Going out to grab some beers with your friends is pretty good, but it’s not as good as entertaining your friends at your own private bar. But, to make it feel like a personal bar, you really need to make it feel like your own.
Whether your bar is in a dedicated man cave, a corner of your kitchen, or in your garage, you want to personalize it. Between DIY projects, bar accessories, wall decorations, and more, there’s more than enough on this list to help you make your bar feel like your bar.
1. DIY Man Cave Bar Top
If you’re building your own bar, you’re going to need some kind of a bar top. Commercial options are usually fairly expensive, and you’re going to have to pay someone to do the work. If you go for a wooden countertop, it will be cheap, but it won’t be nearly as durable. A good middle ground is a DIY concrete countertop.
If you decide to go for a concrete countertop, here’s what you’ll need as far as tools go:
- Tape Measure
- Tape Measure
- Chop Saw
- Table Saw
- Melamine (enough for a form, depending on the size of your bar)
- Quick Concrete (usually sold in 80lb bags)
- Liquid Nail
- Random Orbit Sander
- Concrete-Grade Sandpaper (30-320 grit)
Making a flat bar top is pretty straightforward. As long as you’re not doing any cutouts for a sink or anything like that, it’s not too involved. For this walk-through, assume you’re basically making a rectangle.
DIY Man Cave Bar Top Instructions
1) Starting off, measure whatever your bar top is going to be sitting on.
If you’re going to have people sitting at one side of this bar, you’ll want to have that edge extend about 8” off the main section of your bar. The rest of the sides, leave a ¾” overhang.
2) Once you have your measurements, use your table saw and chop saw to cut out the necessary parts for your form.
You’ll make one large rectangle the size of your final bar top. After that, cut sides that will be the edges of your form. These sides should match whatever you want the final thickness of your bar top to be. I would recommend roughly 1 ½”-2” thick for a standard mid-sized bar that is well-supported.
3) Once you have all your parts cut out, assemble the form.
Screw all the parts together, making sure there are no gaps anywhere. If there are any gaps, run a bead of caulk along the inside of the form. Check all your measurements one last time to make sure that your form’s interior matches whatever you want your final dimensions to be. Ensure your form is well-supported, flat, and level, wherever you intend to do your pour.
4) After that, mix and pour the concrete.
Follow the instructions on whatever concrete you purchased and follow them to a T. Concrete is a chemical reaction, and whatever mixture they tell you to use is the one you need to use. Pour it in your form, and make sure it is an even pour. Use a straight piece of lumber you don’t care about and drag it across the concrete to level out what you poured.
5) Let it sit for a while.
This is the kind of thing that you do on one Friday, let it sit for a week, then install the next Friday. You want to give that concrete plenty of time to cure before you try to move it.
6) Finally, it’s time to install
Run a bead of liquid nail on what you are attaching to, and set the bar top on its surface. Make any adjustments you need to as far as placement, and then let it sit for as long as the glue needs to dry.
7) Once that glue is dry, up next is the surface prep.
There will be some small holes you can fill with epoxy or other concrete-grade filler, or you can leave them open. That’s up to you.
8) Once you have filled the holes or let them be, grab a random-orbit sander and your concrete-grade sandpaper.
Start at a low grit, 30-60, and work your way up through 320. That will include 30, 60, 80, 120, 180, 220, and 320 grit sandpaper. You can, of course, go higher, but staying at 320 will still leave a nice finish.
And of course, when you’re sanding the bar top, WEAR A MASK WITH A FILTER. This is the dust that kills you, don’t play around with it. Pick up a high-grade mask rated for concrete dust. The mask will cost a little extra, and that is worth it. You can’t replace your lungs.
When you’re done sanding your bar top, you’re good to go! You’ll have a fantastic looking bar that you know you made yourself, and that will make your man cave really feel like yours.
2. Your Budget Man Cave Bar Seating
You’ve just spent all this time working on your nice concrete bar top, and you’re going to want to sit at it. However, looking for a nice bar stool can be pretty overwhelming. Thankfully, we already have a guide running through a whole lot of bar stools, including several excellent budget picks. If you’re interested, check it out here.
3. A Cheap Yet Sturdy Man Cave Bar
Unless your bar is suspended from the ceiling, which I find highly unlikely, it’s most likely on a cabinet. Usually, stock cabinets are fairly drab, but this next idea is a great way to spruce up the outside of your bar on the cheap.
This stuff, called tongue and groove paneling, is a great budget option for making the outside of your bar look better. You can check the price at Lowe’s here. Best of all, you can leave it natural, stain it, or paint it, and it will look great.
You’ll only need a few things to get this job done: You’ll only need a few things to get this job done:
- Chop saw
- Tape measure
- Nail gun
- Liquid nail
Budget Bar Paneling Instructions
1) You’ll start off by measuring from the floor to the underside of the bar.
Assuming your floor and bar are level, that’s the length of all your pieces. Cut your first piece, and bring it to your bar.
2) From there, measure to the center of your bar.
