Basement Spaces Bar: Do It Yourself


Not only do basement bars put a fun and stylish spin on any party, they are the centre focus of one of the greatest projects any man can undertake in his home. (And if you are a woman reading this, please consider marrying me.) 

So, after an excruciating contracting job involving excavating, ductwork, wiring, plumbing and more than likely a dizzying number of moisture issues, your basement is finally finished.  And being the master carpenter you are, you decided to top it off with the piece de resistance.

 A basement bar – finally, a way to fuel alcoholism right in your own home!  Of all the bars, in all the world, yours is the finest:  a magnificent L-shaped monster of mahogany, with a granite counter, mirrored backsplash, the works (or, you know…maybe something a little simpler.  But regardless, you did it yourself!)  Only one problem:  the beer.

More than likely if you’ve reached this point alone, you’re not about to hand over the bar’s beer tap design to someone else.  But now you’re in uncharted waters.  Pressure systems?  Hydraulic lines?  Ummm…

Relax, you’re not building a rocketship.  Chances are you’re only going to have one keg at a time, right?  Then it’s a safe bet to say you want a direct draw system.  So here’s what you’ll need to know:

The hardware components in professional draft beer system consist of tailpieces, unions, faucets, shanks, couplers, and more.  (Are your palms starting to get sweaty again?)  Well guess what?  All of these components just restrict the beer as it passes through, and most of them impart so little restriction that they can just be ignored. 

Basically, most tap and keggerator (keg refrigerator) systems are sold with all the parts you’ll need for an effective line.
The only trick in designing direct draw lines is balancing the system.  This essentially means meeting three requirements:

  • Protecting the integrity of the beer
  • Eliminating waste
  • Acquiring an industry standard flow rate of approximately 128 ounces per minute or approximately 1 gallon a minute.

Success in meeting these objectives depends on balancing two separate pressures:

  • Applied gauge pressure
  • Restriction pressure

Determining what these terms mean, and how the calculations work is simple enough and can be found easily on the net (this isn’t brain surgery, so don’t worry). 

Taking time on the draw system is more than worth it when finishing your bar.  Calculating correctly once means never having to adjust regulators or pressure again.  More importantly, it also means your basement bar can have the same quality beer that you find at the pub: just the way the God intended it.