How to make a portable bar

Updated February 21, 2017

A home bar is a wonderful thing to have if you entertain frequently. Many people prefer to keep their bars portable to increase their location options. There are a variety of portable bars available to purchase, many of which cost a great deal of money. It is far less expensive to build your own, using a bookcase turned backward as the foundation and working from there.

Select the bookcase that you want to convert. It should be fairly ornate, with a solid back and bottom. The size will be determined by your personal needs. The top should be tall and wide enough to provide a comfortable working surface and provide plenty of storage, and the shelves deep enough to hold all of the glasses and bottles that you plan to use.

Measure the width of the inner shelves of the bookcase.

Cut a piece of 1-by-3 board to fit each shelf. These will be retaining walls to help keep bottles and glasses from accidentally falling out of the bar.

Stain or paint the boards to match the bookcase.

Attach the first board along its thin edge to the bookcase with wood screws and L-brackets. Position it at the outer edge of the bottom shelf, creating a small box.

Attach the other boards, one for each shelf, in the same way as the first one.

Turn the bookcase upside down. Attach a caster to each corner with wood screws.

Turn the bookcase right-side up again.

Add Christmas lights to the underside of each shelf with a staple gun to provide illumination.

Cut pieces of anti-slip mat to fit the inner shelves and put them in place.

If desired, add bottle and glass holders to the shelves.


Always drill pilot holes before using screws.


Always lock the caster brakes before you begin making drinks.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden bookcase
  • 1-by-3 boards
  • Wood stain or paint
  • Paint brush
  • Measuring tape
  • Anti-slip mat
  • Scissors
  • Metal L-brackets
  • 2-inch swivel casters with brakes (4)
  • Wood screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill and bits
  • Christmas lights
  • Staple gun
  • Bottle and glass holders (optional)
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About the Author

Alex Smith began writing in 2006 and brings a combination of education and humor to various websites. He holds a Master of Arts in theater and works as a professional makeup and special-effects artist.