Man Cave Bar
Every guy wants to have a retreat, a place at hand where they can escape from the routine, the mundane, and the world. Thus: the man cave—a personalized sanctuary where you can indulge your pleasures, your pastimes, and your hobbies without interference or intrusions. Maybe your man cave is in the basement or attic. Maybe it is in a converted garage or shed.
No matter where your special retreat is located, though, one of the things that makes it perfect is having close at hand all the things you need for a good time. This might mean an entertainment center, or couches, plush chairs, and other comfortable seating, or gaming equipment such as video game systems, pool tables, dart boards, and the like.
But one of the most common, and frequently used, features of any man cave is the bar.
Having a well-stocked bar in your man cave ensures that you and your guests can kick back, unwind, and enjoy a tasty beverage. Whether your tastes are for a cold beer, a stiff drink, or a glass of wine, there are a wide range of designs, supplies, and accessories to help you make your vision into a reality.
Man Cave Mini Bar
If you are on a tight budget, or are pressed for space, something as simple as a mini bar is a great solution.
Mini bars can be purchased from most home supply, appliance, or furniture stores for $200 to $400. They can be quickly and easily installed and placed almost anywhere. The mini bar only needs a power outlet nearby; no other special installation is required.
While a mini bar is limited in size and will not allow you to stock a wide range of beverage options, its convenience makes it a popular choice for small and medium-sized man caves.
Bars for Garage Man Caves
Building a bar in a garage man cave usually means you will have a substantial amount of space with which to work. This will allow you to develop a more expansive and elaborate plan.
A bar in a garage man cave should have ample seating and a service area that could be a full-sized counter. Be sure to include plenty of shelving and appropriate lighting (most garages will require the addition of more lighting). Also be sure that the envelope of the structure is well sealed: pests that can get into most garages are the kinds of critters that really like bar snacks!
Also ensure that the space is properly ventilated and cooled; garages can get very hot in the summer and cold in the winter because they are usually not designed as living spaces.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges about building a bar in a garage is incorporating running water for a sink or dish- or glass-washer. Most garages are not plumbed, and they are often on a concrete slab foundation that makes running pipes difficult. If you decide that having running water is important, you will need to hire a professional plumber to set it up.
Bars for Basement Man Caves
In many ways, the basement is an ideal spot for a bar in a man cave. As part of the house itself, the basement is likely to have plenty of power, access to plumbing, and be relatively well insulated. Many also have separate entrances from the outside of the house. The basement is really the best place for a man cave of any kind, which is why it is the most popular place for these retreats—and the bars that typically serve as their centerpieces.
Building a bar in a basement can be challenging, however, if there are structural elements and loading-bearing walls that must be worked around. Make sure that you consider any potential safety concerns as you design and build—such as ensuring you do not block emergency exits or hang things from pipes or wires.
Despite these challenges, however, the basement is well suited for a man cave bar. The separation from the rest of the house, both physically and acoustically, makes it a good spot for your retreat, while still providing ease of access to important rooms upstairs, such as the kitchen and bathroom.
Basements tend to be fairly flexible spaces, used mostly just for storage, so developing a plan to move things around to make room for your bar can be a straightforward process. They also tend to be raw spaces, so incorporating new lighting, flooring, wallboards, and decorations is often easy as well.
Man Cave Bar Ideas
There are lots of ideas to help you build a bar that is just right for your space and for your particular needs. For example, if you want the bar to be a peripheral part of the man cave and not a centerpiece, you can tuck it away in a corner. Alternatively, if the bar is going to be a main gathering place while you are in the man cave, consider setting it in a central location and then designing the layout of the rest of the space around it.
Giving your man cave bar a distinctive feel might require substantive planning and construction, but it can also often be easily accomplished with some simple adjustments to decorations and furnishings. Here are some examples of themes or design concepts that you might adopt.
Decorate the space with sports collectibles, paraphernalia, and memorabilia from your favorite teams. Include a comfortable seating area and large screen television or a projector and projection screen so you can catch the game while having a drink. Or, if you prefer, set up a bank of smaller television screens set to mute so you and your friends can keep up with multiple sports at once. Include a beer fridge, kegerator, or taps to have a cold brew with the game.
Surround your bar with wood, earth tone colors, and leather, and decorate the walls with the hunting trophies you are proudest of. Creating the atmosphere of a hunting lodge or cabin can evoke your favorite memories of the wilderness. Pour a cold beer or enjoy a relaxing scotch as you regale your friends with your (more or less true) stories about hunts past.
