Countertop for Bar

geokidFebruary 27, 2013

Hello All,

We are now to the countertop and flooring stage of creating our basement bar area and I wanted to bounce a couple ideas off you guys. Below is a pic of the space. We still need hardware and have yet to install the back and side panels. The lower cabinets along the wall are stainless but all the rest are dark wood. The sink will be in the cabinet between the two fridges.

The "countertop" there now is just drywall with peel and stick tiles on top. We had to host a fundraiser pre-party and needed something ASAP and that's what we had to work with. The plan is to do butcher block on the two counter-height sections (where the temporary top is now). Then we were going to use these brackets to add a bar height counter. We chose this because building a half wall would take up too much floor space from the seating area.

We would like to get a sheet of metal, copper or zinc, and have it wrapped around wood to create the bar. Like this, but without the big rivets.

Thoughts? Would that look strange with the stainless cabinets? We are going for kind of an industrial-meets-old-world vibe.

We have also thought of using leather for the bar top.

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I like that you are thinking of using different materials - like the butcher block or leather instead of granite. (using granite would make in look like everyone else's basement, imho)

I found this and thought it looks like the vibe you are going for:

Traditional Basement design by Vancouver Artist And Artisan G.Elizabeth Designs

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:55PM
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I worked in a restaurant once that had the service area all covered in copper like that and it really had a nice feel to it . There would be coffee rings that came and went, but a really nice feel to it. The one bad thing was that in a couple of corners it had peeled a little and was very sharp!

Beth P.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 7:35PM
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I like the butcher block a lot. I don't know if the copper would work well with the stainless steel, though. The leather is fantastic, but I don't think it's great for a bar, with all of the drinks and all. Zinc sounds interesting. Butcher block for the bar piece would look good too. Or concrete- that might be wild. I love my concrete vanity counter top.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:49PM
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The trouble with metal countertops is that they are cold. That may not be what you want for people who will be leaning on the bar.

I would look into epoxy resin laboratory countertops.
They are great for bars because they are soft to the touch, and they resist absolutely everything - alcohol included. They have a timeless quality that would work with your other materials, and they are not terribly expensive, either.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:27PM
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    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Believe it or not, there is a fabulous looking laminate that mimics a textured copper- one of the espresso bars in my town has it on their service counters. It is simply gorgeous. Wish I could remember what they edged it with, but it could be stainless. if you decide on the copper you could think about edging with stainless to bring everything together. And check out laminate. I'm going to search online and see if I can find it and will edit to add if I do.

I think this is might have more going on than you want, but it is really pretty in person and has some greys in it that would coordinate with the stainless, too. This is it on a table top. It's formica brand copper leaves.

This post was edited by olychick on Wed, Feb 27, 13 at 23:08

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:01PM
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Janice, thanks! We have granite in the kitchen and really wanted to do something different down here.

Beth, thanks for the tip. We'll have to consider that.

Hosenemesis, we had also thought of something different for the counters and a big slab of wood for the bar. The pic of the leather countertop I showed is from a bar in DC. The owners say it has held up great. Not sure how they prepped it or care for it though.

Bronwynsmom and crl, great idea about the lab counters or soapstone. I really like that idea. Wonder if we could use that for the countertops an butcher block for the bar. Also wonder if we can use those brackets on that material. I'll have to look into that.

Oly, thanks for taking the time to find that for me! I suggested the same copper-look laminate to DH awhile ago and he doesn't want laminate. Not sure why. Maybe I can change his mind?

Lots of options. As always, we just need to pick one. :)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 4:01PM
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After reading and discussing all your suggestions with DH, we decided not to go the copper or leather route. Just too many issues and unknowns. Plus, we did agree that the copper would probably clash with the stainless.

We found this photo and I think this is the direction we are going to take. I even like these brackets better. Thoughts?

Contemporary Kitchen design by Denver Architect David Johnston Architects

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Are those counters concrete?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:12PM
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Those are actually caesarstone. Cambria makes a similar looking product. DH loves the idea of concrete but it's a bit more difficult for the DIYer. And we haven't ruled out soapstone or those dark lab countertops.

I guess the question is: Do we go with option 1 (butcher block counters and another material for bar) or option 2 (different material for counters and butcher block for bar)? And if option 2, a light countertop like in the pic or a darker soapstone or lab counter?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:54PM
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It's difficult to tell from the pics, but your original brackets look like they'd allow you to place things on the lower counter, too, and/or clean easily all the way to the edge. The latest brackets look as if you wouldn't be able to use the part of the lower counter underneath it and it might be a pain to clean under there. Would the first brackets make the ledge shelf too tall if you're sitting on barstools (would you be?)

I think any of your choices are going to look good; I'd just think about the practicality. Like what's going to be easiest to clean up spilled drink fixings...colored soda, or juice or colored liquors. Are kids going to be partying down there without adults and will they keep soda wiped up off of butcherblock or soapstone if they are the main countertops?

I'd do some mock ups with all the different configurations of colors (light on upper vs dark and vise versa) in your lighting and see what looks best. Your last inspiration pic has lots of natural light, but doesn't look like yours does, so I might be inclined to go with materials that will keep if from looking too cave like.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 6:05PM
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I think that leather top you pictured would look Fabulous!!!!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Soapstone is impervious to stains so spilled drinks would not be a problem. They are soft and can scratch and ding though. Just depends on whether you are okay with that kind of patina. I think it is also quite heavy. So you would want to make sure the brackets could hold the weight if you wanted to use it on the top counter.

Butcherblock is much more prone to stains. But since I imagine you don't plan to actually cut on it, you could use a finish that would help with that.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:05PM
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