I have gotten a lot of ideas from The Family Handyman over the years, so it was ironic that we were almost finished with our bar when I got the September 2012 issue, which showed how to build a home bar. I was glad to see that most of our measurements were right on. I thought you might be interested in some of the things that we did to individualize our bar. My husband is a reserve firefighter, so the bar is heavily themed in that area.
The bar front is wrapped in fire hose. The hoses were power-washed and cut into sections. We then lapped them like siding and screwed them to the bar frame. Under the bar top we ran rope lights to highlight the hose.
The lights above the bar are actual oxygen tanks that the department was no longer using. We cut the bottom off of the tanks, painted the inside silver and retrofitted them with light kits to take LED bulbs. We then hung them from angle iron bolted to the floor joists above, with the rods running through the drop ceiling and camouflaged with washers.
The bar top is made with sections of bowling alley lanes. It was hard to work with since it is over 2 in. thick and filled with nails, but it turned out great. It is trimmed with oak trim.
In the cabinets behind the bar we didn’t want to entirely lose the only drawer, so it is cut shallow, and a vessel sink is installed on top of the countertop. Our liquor cabinet is an antique icebox. To raise it higher, we used leftover bowling lanes to build a platform.
Our bar is quite distinctive and a real conversation piece, especially with other firefighters. I thought you might be interested in seeing a few photos. — Janet Emge