Custom Bar Details for Hair of the Dog in Portland, OR

We recently completed a new bar for Portland brewery and tasting room Hair of the Dog. Our team worked closely with the owner of the brewery to create a piece that reflected the functionality and character that he wanted for his business. The result is a 11′ x 19′ U-shaped bar in the center of the tasting room, pictured here. To limit the amount of downtime for Hair of the Dog during construction, we built the components of the bar off-site at the H&H woodshop, with help from Creative Woodworking, and then assembled them in the brewery with a quick turnaround.

Custom Bar for Hair of the Dog | Hammer & Hand

The owner of Hair of the Dog wanted to use a wood with a lot of character for the new bar. After sorting through lots of samples he decided on reclaimed elm, not a wood typically used for bartops but one that had the look the owner was after.

“We were initially concerned about using elm and how it would react to having beer on it all the time and rings from glasses,” said H&H Project Supervisor Casey McKenna. “So we mocked up 12″ x 12″ samples with a variety of finish options for him to try out.”

The owner ran a test of the samples, setting them next to the bar taps and placing filled beer glasses on them to see how the various finishes fared. After two weeks of testing he settled on Rubio Monocoat Plus, a molecularly bonding oil floor finish. The finish, unlike the old bar’s resin finish, won’t build up and really lets the grain of the wood shine through for a natural look. The fast curing time (just 24 hours) of this single coat finish helped with completing the bar within the tight timeline.

Parquet Wood Pattern | Hammer & Hand

The herringbone joints of the new bar match the look of the previous one. The herringbone is a trickier joint to use when assembling pre-made pieces on-site, so the carpenters had to be very precise with their measurements for the joints to fit together correctly. We used very few nails, instead using Dominos as tenons between each piece before gluing (see an example of this here). The team then sanded the bar down for smooth transitions between boards and finished with the Monocoat.


For more photos of this project, visit our Hair of the Dog project page.

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