Plush seating, thick carpets, dim lighting, book-lined shelves, fine art—there are lots of touches that you can include to give your bar a sophisticated feel. For some, luxury is signaled by opulence, but for others, it is signaled by sleek, sophisticated, and modern or retro sparseness. Whichever is your style, you can make your man cave bar into a place of sophistication by paying attention to the small details, such as lighting fixtures, décor, and paint. Having an exposed wine rack is a great way to showcase your refinement.
Man Cave Bar Plans
Building a bar in your man cave requires foresight and planning, particularly if it will involve a substantial investment of time and money or if it will be a central part of your man cave design.
You should begin by coming up with clear answers to three important questions: What is the purpose and importance of the bar space? What is the kind of existing space that you have to work with? And what is the budget that you have set for the project?
The questions of purpose, space, and budget are essential because both together will determine layout, seating, size, stock, and so forth. For example, will you need cabinetry, drawers, plumbing, and such for a full bar? Will you have snacks? What kind, and where will they be stored and served? Will you need appliances, such as a refrigerator, mini bar, wine cooler, or dishwasher?
Also consider how the space will operate. How much storage space do you need for glasses, and for what kind of glasses? Will your glasses be on hanging racks or shelves? How much seating will you need? Barstools, chairs, benches, or a combination? Will the seating be all at the bar, or will you have a separate table area? What kind of lighting do you want and where will it be positioned? What kind of sound system, if any, will you install?
What kind of material will the bar and furniture require? Is it mostly wood and, if so, of what kind? Will you use brass fixtures? Steel? What about glass or stained-glass accents? Are you putting in a carpet?
Establishing a budget can help you set realistic expectations about what you can reasonably do in the space. A modest $300 to $500 can get you a decent mini bar and seating area, while investing a more substantial $4,000 to $6,000 can result in a full bar with plumbing, fine furnishings, and quality decorations. Remember that building the bar is just one cost: you should also prepare an operating budget that reflects the kinds of drinks you will be stocking and how often you will need to restock, along with other consumables such as napkins, mixers, snacks, garnishes, and so forth.
Man Cave Bar Materials and Equipment
Here are just a few of the materials and equipment you will need to consider for your bar.
You want to select lighting fixtures and placement that will best fit your bar’s style and theme. There are many options from which to choose, such as neon bar lights, track lighting, lantern fixtures, flicker bulbs, string lights, and floor lamps. Avoid up-lighting or lighting positioned in such a way that it will shine in someone’s face while they are at the bar or in a seating area, or that will cause glare on any television screens.
The decorations in your man cave bar should fit the style and theme of the space, but they should also be chosen to speak to your particular interests, hobbies, and preferences. Try to ensure consistently of style and color, as well as theme, to give the space a unified feel. Avoid clutter; try to organize any surfaces or walls so that they are centered around just one or two particular items.
There are a wide variety of fridges, in different shapes and sizes, so be sure to choose one that fits your space and style, and has enough capacity to hold what you need. Consider compact under-counter fridges if you have limited space. There are also horizontal fridges, standing fridges, chest fridges, and even disguised fridges that look like other pieces of furniture or that can be built into the wall. Choose the finish—stainless steel, glass, vinyl wood, etc.—that best fits the décor of your space and sends a message about your space. A clear glass door, for example, is a great way to display the variety of drinks you have on hand.
Kegerators are specialized refrigerators designed to store and dispense liquid—usually beer, but also sometimes wines or other beverages. They use refrigeration and carbon dioxide to pressurize the contents and keep them carbonated and fresh, and have a tap opening on the top for serving the liquid. There are lots of different models available, in a variety of sizes, and they can be easily built into spaces underneath the bar counter.
Back bar coolers
These long cabinets provide cooling for canned and bottled beverages without taking up much space. They are often positioned under the bar counter itself. Their sliding doors are particularly convenient because they don’t swing out and so are a compact solution for a man cave bar’s refrigeration needs.
If having a frosty beer is essential to your vision of the perfect man cave, investing in a beer froster is the way to go. This unit drops the temperature to a freezing 23-degrees Fahrenheit, causing water condensation to freeze on the exterior of cans, bottles, steins, or glasses, giving them a frosty finish. All that cold comes at a cost, though: beer frosters can eat up a lot of energy.