Bar – Corner

Owning your own in-house bar makes a statement about you. The bar shown here is sleekly styled and smartly laid out for the efficient barkeeper. A small refrigerator gives you access to cold drinks and ice while convenient cabinets create excellent storage spots for party favors. While this is a “dry bar” (no plumbing), the design could be modified in any number of ways to add running water if you wish. All you need to get the party started is a GFCI electrical outlet and the proper floor space.

This compact corner bar design features glossy black MDF aprons with decorative cherry appliqués forming a horizontal grid pattern on the aprons. A cherry plywood bar top sits atop a 2 × 6 L-shaped knee-wall, harboring some practical amenities on the bartender side. A flip-up lift gate in the bar top on one end provides pass-through access and can even function as a wait station if you want to get really fancy in your hosting. The key components— base cabinets, a laminate counter top, the fridge, and the wood for a sleek Asian inspired style trim-out—set the stage for your next gathering. Let’s party!



Step 1: Cut the 2 x 6 Sill Plates to Length (68″)

Anchor the sill plates for the knee-walls to the floor so they form a right angle at the corner where they meet. Use 16d common nails or screws and panel adhesive for a wood floor; use a powder-actuated nailer on a concrete floor.

Step 2: Attach the End Stud Against the Back Wall

Use panel adhesive and deck screws to attach the end knee-wall stud to the back wall, attaching at a stud location. If there’s no stud, open the wall and insert a horizontal nailer between the nearest studs.

Step 3: Make the Stud Wall Corner

Use 16d common nails to toe-nail the corner studs to the sill plates. Use a level to make sure the studs are vertical.

Step 4: Cut Cap Plates the Same Size as the Sill Plates

Complete the framing for the L-shaped knee-wall section. For extra strength, drive a few 3″ deck screws through the studs where they meet at the corner.

Step 5: Make the Aprons and Trim

Rip two sheets of 1/2″ MDF to 40 1/2″ wide and trim them to length to make the bar front panels. Sand edges to remove any saw marks. For the smoothest possible finish, spray the front apron panels with an HVLP sprayer. Apply the paint or lacquer over primer, in thin coats.

Step 6: Prepare Hardwood Stock

Prepare at least 80 lineal feet of 3/4 × 11/2″ hardwood stock to trim out the aprons and edges of the bar-top.

Step 7: Apply a Clear Protective Wood Finish

For efficiency, apply a protective finish to the cherry apron trim stock. Dab some finish on the cut ends after you cut each trim piece to length.

Step 8: Apply Panel Adhesive to the Knee-wall Studs

Apply panel adhesive to the knee-wall studs to strengthen the bond with the black aprons. Slip a 1/4-thick spacer beneath each apron to create a gap between the panel and the floor.

Step 9: Attach the Aprons

Attach the aprons with a pneumatic nailer and 2 1/2″ Finish Nails Nail the apron panels to the wall studs at 8″ to 12″ intervals.

Step 10: Cut 16″ Wide Strips of 1/2″-Thick Cement Boards

Attach cement board strips to the edges of the knee-wall framing members as a backer for the backsplash area.

Step 11: Install the Wall Tile

Install the inside wall covering before you cap the wall. We used inexpensive 4 x 4″ ceramic wall tile set into a layer of thin-set adhesive that’s troweled onto the cement board.

Step 12: Bond the Particleboard Sub-base

Bond the particleboard sub-base directly to the top plates of the knee-walls, taking care to achieve even overhangs of 6″ in front and 4″ on the bartender side of the walls.

Step 13: Secure the Sub-base to the Walls

Drive plenty of 2″ deck screws to secure the sub-base to the walls. The screw heads must be sunk beneath the wood surface.

Step 14: Use a Circular Saw to Cut the Bartop

Make 45-degree miter cuts in the bartop top layer using a circular saw and cutting guide.

Step 15: Laminate With Panel Adhesives

Laminate the top layer of cherry plywood to the sub-base with panel adhesives and 1 1/4″ screws driven up through the sub-base.

Step 16: Cut Parts to Length + Attach them to the Edges of the Bar top

Cut a round-over profile in one edge of the cherry edging stock and then cut the parts to length and attach them to the edges of the bartop with nails and glue.

Step 17: Square-Cut a piece of 1 × 2 Edging

Square-cut a piece of 1 × 2 edging to fit exactly between the ends of the round-over edging, and nail and glue it into place.

Step 18: Nail the End Panel to the Wall

Nail the cherry end panel to the wall end to conceal the stud wall and the edges of the wall coverings and trim.

