How to make a portable bar

Written by alex smith
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How to make a portable bar
A bar on wheels means you can entertain anywhere. (bar image by Jerome Dancette from

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.

Skill level:

Things you 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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  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    Measure the width of the inner shelves of the bookcase.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    Stain or paint the boards to match the bookcase.

  5. 5

    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.

  6. 6

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

  7. 7

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

  8. 8

    Turn the bookcase right-side up again.

  9. 9

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

  10. 10

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

  11. 11

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

Tips and warnings

  • Always drill pilot holes before using screws.
  • Always lock the caster brakes before you begin making drinks.

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