DIY Piano Bar - Upcycle an old piano into a BAR!

Today I bring you a DIY project that began over 10 years ago. I used to have a problem taking in homeless pianos (I have since gotten over this mental health issue), and a student once talked me into accepting a beautiful baby grand from the 1920s. It had been her grandmother's piano, but it had not been tuned in far too long for it to be salvageable. Being the 20-something living with a house full of roommates, I decided to take it and and use it as a dining room table. I put barstools around it, used placemats so as not to hurt the gorgeous rosewood, and it sat in my dining room for at least five years. I played it sometimes, but it sounded terrible. My piano tuner said that re-furnishing the soundboard, etc, would cost thousands and it still wouldn't sound as good as my 1995 Yamaha studio piano (i LOVE this instrument).

Ignore large dogs and look at the piano that
functions as a dining room table. That's the
BEFORE photo that I can find right now.

I'd had the idea to turn it into a bar, but I lacked the tools and the time. Enter DAVID! He and Adam, our amazing piano tuner, used piano-tuner tools to de-tune and remove the hundreds of strings (you can't just cut them because you might accidentally decapitate yourself). David took the insanely heavy iron soundboard to a metal recycling place, cleaned out the inside, and we used it as a bar for the next several years -- lifting up the piano lid to reveal a hidden vault of single malts and glassware.

But then, we had babies. Keeping a baby grand full of liquor just took up too much space.

We then went full-on PROJECT, and David created the piano bar masterpiece that I'd always envisioned, taking apart the legs and going vertical:

We only kept two of the legs (it is anchored to the wall), but they weren't tall enough for a comfortable height. David took some wood, stained it to match the rosewood, and raised the height of the bar:

We added a shelf and some glass holders to provide more function: 

Another shelf will be coming, but we've been, er, busy and not paying much attention to the bar!

An old Kimball piano from the 1920s converted into a bar.
Piano bar! DIY upcycling project. Also, we have a mighty Scotch collection for a couple of Kentuckians.

As for the innards of the piano, well, they hang on our wall because we can't do *anything* with it. The keys are ebony and ivory, and with the weird rules around ivory, we can't really upcycle them. It's a fun interactive piece of art in the dining room though:


  1. Gorgeous! I always hurt for a dead piano, but this is about the best use of one imaginable!

    1. Same!! It was such a beautiful rosewood baby grand that was clearly once a great instrument. And then it doesn't get tuned for 50 years -- done!! It makes me happy daily.