Step 19: Attach a 1 x 2 Stop Block to the Wall

Attach a 1 × 2 stop block for the lift gate to the wall directly above the wall-mounted end panel.

Step 20: Attach the Piano Hinge

Attach the piano hinge to the lift gate section of the countertop first, then attach the other leaf to the countertop.

Step 21: Attach the Lift Gate

Attach the lift gate to the countertop and test to make sure it operates smoothly and correctly.

Step 22: Create a Ladder Grid Pattern

Add the decorative cherry strips in a ladder grid pattern, using an air nailer. Start with the vertical strips, then cut the horizontals to fit.

Step 23: Attach a Countertop to the Base Cabinets

Attach a countertop to the base cabinets to create an easy-to-clean work surface for the bartender.

Step 24: Add a Refrigerator or Appliance of Your Choice (OPTIONAL)

Slide in a refrigerator, or any appliance you choose.
The original plan can be found at


Bar Cabinet


  • A – Frame – 7 pieces of 1×3 lumber – 2 pieces @ 56″ long, 5 pieces @ 17 1/4″ long
  • B – Base – 1 piece of 3/4″ plywood – 18 3/4″ x 56″ long
  • C – Sides – 4 pieces of 3/4″ plywood – 16″ x 28 1/2″ long
  • D – Face – 1 piece of 3/4″ plywood – 34 1/2″ x 54″ long
  • E – Shelves – 2 pieces of 3/4″ plywood – 16″ x 16″ long
  • F – Countertop – 2 pieces of 3/4″ plywood – 20 1/4″ x 57 1/2″ long
  • G – Supports – 8 pieces of 1×8 lumber – 4 pieces @ 19″ long, 4 pieces @ 11 1/2″ long


The first step of the woodworking project is to build the base of the bar. As you can easily notice in the plans, we recommend you to build the components out of 1×3 lumber. Cut the components at the right size and lock them together with galvanized screws. Drill pocket holes at both ends of the short slats and secure them to the rim components using 1 1/4″ screws.

Cut a piece of 3/4″ plywood at the right size and attach it over the frame. Drill pilot holes and secure it into place with 1 1/4″ galvanized screws. Make sure there are no gaps between the plywood and the frame and check if the edges are flush.

Continue the project by attaching the sides and the partitions of the bar to the base. Drill pocket holes at both ends, take accurate measurements and lock the plywood pieces to the base with galvanized screws. Add waterproof glue to the joints and make sure the corners are right-angled.

Add the face of the bar to the frame, as described in the diagram. Drill pocket holes along the side edges of the vertical partitions and secure them to the face with 1 1/4″ screws. Align the components with great care and make sure the edges are flush. Add glue to enhance the rigidity of the joints.

Fit 1×3 supports to the top of the frame, as shown in the image. Drill pocket holes at both ends of the supports, align them with great care and lock them to the frame with 1 1/4″ screws. Add waterproof glue to the joints and remove the excess with a damp cloth.

Cut two pieces of 3/4″ plywood at the dimensions highlighted in the diagram and secure them to the frame with 1 1/4″ screws, after drilling pocket holes along the side edges. Take accurate measurements, otherwise the shelves won’t be horizontal.

Building the countertop for the bar is a straight forward process. In order to enhance the look of the project, we recommend you to glue two pieces of 3/4″ plywood together. Clamp the pieces of plywood tightly, in order to create a proper bong between them. Lay the countertop on a level surface and center the frame of the bar as in the image. Insert the 1 1/4″ screws through the pilot holes drilled in the frame of the bar, into the countertop.

The next step of the project is to build the bottle supports. Cut the four pieces of 1×8 lumber at 19″ and use a 4″ hole saw to make the round cuts. Afterwards, split the slats into half along the cut line and smooth the edges with sandpaper.

Secure the supports to two pieces of 1×8 lumber. Drill pocket holes to both sides of the supports and secure them to the supports.

Fit the wine bottle supports into place and secure them to the partitions with 1 1/4″ screws. You could adjust the height at which you place the supports in order to get a professional result.

One of the last steps of the project is to attach the trims to the base and to the top of the bar. Cut both ends of the trims at 45 degrees and secure them to the framing with 1 1/4″ finishing nails. Work with attention and add glue to enhance the bond of the trims to the bar.

Last but not least, we recommend you to take care of the finishing touches. Fill the holes with wood filler and let it to dry out for several hours. Afterwards, smooth the wooden surface with fine-grit sandpaper and vacuum the residues.

Smart Tip: Apply several coats of stain or paint to the wooden components, if you want to protect them from decay and to enhance the look of the bar.

The original plan can be found at


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