Line the center of your board up with your bar’s center and check to make sure it fits. Run a small bead of liquid nail down the back, and nail it to the bar. After that, cut as many pieces as you’ll need to fill the rest of the space. Run liquid nail on the back of each one, click the tongue into the groove, and nail it in.
3) Once you reach the edges of your bar, you may run into a slight problem.
The tongue and groove boards will probably not line up exactly on the edges of your bar. In that case, you have a few options. You can cut the final pieces to width on a table saw if you have one. If not, a jigsaw or circular saw, combined with a straight edge, will do the job just fine.
4) Once those final pieces are cut, you can put them on.
After that, just decide on what finish you want to use and put it on. If you only plan on doing one side, you’re good to go. If you plan on doing the other sides of your bar, just repeat the process for each side, and you’ll have an excellent-looking bar in no time.
4. Storing Alcohol For Cheap In Your Man Cave Bar
If you’re drinking beer or whiskey, you’re going to want a place to store your glasses and hard liquor. This is a perfect choice for any man cave, in a modern-rustic style with a rough sawn finish. It has more than enough room to display what you want up top, while giving you plenty of storage down below.
Better than that, it has a nifty sliding barn door that allows you to conceal one side of the cabinet. So, if you’ve got a buddy that is always trying to bring wines over, you can hide his stuff behind that barn door and enjoy the good stuff that is not wine. You can check the price here.
5. Serving Your Whiskey For Cheap
You may have some finer tastes, but you don’t want to spend like those finer tastes. That’s quite alright; this next section for you. Whether it’s your grandad’s old whiskey, a gift from a friend, or something you picked up yourself, you want to store it right and enjoy it right. Thankfully, you can get some nice things to help you enjoy your whiskey better without having to blow your budget.
The Modern Man
The Modern Man
Fancy Pacific Northwest Stuff
With one of these, you don’t ever have to. This is an excellent little silicon ice cube maker, so you can make your own fancy ice cubes. Better than that, this fancy little piece of silicon makes not one, but two types of ice cubes! So, if for some reason a square ice cube doesn’t work for you, you can go with a sphere. Why not. Check the price here.
6. Getting An Affordable Bar Fridge
Whether you want to freeze some ice cubes (or spheres) for your whiskey, or you’re normal and prefer cold beer to warm beer, you’re going to need one of these. Most of us don’t want to spend the money on a full-size refrigerator, which makes this a perfect middle ground. This is an excellent mini-fridge, and was actually my top pick for man cave mini fridges. If you’re looking for more information or want to see what my top budget pick was, check out our article on the subject here. Or you can go ahead and check the price for my top pick here.
7. Cans Can’t Do the Trick
Drinking a beer out of a can is just fine for hanging out at a football game or a party at a friend’s house. But if you’re working on some cold ones with the boys at your own personal bar, you need to up your game.
These should do the trick. Just some simple beer glasses, but they make all the difference. You go from just hanging out with your friends to a full bar experience with some of these. You pour up a beer in one of these, and you’re not just the beer guy in your friend group, you’re the bartender in your own man cave. You can check prices here.
8. Cracking Them Open
The Might Of Thor
You’ve got to get your beer open, and while I’m someone that can open it with his teeth, sometimes you don’t want to risk your dental bill. Thankfully, there is another way.
What better way to crack open your beer than with the might of Thor? This baller bottle opener, modeled after Thor’s hammer, is perfect for popping those bottle tops off for a night with the boys. And, if one of your friends is acting the fool, it doubles as a projectile so you can peg him in the head and get him to chill out.
Something A Little More Simple
If you’d rather not have the might of Thor, this is an excellent alternative. You can mount it to the wall with ease, and it has a handy little basket under the opener because it’s terribly difficult to pick up a bottle cap off the floor. More than that, it has a nice industrial design that will look great in any man cave.
9. Fill With “Art” On The Cheap
You don’t want to have a fantastic bar setup, and your walls be bland. Your space is just going to look empty, and it’s going to look like you nearly finished your man cave, and then just stopped. So, you want to put some nice things on your walls. But obviously we don’t want to go splashing out on expensive art. The good news is I have a few solutions to decorate your man cave on a budget.
Patent to Kill
You might not be feeling those barbershop posters, and that’s quite alright. An excellent alternative is these vintage-looking gun schematics. These are another option that is sure to fit in any man cave. You’ll have to pick up some 8” X10” frames, but once you have those, these will be easy to hang up. They’re a perfect choice to finish out your man cave, and they’re a fantastic choice for the everyday man and gun-lover alike. You can check the price here.
10. One Last Thing
If you’re going to be running a bar in your man cave, you’re going to need one of these. I know it’s simple, but it’s definitely not something you want to forget. This is a pretty standard garbage can, but the black finish will look great in your man cave, regardless of the style. It doesn’t have the most features that money can buy, but really, what more do you need? It holds a garbage bag, it has a lid, and it has a foot pedal. You can check the price here.
That’s All, Folks
If you’re trying to get your home bar ready to entertain, there’s more than enough on this list to have you covered. Whether you want to keep it classic, industrial, or modern, there’s something for you to help you make your man cave just how you like it. Just remember, stick with what you like and the styles you want, and you’ll have your bar feeling like your own in no time.