While recently scanning Houzz articles (one of my favorite activities), I came across this freakishly cool bar made out of pallets and crates.
I don’t want to brag (or do I?), but many years ago I suggested to a friend that they take down their bar cabinets – which weren’t too pretty – and replace them with crates. To help, because I am oh-so-helpful, I started buying them crates (for birthdays and holidays). Since these crates were to be used for a bar, the hunt was for vintage alcohol crates with some flair: Johnny Walker, old-timey beers, etc. It was an awesome task. What better way to spend a rainy Saturday than sifting through a stack of dusty crates in some thrift store? If I could do such sifting with a drink in my hand and a handsome man massaging my back, life would be perfect. But just the sifting on its own is pretty damn good.
What was particularly fun about this project was that the crates didn’t need to be the same size, color, or source. The more variety, the better. Variety would keep the eye moving and wandering and reading about bygone days when alcohol came in a wooden crate, when bootleggers anchored offshore, when basements had a still. One crate I found was for only five or six bottles lined up next to each other. With its bottom nailed to the wall, this crate would have been long, but short in height. In other words, perfect for shot glasses. (Check out the crate holding the white vase / pepper mill here, flipped on its side for shot glasses.)
Gosh, the ideas for this project were endless. Old milk crates could hold mixers. Old Coke crates could hold Coke or other soda mixers, or, because of their shallowness, hold bar accoutrements: zesters, openers, ice pounders, strainers, stirrers, measures. Is there anything more fun to collect than vintage bar accessories? I think not! (FYI, I suggest sticking with a theme, like only vintage Playboy barware. One of my best finds ever was a vintage Playboy bar book, because the cartoon illustrations were priceless.) While on this topic, don’t forget the joy of the free – matchbooks and cardboard coasters are making a comeback. Bring them home from every trip. And openers? I like those that used to be given away free as advertisement at shoe repair shops and dry cleaners. You can pick these up for a song at garage sales and flea markets. Fun fact: back in the day, freebies like this were metal, not plastic.
The crates could also be used to separate liquors. Gin gets its own crate. Vodka has no crate because vodka is in the freezer. Flavored liqueurs (Cointreau and Chambourd – I hate the stuff, but a friend likes an occasional Chambourd Kamikaze) in their own crate. A crate for whiskey, and so on. Glasses could be separated by type in their own crates. Should the higher crates be top shelf liquor, or the most infrequently selected? Decisions, decisions. Aren’t the little decisions in life the most fun? Big decisions carry so much weight, but the decision of where to place which liquor? In which crate? That’s a nice fluffy decision with no lives at stake. My kind of (hard) work.
How’s your bar area? Why not spend the winter collecting crates and making your next party a little more spiffy? Your friends will hate you even more than they do now.