Bar Building Blog

Bar Building 101: Major Parts of a Typical Bar

You’ve decided to build your own home bar and have figured out where you’ll locate it and some basic measurements. Now, it’s time to begin sketching out the rough design for your bar, adding and subtracting features. Before you get started, you’ll need to know the basic parts of a typical bar:

Front Bar

The front bar is exactly what it sounds like – The front of the bar. This is the area where your guests will sit and sip their drinks. Of all the areas of your home bar, this is the one where design and guest comfort should be foremost in your mind. You want to make sure your guests have adequate space for their comfort. We recommend 42” for your total bar height – to accommodate 12” of space between the standard 30” tall bar stool and the bottom of the bar top.

There are several basic parts of the front bar:

Bar Top

This is the main slab where drinks, food, and your guests’ arms rest. It can be made of wood, granite, or any other solid, non-porous surface. Most bar tops are 16-18” wide to provide ample room for serving and holding drinks and other items.

>> Check out Hardwoods’s in-stock bar top slabs!

Bar Wall

The bar wall is the vertical piece that supports the bar top and separates the front bar from the back bar. It usually is made of wood, but can be made of concrete, stone, or other solid surface depending on the look desired. Most bar walls are 40 1/2” tall, though they can be taller or shorter. Bar walls are a great place to attach fluted columns or other trim for decorative purposes. Our fluted columns come in three pieces, with the center portion measuring 3/4” x 4 1/2” x 31”. The bottom plinth block is 1” x 4 1/2” x 7”, and the top cap block is 1” x 4 1/2” x 5”. They are made to fit the standard 40 1/2”-tall bar wall, but can be adjusted to fit any size bar wall and are up to 43’’ tall.

>> Fluted columns add flair to your front bar!

Bar Rail

Bar rails are concave moldings placed at the edge of the bar top for a place for guests to rest their arms, to keep glasses and other objects on the bar top, and to give your bar a polished look. Our bar rails come in a variety of profiles and wood species, and can be made to fit any length of bar.

>> Get a professional bar look at home with our bar rail moldings!

Foot Rail

Made from wood or metal, the foot rail is placed near the floor to give your guests an additional level of comfort. It typically is placed 5-8” off the floor.

>> Enhance your guests’ comfort with a foot rail!

Back Bar

The back bar is the business area of your bar. It’s where drinks are mixed and poured, and all your liquor, glassware, and other supplies are kept. You need enough room in the back bar to accommodate all the storage you need and to allow you ample space to move around. Ultimately, the back bar is about function over form. There are a few optional features you can add to your back bar for some additional style and functionality:

Glass Rail

The glass rail is a flat piece of wood attached to the back of the bar top, meant to hold glasses as you mix drinks. Our glass rails come in a variety of wood species and can be made to fit any length of bar.

>> Add some extra space with a glass rail!

Drip Edge

A drip edge attaches perpendicularly to the back edge of the glass rail. It is meant to catch spills and crumbs from the bar top and glass rail so they don’t fall onto the floor.

>> Protect your floors with a drip edge!

Under Bar

With the under bar, it is all about function. This is the area underneath your bar, in the back bar area, where you can install sinks, drink refrigerators, kegs, or even microwaves for those tasty bar snacks. Much of your basic glassware and mixers also will be stored under here, so typical under bars feature shelving.

Quality Hardwood Bar Parts for Every Bar

At Hardwoods Incorporated, it is our goal to provide only the highest quality bar rails and bar parts, allowing you to build the bar of your dreams. Browse our in-stock bar parts, or contact us to discuss your special order.

Build a bigger home bar with 9′ short bar rail molding!

Build a bigger home bar with our new 9′ short bar rail moldings. They ship as one piece, full length 106″ long by UPS with affordable shipping nationwide. With the addition of matching radius corners, it is now possible to make a U shaped bar top over 11′ long without a seam in the bar rail molding.

