man cave bar

How to Build a Man Cave Bar

After scouring through this blog, and checking out all the many different man cave options open to you, you’ve decided you want your very own man cave bar, but you want it on your terms. You’re seriously thinking of building a bar from scratch, but admittedly, you’re not entirely sure what that job would entail. Well we’re here to tell you.

In this informative article, we’ll explain how to build your very own man cave bar from the ground up. Get ready to impress all your friends with an awesome bar you made completely yourself. If you are on a tight budget then be sure to read this article about building a man cave bar on a budget first.

This particular article has been deliberately keep short so that we don’t bog you down with unnecessary information. Here we offer solid information and ideas for building a bar with some instructional bar building videos.

However, we couldn’t include the building specs and guides for every idea we have added here so some of the actual physical work for creating some of the bars is covered in other articles (which are linked to at the appropriate points). If you you find an idea that resonates with you but that does not have an accompanying video just follow the link provided for a more in-depth guide to the actual building of the bar which is located on a different page on this website.

Choosing the Space for Your Homemade Bar

We’re working under the assumption that you already have a man cave where you want to build your bar. If you don’t already have a man cave, then you should start here. That article on our site will give you all the pertinent info you need to build your own personal man cave space.

Now, depending on your where you have your man cave, you will obviously want your bar to be in the same vicinity. So, before we detail how to build the bar we’ll talk a little about the ideal locations for it.

Garage

The benefits of choosing the garage for your man cave, and thus your bar, is that this is typically a large space or at least larger than spare rooms in your home. Even if you took up the majority of space in it for your man cave, or even the entirety of the garage, there will still be at least a corner or nook somewhere for the bar.

Garage man cave bars do have their drawbacks though.

Be aware that garages can get incredibly cold in the winter months, so you’ll need some form of insulation if you don’t already have it. Likewise, during the summer a garage can also act like an oven by trapping heat and humidity. Climate control is therefore a must unless you live in a very temperate climate zone.

So you may need some form of climate control, even rudimentary devices such as a standing fan and portable heater, so you can keep the temperatures where you want them whether you are socializing with friends or chilling-out on your own. You’ll therefore need a connection to electricity for running climate control devices as well as fridges, beer taps etc., that are essential for a bar.

Access to freshwater is also advisable though not entirely essential. But, after all, part of owning a bar means you need a sink for getting water and cleaning used glasses.

Basement

You may opt to set up your man cave bar down in the basement. This space isn’t all that different from the garage as it offers ample space and opportunity for completing a bar building project.

However, a basement’s hard naturally cold concrete and lack of sunlight means it needs both insulation and climate control to become a comfortable environment.

If your basement also has cosmetic damage then you’ll want to patch this up before building the bar around it. Don’t forget to call a repairperson to take care of issues like leaks, mold, and faulty pipes before you start building anything. Lose or broken concrete will be a job that you can probably successfully complete yourself.

And yes, you’ll still need electrical and freshwater connections if you’re lacking these.

In the Backyard

Ah, the great outdoors. If you’re like me then you probably can’t get enough of nature, so you may decided to lay claim to some of your yard by planting a man cave shed in it.

Depending on the size of your shed, adding a bar might not be a viable option. For instance, if your space isn’t the most sizeable, then taking up more valuable room with a bar will make the whole man cave feel even more cramped. In such cases it may be advisable to build an adjoining small “open bar” shed and use that for serving drinks instead of taking up valuable real estate inside the actual man cave.

Below is an image of a small adjoining outdoor bar.

small outdoor man cave open bar
Small outdoor man cave open bar
How to build an small outdoor bar

Indoors

If you have a spare room afforded to you and you have already transformed it into a man cave, then you can perhaps add a bar here. Again, it depends on how big of a room we’re talking about.

If you have a large room, then by all means, go wild with your bar. With a smaller space, you might want to reconsider your plan for a bar later or use one of the small bar ideas we covered here or the mini bar idea we shared here.

In a spare room you’ll almost certainly have electrical power, climate control, and insulation, but may wish to rig in some source of water if you can.

Choosing Your Materials

Okay, so you know where you’ll put your man cave bar. Now, what material should you choose for its construction?

Here’s your options, as well as some pros and cons of specific construction materials.

Wood

By far one of the cheapest and most plentifully available materials is wood. If you’re going for a rustic themed man cave, then a raw, unfinished wooden bar will really make a big splash. Constructing your bar is simple too since you only have to cut or saw down the pieces to size.

One of the easiest bars to build is one made from old pallets as we demonstrated here.

For a complete guide to building your man cave bar from wood go here.

However, for some man cavers, wood just doesn’t have that je ne sais quoi. Also, if you don’t seal or stain the wood, it will warp and soften if you get it wet too often.

Granite or concrete

If it’s looks you’re after, a granite top has it in spades. This appealing bar material will last for years and make a major impression on all your friends and other visitors.

Granite is tougher than wood, so you don’t have to worry about it warping if it gets wet. That said, it can become sticky if you spill too many beers.

The downside of granite? It’s incredibly, almost stupidly, expensive. You’ll have to have a significant budget for your home bar if you want it made of granite.

A much cheaper option is concrete.

Concrete is easy to work with and a concrete bar countertop looks just as impressive as granite. It is also relatively easy to make as demonstrated in the video below.

