Raising the Bar

Raising the Bar

I love to host, entertain, cook and do projects. I also love a good cocktail and the big, wide, beautiful world of bourbon.

So, when I bought my first house, I immediately realized I needed a bar to house all of my cocktail ingredients and my nasty addiction to cool / amazing glassware (I think humanity blew it's entire creative wad of glassware ideas in the '50s and '60s. So. Much. Cool. Stuff.)

The problem was I didn't need just any bar, I needed a "bigly" bar -- one large enough to store everything I had. I wanted a central entertaining hub that didn't require me to have to fumble through kitchen drawers and cabinets for shakers and stirrers and then go back to the bar to make the drinks -- I needed it all in one place.

CUT TO a search for "Mad Men" on Craigslist where I stumbled upon a Virtue Brothers cabinet hutch that I thought would make the most amazing bar. Now, mind you, when I found this thing, it was freaking DISGUSTING. It was poorly cared for, had yellow stains on the shelves, had nasty, used-to-be-white vinyl on the doors, and the legs were scratched to hell. It looked very similar to this hutch. But I could tell that the underlying shapes of the structure and style were exactly what I was looking for, and I knew I could restore it in some fashion, so into my friend's SUV it went.

After about a week in the garage nursing the bar back to life, it finally looked as cool and polished as I had hoped it might. I painted the legs, shelves, spindles and doors black and accented certain elements with gold spray paint. I restored the original super cool hardware and added some downlighting on the flanking shelves. Lastly, I covered the outside of the doors with a black and brown tweed fabric to give it more of a sophisticated appearance. I get that formica isn't for everyone (including myself, usually), however, the simulated wood grain ended up working nicely for this piece with all of the color changes and upgrades in place. The black, gold, and fabric accents go a long way in elevating the overall presentation of the piece.

This bar and I have been through a lot together. I poured in the sweat to bring it back to life, and in return, it has helped me get through life in general -- particularly tax season. We've got a good thing going.