[insert bar word play here]

I restored a bar. Finished photo/video first:



I acquired a bar for $40 dollars for an upcoming event from craigslist on a whim as restoring a bar was probably more efficient than building one from scratch:

How it Arrived:

The bar as received
The bar was looking a bit too vampiric with this fabric


This doesn’t work.

Underside of the record player.
Under the receiver, looks mostly complete.


I wanted a bar, I needed nothing else, but this came with “an old stereo” according to the ad, and to my surprise, it had speakers as well, and it all worked! kind of. So, I figured, might as well make it all work.


  • See if amp is usable and if it can be retrofitted for a aux line-in
  • Replace fur with something more in line with my style needs
  • Add lighting
  • Clean up and paint as needed

Points of interest:

  • Discovered that the bar has built-in speakers, wow, and after rewiring them, the amp and replacing a blown capacitor on one of the tweeters they actually sound OK.
  • FM radio works great, 8-track player MAY work – will have to get an 8-track to test.
  • Did not test record player as it seemed too far gone without replacing (especially the stylus, it was pretty housed up. Might be a good project for another time.
  • This is a quadraphonic amp, you can see the second set of speaker outputs (no second set of speakers built-in) and a switch to enable quad playback. It’s probably one of the matrix formats – I’ll research that later if I get a quadraphonic 8-track (or an 8-track at all) or if I fix the record player – I actually have a QS (or SQ or something) Kris Kristofferson record that might be compatible.
  • I discovered the lighting system in the front of the device. Deep inside I found a dial-based object that adjusted the sensitivity of the light flash, it was wired  to 120VAC for the lights (old style large Christmas lights) and to the right speaker.

Lights and Fabric:

These came off easy enough, just fabric on the back of these things.
Here is one of the larger ones off with its fabric removed – his brother already has new fabric under him.
LED Strip Lights
Soldered five lengths together at their ends, wired up with a RC car style quick disconnect (upper right)
They have adhesive, but I hot glued them at their ends to make sure they’d stay put during reapplication of the grille/lattice.
A little better view of those RC battery style connectors – I love these. They’re cheap, keyed, and low-profile.
The smaller ones got this fur instead of fabric. I wanted the LEDs to diffuse on these so I got a sheet of fluorescent light diffuser from the local home salvage shop with a crack in it for discount.
Diffuser and LED Strips applied, simply scotch taped because they’ll be held on with pressure. You can see the fur already present underneath the diffuser.
These were a surprise – located behind the front grille. After rewiring them and tightening the bulbs, they all worked!
This was part of the wiring disaster mid-restoration
Tidied up the wiring so it won’t be a hazard but will still be serviceable. The wiring is invisible behind the front grille which is very convenient
Better view of the front grille area exposed.

Sound and Structure:

Before – dirty, has record player.


Tore out record player, removed old shelf, cut and stained new shelf without gigantic hole for record player.


Added female RCA jacks soldered up to the record player input (see white panel near top of photo. The phono setting on the receiver/amp is now an aux in!
Inside the speaker area – looks to be about a 6.5″ woofer with a whizzer cone and some kind of little tweeter. The capacitor going to the tweeter was blown so I replaced it and it started working.
Better photo of capacitor and wiring.
I slapped the iPad on a stand and hooked it up to the aux in – works great!

Additional Notes and Final Thoughts:

  • The front lighting system was on a dial that was just sort of slapped inside the cabinet, exposed, 120VA – no bueno. I put this behind some particle board, mounted it up and added an actual knob from an old fader dial.
  • The amp was wired up with one channel driving both speakers. I think it was thought that the amp had a blown channel, but after rewiring it’s working now. Perhaps it’s was issue with the 8-track and/or record wiring and they bypassed it at the amp
  • I’d like to add some heavy duty locking casters to the bottom of this for ease of moving and to keep it off of damp ground.
  • The bar top is not particularly durable, made of the same particle board the rest of the bar is made of and covered with a sticker veneer. I’d like to replace it with a nice sheet of plywood sealed up with a waterproof finish.
  • The speakers could stand an upgrade.
  • I don’t think I bypassed the record player’s pre-amp, so one must be mindful of the input level from your phone/ipad/whatever on the aux-in.
  • A fridge and a draft tap tower would really tie the whole thing together.

Budget / Materials ~$70:

  • Bar: $40
  • Cracked Sheet of fluorescent light diffuser: $2
  • LED Strips: two 16ft. spools @ ~$4 each
  • Fabric, stain, wood, and wiring stuff I had already, say ~$20 in value.