Curved Bar Rail Top- Natural Edge Bar Top Slabs

If your home bar design is L shaped then add a matching radius corner to our 9′ short bar rail molding for a seamless bar top over 10′ long.

Curved bar rai top

The 9′ short bar rail moldings are offered in our 5 star top rated BR475 and BR550 models for now with plans to expand our offerings into all bar rail models and wood species.

If you are looking to craft a cozy home bar to create a gathering place for your friends, or want beautiful parts for your commercial bar, Hardwoods Incorporated offers a full line of customer top rated bar-building parts at affordable prices. Our quick shipping and outstanding customer support make us stand out from the other guys. Give us a call – You’ll be glad you did!


Get a Beautiful Custom Look for Your Bar Top with Hardwoods Incorporated’s Bar Rail Radius Corners

Do you want the look of rounded corners on your home bar, but think they’ll be more difficult to install than a square corner? With our bar rail radius corners, it doesn’t have to be!

Not only do curved corners provide a clean, polished look to your bar top, but they are more comfortable for guests and may be less expensive than purchasing two lengths of wood and creating a square corner.

Our bar rail radius corners are easy-to-install and don’t require the use of extra pieces, such as shims or scrap wood to place between layers. They’re made to install on two layers of ¾” thick material; lumber for the main bar top and plywood for the subtop, which are available in nearly any home improvement store.

Bar Rail Radius Corner | Hardwoods Incorporated

In every 6” and 12” radius corner order, we include a paper template for you to cut out and trace directly onto your bar top and sub top. This takes all the guesswork out of marking off your corner; just cut out the template, measure, trace using the template, and you’re ready to cut! Step-by-step instructions also are included with every radius corner order so you can have them handy when building your bar.

Once you have your rounded corners marked and cut, piecing together your bar top, sub top, bar rail, and radius corner is a snap. See how easy installing our BR 475, BR 475-S, BR 550, and BR 158 bar rail radius corners can be in the video below:

Superior Hardwood Bar Tops and Bar Parts

Whether you’re building your first bar or your 500th, Hardwoods Incorporated has the materials you need to create a beautiful, custom bar. Our affordable bar parts come in a variety of wood species to meet any look, or contact us for a custom order. We offer a full library of bar-building resources to make creating the perfect bar an enjoyable project you feel confident tackling.

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!

Choosing the Best Bar Rail for Your Project: A Guide

Adding a bar rail to your home bar can take it from so-so to stunning. Bar rails feature rounded edges, softening the sharp corners or bar tops and other pieces, providing a spot for your guests to comfortably rest their arms.

At Hardwoods Incorporated, our bar rails come in a variety of profiles and finishes. There’s an option for every type and style of home bar, from rustic and simple to ultra-ornate.



bar top rail - BR-450
The BR-450 bar rail is one of our simplest, most affordable options that still provides a beautiful, polished finish to your home bar. It features a gentle slope and rounded edge, and is perfect for staining in a variety of finishes.

They are made with 3/4” x 1 3/4” notches, ready to install on any single- or double-layer bar top at least 3/4” thick.

The BR-450 can be paired with an optional drip edge to create a sleek apron along the under edge of the bar top, as pictured below:

BR450 with optional drip edge apron - Copy



Our BR-158 bar rail is a popular choice for small bars, drink rails, or even bar seating along a wall, where the flatter profile is essential for saving space. Its gently curving front edge provides detail and interest.

The BR-158 bar rails are 1 5/8” x 2 1/2” and are easy to install on any bar top kit.



The BR-475 Chicago bar rail is a classic choice for home and commercial bars alike. Its gentle sloping front provides comfort for you and your guests while showcasing the beauty of the wood. The back features two notches, making it perfect for use on a double-layer bar.

The 4 3/4”-wide bar rail is easy to install and gives your bar a professional look and feel.



Our BR-550 Chicago bar rail features a slighter slope and wider rail for those larger bars or bars where you want to make a bold finishing statement. Like the BR-475, it features two notches for easy installation on double-layer bars.

