September 30, 2014

Dan King's Home Bar

It seems I hear about "man caves" a lot these days. Just about every guy I know wants or has one; that special place at home that is entirely his. Of course, how that space looks depends on the guy and his interests. Around here, a man cave looks an awful lot like a dusty clay studio (I've got one too and I'm not even a man), for others it's a movie screening room, or a place to pay homage to a favorite sports team. For others it's a bar. In this case Dan King's basement bar.

Earlier in the summer PGC teamed up with Jack Daniels Single Barrel to give away one of our growlers through their blog and Facebook pages. The criteria? "Post a comment describing something you've made that you're really proud of." While the contest used random selection to get to the winner, it turned out to be a pretty great story about what inspired Dan King to turn his basement into his very own bar. I'll let him tell you in his own words.

I’ve always wanted to have a little bar in my house.  It was something that I just never got around to – or maybe it was more the case that I never put aside the time or money for it.   Well, two Christmases ago, I decided the time was right to finally build my bar.

You see, a few months earlier, my dad lost his battle with cancer.  For those few months between his passing and Christmas, my head was flooded with memories of my dad.  I wanted to find a way to keep some of those memories tangible.

The first memory that I knew I just HAD to include in my bar plan was a collection of mugs with decidedly odd faces on them.  During his retirement, Dad collected quite a few Toby mugs, which I inherited.  A few months before he passed, my brothers and I went to visit our dad for a boys’ weekend.  This is when Dad went through his things and passed his collection of mugs down to me.  We went through each box, unwrapped each piece, and he told me where and when he bought every single one.  They meant a lot to him, and it means a lot to me that he wanted me to have them.  Selling them was out of the question, and I couldn’t possibly just stash them in the attic until it was my turn to pass them to someone else.   So, the top requirement for my bar was that it had to be able to display “the collection.”


The second memory that I wanted to capture involved alcohol - maybe not the most wholesome childhood memory, but it’s something that has stuck with me.  Happy Hour at Grandma and Grandpa’s house was always a fun time.  Grandpa’s favorite drink was a whiskey sour.  My brothers, cousins, and I would go from adult to adult begging for the cherry at the bottom of the whiskey sours that Grandpa had made for them.   (Now, when I make whiskey sours, I always use TWO cherries, so there’s always one for the kids!)  Grandpa had a little liquor cabinet that was passed down to my dad, and then to me.  Requirement number two for my bar was that it had to incorporate Grandpa’s liquor cabinet.

I should mention that I’m not a carpenter, I’m not a cabinet maker, I’m just a handy guy with some hobby woodworking experience.  I planned and built my bar by myself with the idea of always remembering dad. There were a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved, but it was a labor of love. I like to think that among the bottles of spirits on the back bar, there’s a little bit of dad’s spirit among us whenever we gather at my little bar.  


- Dan King                    


Thanks so much to Dan for sharing his story. Cheers to you and your fond memories of your dad! We hope you make many happy new memories gathered around your new bar.