oz vodka

1 ½ oz fresh lemon juice

1 ½ oz cointreau

3 oz cranberry juice

Build all ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake, then serve in a chilled glass.

 

Everything You Need to Build a Bar

What good are your new cocktail-making skills without an awesome home bar to practice them? At Hardwoods Inc., we craft exceptional hardwood bar rails, bar top kits, and other bar parts to turn your extra space into the hangout of your dreams. Check out our online store!

 

5 Important DIY Bar-Building Tips

5 Important DIY Bar-Building Tips- Hardwoods Inc Bar Design/Building

You’ve taken the plunge and decided you’re all-in on building your own at-home bar. That’s great!

Maybe this is your first project, or you’re a seasoned DIY-er. Either way, you’re a little hesitant about busting out your saw and nail gun, because you want your home bar to be perfect.

Relax! Our experienced bar-building pros can get you started with 5 important tips to help you build your own home bar:

Take Your Time to Plan

We know you’re excited, but if you rush head-first into this project without taking the proper time and care to plan, you may not like the results.

Spending a good amount of time – but not too much that you never start! – picking your bar’s location, taking measurements, choosing materials, and thinking about design will pay off when it comes time to start construction. If you need a starting point, our blog “Want to Build a Bar? Start Here!” has some great practical tips for the early stages.

At this early stage, it’s also a good idea to talk with others who have built their own bars, or watch some videos on YouTube related to bar building to get some practical advice and instruction. Also, if you take your time in the planning stage, you might be able to find great deals on some of the accessories that will make your bar unique, helping you keep to your budget.

Choose Quality Materials

Working with sub-standard materials could cost you time, money, and a lot of headaches. If you’re using cheap wood, for example, the likelihood of it splitting is much higher than if you’re using higher-quality wood.

If you want your project to be done on time, within budget, and with the least amount of frustration possible, be very selective about what you choose. This could mean you have to increase your budget a bit to make room for these materials, but the extra expense at the outset will pay you back in the long run.

Not sure what materials you’ll need to get started on your home bar? Check out our blog post for guidance.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Nothing is more frustrating than spending time carefully cutting a piece for your bar, only to find it’s too small. Now you have to get a replacement that you can re-cut, which could hold up your project for days or weeks.

Carefully measuring, and re-measuring, before you make a cut is essential to helping your DIY bar-building project run smoothly. If you need to, have someone else come in and double-check your calculations and measurements for accuracy. Better safe than sorry!

Simple Can Be Stunning

You don’t have to have a super-fancy home bar with all sorts of carvings and extra bells and whistles to make it great. Sometimes, building a really great, solid bar that’s also got a simple design can be just as beautiful. Not convinced? Check out our gallery of bars finished by our customers!

Paring down your plans to the bare essentials, and then executing on that plan really well, is going to look much better in the long run than trying to tackle all the fancy ideas you have in your head at once, especially as a beginner. Besides, there’s nothing to say you can’t build that simple bar initially, then add on all sorts of extras later.

It’s All in the Details

Keeping yourself from going overboard is one of the most difficult parts of any DIY project. You want to add all the gorgeous and fun elements you’ve seen around the internet – big elaborate columns, large sets of lighted back-bar shelves for storage, multiple TVs for game day – but your budget and time only go so far.

Plus, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing in design. Piling on every single cool thing you’ve found is going to leave your bar feeling overwhelming and cluttered.

Instead, we suggest picking one or two main focal elements that you can build your bar and theme around, then keeping everything else as streamlined as possible. This will help the elements you love the most pop and your guests won’t feel like they don’t know where to look next.

 

Need Help Building a Bar? Call Hardwoods Inc.!

We know the DIY bar-building process can be involved and confusing for many newcomers. That’s why we have gathered a bunch of great bar-building resources, and many of our high-quality bar parts come with cutting templates and instructions. Still not sure what part you need? Give us a call and one of our bar-building experts can help!

Things You Need to Build a Bar (Besides Hardwoods Inc.’s Bar Rails!)

building a home bar

Building your first bar can seem like a daunting task. You’ve got all the planning, measuring, cutting, and installing, and you don’t want to forget anything!

We’ve gathered a list of the things you’ll need to build a bar – besides our high-quality hardwood bar rails!

Bar Parts

To build a bar, you’re going to need some basic bar parts:

bar top kits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bar Top: You’ll need a top for your bar, where guests can rest their drinks. This can either be tongue and groove, like one of our quick ship hardwood bar top kits, or a live edge solid wood bar top to give your bar that rustic, natural feel.

Bar Wall: This is the solid wood piece that connects the bar top to the ground. You have lots of options for your bar wall, including one solid piece, or something built out of cabinetry for extra under-bar storage.

Chicago bar rail

Bar Rail: Create a comfortable spot for your guests to rest their arms with a gorgeous hardwood bar rail in your choice of finish. No bar is complete without one!

Foot Rail: Let your guests rest their feet after a long day on a foot rail made of wood or metal.

Basic Tools

Keep all of these on hand for quick access as you’re building your bar:

bar trim molding

Tape Measure: The old adage to “measure twice, cut once” is important in bar-building, too. You’ll need a tape measure from the beginning stages of planning all the way through to the finishing touches, so keep track of it!

Pencil & Paper: From taking measurements to sketching out your plans, you’ll need a pencil and paper through the whole project.

Circular Saw: A handheld circular saw with a nice, sharp blade will be needed to cut through any wood pieces of your bar.

Sandpaper: Quality sandpaper in a variety of grains will help you get those smooth edges on all your wood pieces to keep your guests from getting splinters.

Wood Glue, Nails, & Screws: These are essential to holding together the various parts of your bar.

T-Square: Necessary to get straight corners on large solid pieces, you won’t want to be without one!

Motorized Miter Box: Use this to cut and fit bar rails and other moldings.

Extras

bar front fluted columns

Fluted Columns & Trim: Add a great decorative element and polished, professional look with columns or trim on your bar front.

drip edge

Drip Edge: Keep spills and crumbs from falling on the floor with a drip edge to match your bar rail and bar top.

glass rail

Glass Rail: Play professional bartender and line up glasses ready for drinks on a glass rail, attached to the back edge of the bar top.

All Your Bar Building Parts under One Roof!

At Hardwoods Inc., we pride ourselves on our high-quality, American-made bar rails, bar top kits, and other bar parts. We use only the best wood we can find, and everything’s made in our shop in central Maryland. Call today to get your bar project started!