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Building a Dry Bar

Dress up your entertaining area with a custom cabinet to store bottles and glassware. Try more high-speed projects with host Steve Watson from Don't Sweat It.

Get a free* materials list for this project:
Text drybar to 44881 (HGTV1)


three sheets 3/4-inch oak plywood
one roll oak edge banding
four glass cabinet doors
four stemware racks
four stainless-steel handles
one 6-foot length of black countertop
one sheet 1/2-inch MDF (medium-density fiberboard)
four glass shelves
two drawer glides
one 3-light halogen light set
wood stain and foam brushes

2-inch finishing nails for nail gun
air compressor with hoses
circular saw
cordless drill with battery and magnetic screw tip
pneumatic nail gun-finish
power miter box
table saw
tape measure


1. Measure the area and sketch out a design for the bar (figure A). In this case, the bar was designed to fit around the homeowner's wine cooler. Keep storage needs in mind and allow for fitting wine bottles, liquor, mixers, glasses and accessories.

2. This project called for a 60-inch wide unit, with the cooler in the center and an 18-inch cabinet on each side. This was topped with a hutch with a 15 x 39-inch cabinet on each side with 25 inches of open shelving between. By buying the doors and building the cabinet boxes, you can customize the depth of the cabinets and use stock, easily available glass doors.

3. Use a table saw and circular saw to cut pieces for the two 18 x 30-inch cabinets and two 15 x 39-inch cabinets (figure B). Cut the following pieces from 3/4-inch plywood:

  • Four 30 x 20-inch base cabinet sides
  • Four 16-1/2 x 20-inch base cabinet top and bottom
  • Two 16-1/2 x 28-1/2 inch base cabinet backs
  • Two 52 x 11-inch hutch sides
  • Two 37-1/2 x 11-inch cabinet sides
  • One 54 x 11-inch hutch top
  • One 52-1/2 x 11-inch hutch bottom
  • One 24 x 11-inch hutch shelf

4. To assemble the cabinets, apply a bead of glue (figure C) then nail the sides, bottom and top of the base cabinets into a box. Glue and nail the backing to the boxes. The back of the cabinet will keep the box square.

5. To assemble the hutch, apply a bead of glue then nail the top and sides together. Next add the hutch bottom, measuring 39 inches down from the top. Next, measure in 15 inches from each side and mark the top and bottom, apply glue and nail the cabinet sides in here. Add the hutch shelf, centering it between the top and bottom.

6. Apply edge banding to all exposed plywood edges (figure D). Use a standard household iron to press the edge banding into the plywood edge. The heat from the iron melts the adhesive on the back of the edge banding.

7. Stain and seal everything before installing or adding the doors.

8. Install the cabinets in your room. Level and screw the base cabinets to the wall, using 2-1/2 inch drywall screws. Use a stud-finder and mark the wall to make sure the screws go into wall studs. Be sure to leave space if you wish to incorporate a cooler or small refrigerator. 9. Set the counter on the base cabinets, securing it by screwing up thru the base cabinets to the underside of the counter using 1-5/8 inch drywall screws (figure E). Set the hutch on top and secure it to the wall through the upper cabinet backs, again making sure to attach to wall studs.

9. Install the doors by screwing the mounting plate to the side of the cabinet, then clipping the hinge to the plate (figure F).

10. Measure and drill for the handles, then install the handles.

11. Install the stemware racks by screwing them up into the bottom of the open shelves using 3/4-inch screws.

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