The BR-550 is 5 1/2” wide.



The BR-650 Chicago bar rail is the widest bar rail we offer. It also boasts the cleanest, simplest profile for those bars that just want a finishing touch without being fancy.

It is 6 1/2” wide and comes with two notches on the back for easy installation on single- and double-layer bar tops.

Quality, Handcrafted Bar Building Parts

If you are looking to craft a cozy home bar to create a gathering place for your friends, or want beautiful parts for your commercial bar, Hardwoods Incorporated offers a full line of bar-building parts at affordable prices. Our quick shipping and outstanding customer support make us stand out from the other guys. Give us a call – You’ll be glad you did!

Busy making bar rail molding.

We had another productive morning in the shop making these BR 450 bar rail moldings from cherry, maple, oak and poplar. At Hardwoods Incorporated we make every bar building product we sell, we never run out of inventory and turn orders around fast for the bars across America!

Bar Top Edge Parts

Our BR 450 Bar rail moldings are made with a simple 3/4″ x 1-3/4″ notch ready to install onto any single or double layer bar top at least 3/4″ thick or thicker making completion of your bar top quick and easy.

BR450 single layer bar top profile

When using a double layer bar top, install a drip edge molding under the bar rail to cover the edge of the plywood sub-top while adding depth and dimension to the bar top edge as shown below.


Looking To Build Your Own Bar?

Check out our Bar Building Resources for all the information, soup to nuts, and our full range of bar top slabs, bar rails, bar front parts, and bar top parts to complete your dream bar!

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.


Tongue and Groove Bar Top Slabs

We’ve been busy in the shop making bar top kits and bar rail moldings for all of our customers. Pictured below is over 140 linear feet of tongue and groove main bar top kits made from poplar for a large commercial bar project in Philadelphia Pa.Bar Top PartsMain bar top kits are ready to assemble and install easily over your plywood subtop 1 piece at a time with screws from underneath, gluing only the top edge of the joints. A bar clamp may be used to close any open seams while attaching the planks. Clean any excess glue with a damp cloth, sand and now you are ready to add your matching bar rail, glass rail, and drip edge moldings (sold separately).

Want To Build Your Own Bar Top?

Check out our Bar Building Resources for more information on all of our bar top parts and how to install them.

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.



DIY Home Bars

Our customers are building fine looking home bars and occasionally they send us pictures of their work. We want to share with you several recently completed bars crafted by do-it-yourself’ers throughout the USA.

Bar Top Parts- DIY Bars

In this picture we see a nice little home bar made from American Walnut trimmed with baseboard molding, cap molding, fluted columns and a brass foot rail.The bar top features a granite tile top trimmed with a walnut Chicago style bar rail molding. Perfect for 4 bar stools and one on the end.

Get this look: Bar front fluted column & BR 475 bar rail

Bar Top Edge Parts

Here we have an L shaped home bar crafted from northern hard rock maple nicely finished with a custom radius bar rail corner. The bar base is finished with a maple veneer plywood overlaid with bar front fluted columns and trim kits. A warm medium maple stain and top coat is the finishing touch.

Get this look: Bar front fluted column & BR475-radius-corners

Dereks Bar

Here we have the perfect home bar for entertaining, a good size L shape bar with seating for 5 to 6 plus the bar tender. This bar includes a fully loaded back bar with a step up bottle display, glass storage and beer tap. The tin ceiling, wainscoting, beer signs and TV screen complete the American Pub look.

Looking To Build Your Own Bar?

Check out our Bar Building Resources where you will find all the information you need, start to finish along with our full range of bar rails, bar front parts, and bar top parts to complete your dream bar!

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.

Traditional wood bar arm rest molding with cropped corners.

