13 January 2012

our local bar

Last year, Chris built us a home bar. A gorgeous, from scratch, lovingly-designed and created mini-bar. I am obsessed with it. It was a labor of love that was constructed in the middle of our tiny living room, in the beautiful park across the street, in the back shop at Chris' work and in his parents' backyard up north. He sketched out several design iterations, settling on this one that fits so perfectly in our apartment but is versatile enough to follow us to wherever our next move brings us.

The bar holds four bottles of wine, two shelves of spirits, four wine glasses and a drawerful of bottle openers, cocktail napkins, coasters and knick-knacks. It's nestled in between our couch and our stereo in our living room.

Chris built the bar so that it houses our mini-fridge. We store extra drinks in there (beer, kombucha, seltzer, mixers) and between the fancy bar and the fridge cover, we are somehow able to pass it off as age-appropriate and, dare I say, classy?

Most of the bar is made from white pine, including the bar top that Chris bought as a natural cut from a nearby lumber yard. He spent a lot of time squaring it off and cleaning it up because, in his words, "it was a freakin' mess." The drawer and side inlays are maple.

There are no screws, nails or brackets of any kind in the bar. Just wood and some wood glue. In fact, the only metal in the bar is on the drawer knob, which he found at a salvage store. Once it was constructed, we (yes, I actually helped a little bit) painted it and stained the trim and bar top.

I can't believe I waited so long to show this off to you! It's been finished for a good six months at least, and every day I look at it and am blown away by it. I wouldn't even know where to start if someone told me to build a bar. I'd probably see if there was some sort of kit I could buy and even then I'd still be completely overwhelmed and clueless. Fortunately I'm with someone who is not only a talented designer, but can actually figure out how to build his designs. Neat-o. There are old-school cocktail parties in our future, for sure.


  1. Wow!! That is a thing of beauty. Is he for hire??

  2. Dude! You can build us a juice bar anytime!

  3. Looking good!
    So what time is happy hour and what's the next project going to be?

  4. beauteous. the finished product is impressive!

  5. This is truly one of the most amazing pieces of furniture I've ever seen and a personal favorite!

  6. We've got a nice piece of rough cut spruce left over from last summers upgrade of our garden beads. It would make a great stool or side table for this one of a kind piece!

  7. ophs, that would be garden beds :)

  8. That's a pretty nice selection of spirits and liqueurs. It's heartwarming to see two gins. With a limited selection it is interesting to see a bottle of tequila instead of something more versatile like rum or brandy.

    Having looked over your bar, I notice you need a couple of tools.

    1) A proper cork screw. That rabbit thing is quick and easy, but it has no finesse. The newer designs of the classic waiter's cork screw are easy to use, and prove to the world you can open a bottle of wine without an overly engineered tool.

    2) A Boston shaker. Really this just means getting a tempered pint glass and strainer to use with your existing mixing tin. There is a reason almost every bar uses them instead of those "classic" aluminum top jobs that look nice on a counter, but are difficult to reload.

    More importantly, I'm hoping that I can convince you to make a slight adjustment to your bar. Remove the fridge and use the space for extra wine racks.

    Primarily because heat rises. While wine bottles aren't nearly as sensitive as most people suspect, storing them over a fridge is one of the worst places you can put them.

    Secondarily because it makes sense to keep more wine on hand anyway.

    Who can argue against more wine?

  9. I like tequila.

    1)I'm unconcerned about proving anything to the world.

    2)I usually mix my drinks with my pointer finger. Sometimes I lick my finger and then mix it again if I'm not convinced it's perfectly blended.

    I'd rather have all that room in the mini-fridge for beer than have more room for wine. If needed, I'll just keep a box of wine on the bar top and avoid any temperature issues...

    A beautiful bar though, no?

  10. You know, one sees two cocktail shakers at the top of a bar, and one starts to make assumptions. Bad on me. I should have known if you were mixing drinks more often with them, they shakers would be closer to the work surface.

    I mix drinks with my finger too. In fact, I have a great technique. Maybe one day, I'll share it.

    While you may have nothing to prove to the world, I'm guessing you still wear lace up tennis shoes and not velcro. That wine opener is the velcro of the wine world. It is. We're talking about life skills here, like being able to make popcorn without using a microwave. This argument should appeal to you. ;^)

    A box of wine would be a splendid idea. They aren't shipping quite yet to our neck of the woods, but one day they will. In the meantime, just to tease you a bit, here's the site for the best box wine I have found:

    Their chiller cask is pretty snazzy too. And it would look stunning on that beautiful bar.


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