10 Home Bar Concepts You Can Build This Weekend

If you've got an afternoon, a power drill, and a resilient spirit that's not afraid of gluing your fingers together, you can tackle these 10 projects and start boozing like a pro.
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Credit: Cole Saladino/Supercompressor

Okay, so maybe you're a few years away from a custom-designed wet bar fit for the Playboy Mansion (but you can still improve your kitchen with these IKEA hacks). But that doesn't mean you can't upgrade your pad with some creative home bar designs fit for Hef himself. If you've got an afternoon, a power drill, and a resilient spirit that's not afraid of gluing your fingers together, you can tackle these 10 projects and start boozing like a pro.

Bookshelf bar
Adding legs to a bookshelf dresses up a standard piece of furniture, and gives you plenty of room to openly display your items, so a glass is always in reach.

Hidden compartment coffee table
If you like to stash your booze with a little secrecy, this living room centerpiece has an array of fold-out cabinets that supply both storage and presentation spaces (much like these space-saving furniture hacks). Buy one like it, or learn how to build your own.

Concrete crate bar
A coat of paint, wooden pallets, and some concrete bricks are a timeless outdoor solution for a backyard that's short on space. This cheap and narrow solution has a rugged farmhouse look you can enjoy all summer long.

The Murphy bar
The tipsier cousin of the Murphy bed, this wall-mounted, fold-out bar is ideal for outdoor elements, since its collapsible surface allows for complete closure of the unit.

Mixologist's kitchen island
If your cocktails air on the creative side, this island with a swing-out compartment for a trash can will make reaming lemons and gathering garnishes a cinch. Just prep, toss, and serve. Buy one like it or build your own.

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Like one of our Facebook fans said, “Most home bartenders overlook the extreme importance of accuracy when it comes to making drinks at home.” And we agree. Proper proportions can make or break a drink. So be sure you’ve got this simple tool in your home bar—we recommend owning two: a one-ounce/two-ounce size and a half-ounce/three-quarter-ounce size—to make sure you’re making the perfect drink every time. Try this:Cocktail Kingdom’s Japanese-Style Jigger
Quality Ice
Often the most convenient ice comes in the form of tiny half-melted cubes from a bag you bought at the gas station. They will make your drink colder, but sometimes that just won’t cut it. As long as you invest in a couple of good ice cube trays, you can make cocktail bar-worthy cubes in your own freezer. Try this: Tovolo Perfect Cube Trays and Sphere Ice Molds
Summer’s on its way: Time for Mojitos and Mint Juleps at home. Sure, you could smash and clang using the back of a spoon. But the best way to extract oils and flavor from mint leaves—and other herbs or even fruit—is with a sturdy muddler. With most fruit, you should use it like a nonna wields a mortar when making pesto, but be a bit more gentle with herbs and citrus peels, which can become bitter if over-muddled.Try this:Oxo Steel Muddler
Two-Piece Shaker
Shaking a drink when it’s called for not only chills the cocktail properly, but also ensures proper dilution and aeration. Delicious proof: There’s no way to make a proper Ramos Gin Fizz without one. Buy a two-piece shaker and a separate strainer like the pros do. These are effortless to clean, easier to open after shaking and don't become clogged with bits of fruit or herbs. Try this:3-Piece Bar Cocktail Shaker Kit
Pour Spouts
This bartender essential was one of the most mentioned by Facebook fans when we asked what home mixologists were missing. If you have a jigger for accurate measurement, pour spouts are definitely easy to go without, but they do help ensure that you don’t spill any of your precious booze, and they’re dirt-cheap. Try this:Speed Jet Liquor Pourer
Good Garnishes
Neon-colored “cherries” that taste like Jolly Ranchers can only get you so far. When garnishing a homemade concoction, be sure to use fresh fruit and high-quality cherries and onions (you can even try making your own). Try this:Luxardo Maraschino Cherries
Bar Spoon
No matter if you’re stirring a Manhattan or Martini, or floating wine atop a New York Sour, you’ll need a long-handled bar spoon. (And no, your typical tea spoon won’t cut it—too short and too wide). Go double-duty by choosing a spoon with fork-like tines on the handle end, which makes spearing cherries or olives out of the jar a breeze. Try this:Trident Barspoon
Fresh fruit juice is imperative to dozens, if not hundreds, of cocktails. Whether it’s lemon for Whiskey Sours, lime for Gimlets, orange for Blood and Sands or even pomegranates for homemade grenadine, squeezing your own juice will make a noticeable difference to your homemade drinks. Go with the largest-sized juicer, which can handle any size citrus, and be sure to use the right technique: The cut side of the fruit should face the holes in the juicer. Try this:Sur La Table Orange Juicer
Cocktail Books
How else are you going to know how to make all of your favorite cocktails and have hundreds of new drink recipes right at your fingertips? While our cocktail database is a great resource, there’s no replacement for a truly great cocktail book—and we’d much rather have a sticky page or two than a short-circuited computer. Try this:The PDT Cocktail Book by top mixologist and advisory board member Jim Meehan
Good Booze—Lots of It
While all of these gadgets are important for making cocktails at home, you really can’t do much without a good selection of booze. Yeah, we know, good bottles can be expensive. The good news is that not all of them are: We found nine bottles of everything from tequila to rye whiskey that are not only delicious, but also under $25. So no matter if you prefer homemade Margaritas or a well-made Old Fashioned, you can have it all without breaking the bank.