When building a home or commercial bar of any size or shape at some point in the process you will need to decide how to deal with the corner or corners of the bar rail molding. The standard option for navigating turns in bar rail molding is the simple 90 degree mitered corner. Although this option may be a fast and easy way to make the corner it can result in a somewhat sharp edge at the very tip of the miter that can be a little tough on your guests. There is another option.  How about taking the edge off your bar rail with a cropped corner? Pictured below is our BR475 Bar rail molding cut with a 45 degree insert as a softer alternative to the standard 90 degree mitered corner.

45 Degree Bar Rail Corner

The cropped corner is accomplished by first cutting 1-1/2″ to 2″ off the corner of the bar top on a 45 degree angle and then mitering the three bar rail molding pieces around the corner. If a larger cropped corner is desired you will need to cut more off the corner of bar top in step one.

Looking To Build Your Own Home Bar?

Check out our Bar Building Resources for all the information you will need and our full range of bar top slabs, bar rails, bar front parts, and bar top parts to complete your dream bar!

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.

Our 10 Favorite Home Bars on Houzz

Houzz is one of the best places on the internet to get home project and design ideas. You can search by a whole host of options, including color, material type, style, and budget. For anyone looking for some home bar design inspiration, here are 10 of our favorites found on Houzz:

Minnetrista Basement

DIY Home Bars

We love the gorgeous, dark wood used on this bar, which the designer says is knotty alder. The deep, rich finish of the bar contrasts with the light-colored carpeting and quartzite flooring to make this bar feel cozy without being cramped.

Get this look: Bar front fluted column & BR 475 bar rail

Trophy Room

Home Bars

The high ceilings, bar front inlays, the custom map inlay on the ceiling – What’s not to love about this home bar? And the compass inlay in the wood floor adds an extra-special custom touch to this room. Check out all the other photos on this project to see how the whole room came together.

Get this look: Hardwood bar top slab in curly red oak

Texas-Style Mediterranean

DIY Home Bar Parts

This is such a fantastic use of a small space to carve out a unique home feature. Collecting all your wine corks in a beautiful vase is a great way to keep memories of the fun and good times you’ve had at your home bar.

Get this look: Bar front trim kit

Mr. Shrinivas Residence

DIY Home Bar Parts

This modern, minimalist home bar would fit in with a mid-century modern home just as well as an ultra-sleek contemporary design. We love the lighted columns on either side of the bar top to add a warm, inviting glow.

Get this look: BR 158 bar rail

Basement Remodel

DIY Home Bar Parts

What goes better when your favorite drink but a tasty snack? Our favorite part of this home bar is the glass-front snack drawers, so you always know what you have in stock. There’s also plenty of cabinet space behind the bar to store everything you need for entertaining.

Get this look: Inside edge trim

Montana Family Compound

DIY Home Bar Parts

The unique, natural slab shape of this bar top gives this home bar the feel of an old British pub. And we can’t get over how amazing the flagstones on the walls look in this small space.

Get this look: Natural edge bar top slab

Minnesota Residence

DIY Home Bar Parts

The paint colors and sleek lines on this home bar give a contemporary feel to a traditional bar design. The unique wall sconces and custom bar stools really put this one over the top!

Get this look: Bar foot rail kit

Log Cabin Awesome

DIY Home Bar Parts

This large home bar would have plenty of room for all your friends! We especially love all the display shelves for showing off your favorite glasses and knick knacks.

Get this look: Bar top kit

Elegant English Country Home

DIY Home Bar Parts

This bar really gives the feel of having a true Irish pub in the basement. The carved leprechauns inlaid in the back wall are a truly unique touch that we can’t resist.

Get this look: Edge trim molding

Lakeview Renovation

DIY Home Bar parts

The high ceilings and natural lighting make the dark wood of this bar feel warm and inviting instead of overwhelming. Check out all the other photos of this project to see some amazing extra features!

Get this look: BR 550 bar rail

Looking To Build Your Own Bar?

Check out our Bar Building Resources for all the information, soup to nuts, and our full range of bar top slabs, bar rails, bar front parts, and bar top parts to complete your dream bar!