Decluttering the Basement: The Bar

I'm going to start off with a picture of the bar area looking all pretty and nice. 

The bar is one of my favorite areas of the house, for obvious reasons, which I'm sure you can figure out, and for less-obvious reasons, which I will tell you about. 

Used to a a workbench, made from scrap wood, which is in itself kind of neat. 

Used to a a workbench, made from scrap wood, which is in itself kind of neat. 

The bar itself used to be a workbench in the corner. One night, when I was drinking in the basement with a friend, it occurred to us that we could pull the workbench out from the corner, turn it around, and it would be a bar! We were about half-right, and thankfully, Eric did some work and made it so. The workbench had to be raised to bar height, and it needed a top, rail and sides. You can clearly see its workbench origins from the inside. 

With the exception of the bar top and rail (which we had custom-made - it's nearly impossible to find something used that will work as well) and the lights, we acquired most everything second hand. The last thing the bar "needs" is a foot rail, but that falls into the same category as the top rail - hard to find used and expensive to buy new. 

Inside the liquor cabinet - we took out two shelves and all the dividers, leaving the remaining shelves, including the one that had our old apartment number (301). 

Inside the liquor cabinet - we took out two shelves and all the dividers, leaving the remaining shelves, including the one that had our old apartment number (301). 

The large mirror in the back came from a salon Eric's mom used to own. The dark wood cabinet behind the bar, which serves as our liquor cabinet, is the old mail cabinet from The Embassy apartment building we used to live in (they were throwing it away!). The wood floor came from Eric's mom's old house. The tin ceiling was salvaged from a old south city bar Eric's brother gutted (same ceiling we have in our kitchen, if you've seen that) (not to mention, rescued from the trash). We found the wood that covers the outside of the bar next to an abandoned house. 

We got both wine racks in the alley, and the lamp in the back corner. All the bar stools came from garage sales and the alley. At one point we had a working kegerator (RIP), which we got second-hand. I still hold out hope that it can be fixed. So we also had pitchers and mugs, which we got second-hand. And which I don't consider clutter, because hopefully we'll need them again someday. 

Found under the bar: Fancy box I bought at an antique mall when I was in college (with two decks of plastic playing cards inside! A steal!) and my awesome yin-yang incense burner. 

Found under the bar: Fancy box I bought at an antique mall when I was in college (with two decks of plastic playing cards inside! A steal!) and my awesome yin-yang incense burner. 

Like all good bar owners, we've filled our bar with memorabilia. This is a practice that can easily lead to clutter, but also sparks fond memories and good conversation ("Hey, check it out! Eric's grandma was really great at bowling!"). 

The wall to the right, which you can't see in the pictures, contains some Cardinal's memorabilia, too, which I believe is a legal requirement for bars in St. Louis. We've got a Falstaff mirror that hung in my parents' basement bar when I was a kid, and a chalkboard my brother gave us (for writing down what kind of beer we had on tap - sigh). We have a string of metal Budweiser horses Eric had when he was a kid, which are pretty neat. 

I could go on and on, but I'm not going to, so if you want to hear about the rest, you'll have to come over and see it. And have a beer. 

I guess what I'm really getting at here, and what you may have already figured out, is that I didn't get rid of a ton of stuff from the bar area. I kicked out about a dozen glasses we've never used, and one bag of miscellaneous stuff, such as plastic beer steins from Oktoberfest and Mardi Gras beads. I moved some paint cans out, but as of right now, they don't have a permanent home, so we'll see where they end up. 

I ended up with lots of empty space. The cabinet was salvaged from the alley. And it all looks better with those curtains down. 

I ended up with lots of empty space. The cabinet was salvaged from the alley. And it all looks better with those curtains down. 

What I did do was a lot of was cleaning. I shop-vacced (I guess that's not a real word?) (but I use it all the time) everything behind the bar, then I wiped things down with soapy water, then I swept, then I mopped. Let me tell you, it was pretty grubby! I don't recall ever wiping down the shelves under the bar, and the dirt I found there would indicate my memory is not failing me. But it's clean now, or as clean as you can make an old workbench without repainting it. 

Here's the back corner, with the non-working kegerator. You can see the metal horses up in the top right corner. And the gold snake lamp, maybe one of the best things I've ever found in a alley (although I know Eric disagrees). 

So I kinda decluttered the bar, but mostly I cleaned. And I hope the resulting tour of the bar area was as fun for you as it was for me. :)

Week 50: Household - Declutter the Bar Area