How to build a concrete bar top

Galvanized Steel

A galvanized steel bar has an industrial style that some man cavers might seek out. The process of galvanization involves covering the metal with a coating of zinc. This keeps it from rusting.

Steel doesn’t require much maintenance, it lasts for a long while, and you don’t need to apply a finish or paint to it. It’s also very cheap. For each square foot, you might pay $1 or under.

So galvanized steel is pretty much perfect, until you have to start welding the pieces together to make your own bar. That could be a pretty tricky job.

Stone

You might also consider a stone bar for your man cave. You can choose from either natural stone or manufactured stone. The former has less of a uniform look since it occurs in nature, but that could lend your man cave a unique charm.

Stone also gives you the stability you get with granite as well as the appeal but for not quite the same price.

Installing a stone man cave bar will take quite some time and could be a tough project if you’ve never done anything of the sort before. If you do decide to go in that direction then be sure to watch the video below.

How to build your own stone bar

Building Your Bar

If you are stuck for man cave bar ideas be sure to check out this article which has many different bar types from large to small suited to all different types of man cave.

Once you have a solid idea of the type of bar you want the actual building of it is the easy part!

Bar height

No matter where you choose to keep your man cave bar, you will want to erect a bar counter that’s 42″ tall, or as close to it as you can get, as this is the standard height of most bars.

If you go shorter than 42″, you’ll have a difficult time finding bar stools that will offer a comfortable experience to your bar patrons. Keeping your bar at a standard height will offer you a wealth of choices when it comes to bar stools like the ones we covered here.

Building a bar that’s taller than 42″ means you’d have to shop for specialty stools. That’s time-consuming, not to mention more expensive and it seriously reduces your choices.

Foot rail

If you opt to add a built-in foot rail to your bar, you need to put this seven to nine inches from the floor.

A bar ledge also works in place of a foot rail. An 8 foot brass or stainless steel foot railing, like this one, costs around $200 while a hardwood one, like this beauty made from red oak is considerably cheaper.

Instructions for adding a foot rail are in the video below.

How to add a foot rail

How to Build a Bar Top

The materials we listed before are for the bar itself, but you still need a bar top. This is where you slide drinks to your pals and kick back and keep a cold one yourself. Most people choose wood for the bar top material, but you may also use granite or stone a we already outlined if that’s within your budget.

It’s crucial for your bar top to have a width of 16″ to 20″. If you add bar molding, calculate that into the width as well.

What is bar molding?

It’s a raised edge or lip that lets guests rest their arms and contains any drink spills so the liquid doesn’t run down the front of the bar into your lap. Like a few things we covered, it’s not a necessity, but something you may want.

If you designed your home bar with curves instead of edges, you can get molding to match. Just be prepared to spend, as it costs about $150 for radius corner molding alone. If you’d rather get some corner work done for less, go for mitered corners.

Below is a video showing you how to make a bar countertop but we have detailed instructions for building a bar countertop here which also includes some really neat ideas such as a bar that is made from an old vehicle husk.

How to build a small bar from scratch

Additional materials

Below are the additional things you will need to turn your man cave bar into a fully functional liquor stop.

Bar stools

We have already mentioned bar stools and linked to our bar stool guide on finding and choosing the best ones for your man cave bar. But there’s more to consider than just the seating!

As you design and build your bar, you will want to consider the distance of the stools. The rule of thumb is that each stool should be separated from the next stool by at least two feet of space. This prevents your guests from practically sitting on top of each other.

However, be aware that the two feet “rule” has been used traditionally to allow a bar owner to place more seats at the bar to service more customers. As your bar is not a commercial enterprise you may want to give your guests more space.

Drink rail

If you have a bit of leftover money in your budget, then you may want to add a drink rail. When pouring drinks, you’d do so here.

A drink rail isn’t just functional it can also help to make your bar look flashy but isn’t mandatory in the slightest.

Taps and kegerators

Do you want to have access to your very own alcohol via a tap? It is possible. Installing your own tap system can be expensive though. Luckily there are alternatives available.

Smaller kegs of about five gallons will suffice for home bar owners, even if your friends drink a lot. These last for up to two months, so you should get plenty out of them.

Going the homemade tap route does require maintenance. On a six-week basis, you’ll have to go behind the scenes of your tap system, using a cleaning solution to flush the pipes. It doesn’t take long to do this, typically under 30 minutes, but it is a commitment you’ll have to make.

Again, a tap isn’t mandatory by any means, but it sure does make your home bar feel that much more official.

A much cheaper, but equally as functional, option is to use a kegerator, like this one. A kegerator requires only electricity to work and offers you draft beer on tap.

Another really neat thing to have in your man cave bar is this stainless steel mini Kegerator kit which is a mini version of the full-sized kegerator and is perfect for small a man cave bar. It also looks super cool.

Fridge

As well as having cold beer on tap you will need at least one fridge for storing bottled alcohol and soft drinks.

We have an entire section on man cave fridges that is worth a read, though most of those fridges are more themed items.

For a functional man cave bar you will want to opt for a more functional fridge such as this 36 bottle cooler or this larger model if you need more cold storage space.

Decor

Getting the decor right in your man cave bar is such a huge topic that we dedicated an entire page to it here.