Retro 50’s Basement Bar Ideas

by admin on April 3, 2013

With all the options one has when it comes to basement bar ideas, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when deciding on a specific design.

Personally, I think one should base his basement bar’s design on the things that he likes – favorite movie, hobbies, etc.

One of the most popular basement bar ideas is the retro 50’s, and it’s not hard to understand why. This era, which started on January 1, 1950 and ended on December 31, 1959, has seen many musicians and celebrities whose names are still popular today.

Some of these include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and James Dean. The 50’s was also the decade that gave way to great musicians including Elvis Presley, Nat “King” Cole and Frank Sinatra – among many others. The Fiftees was indeed an era of great talent and great times – who wouldn’t want to be reminded of this while he unwinds at his basement bar, right?

Choosing the Right Element

So, there are a few important elements that would make or break your retro 50’s basement bar.


The floor will tie everything together, so you should pay attention to it. The most popular choices are the  black-and-white checkered floors and red-and-white checkered floors. I think nothing says more “retro” than these.

The most popular flooring material during the Fiftees was linoleum. If checkered floors are too much for you, you can always go for bright and trendy patterns which were also made popular during this era. Some of the colors I’d suggest include vibrant yellow, electric blue, red and orange. If you’d rather go for pastel colors, you can choose among mint green, pink, turquoise and pale yellow.

If you already have hardwood floors installed in your basement, there’s no need to change it. This type of flooring has always been popular – from then till now. Many consider hardwood to be timeless, so it will always be a trend.

I suggest staying away from carpeted floors. Although carpet has been popular for years, wall-to-wall carpet is something relatively new and it won’t fit into our retro 50’s theme.


The color of your furniture should match the overall color of your bar. The most popular color for retro 50’s furniture was red, although you’re free to choose from black, dark brown and orange – these are the most popular colors for pieces of furniture back then.

For the stools, I’d suggest a red backless bar stool like this:

basement bar ideas

It’s very simple yet stylish and it’s a perfect match to the theme we’re looking at.

For additional basement bar ideas, why don’t you have more sitting spaces by adding  a couch or a booth? Most diners back in the 1950’s have booths, and it would be a great way for you and your friends to just sit down and talk.

Here’s an example of the V-back retro booth that’s been popular in the 50’s:

basement bar ideas

Here’s also a retro-inspired couch that you can’t stop from falling head over heels with:

basement bar ideas

I also love this one for its super retro style:

basement bar ideas

The Bar

How exactly should a retro 50’s inspired bar look like? What’s great about an oldies bar is that it’s very simple in shape – nothing complicated. You can have a simple L-shaped or U-shaped bar with simple lines. You can actually make it yourself because it’s really simple, especially if you have a plan that you can follow.

What’s going to make your bar stand out is the design. Some people just spray-paint it black and white (with checkered patterns along the sides) and then they add a couple of tin signs here and there and make it look really great. For additional inspirations, here are a couple of pictures I’d like you to look at:

basement bar ideas

basement bar ideas


No basement bar will be complete without decorations. Just like the furniture, your decorations should scream “retro 50’s” and nothing else.

What does every 50’s-inspired basement bar needs to have? A jukebox! That’s right. Your bar will never be complete without this famous 50’s icon. If you’re having a hard time finding an authentic jukebox, you can go to  for new and used jukeboxes.

For wall decorations, there are a lot of pictures that you can buy online. Here are some of my favorites:

basement bar ideasbasement bar ideasbasement bar ideas

All available at

For some additional kicks, here are a couple of items I think you’d love:

basement bar ideas

Marilyn Monroe Glass Set

basement bar ideas

Pink Flamingo Party Straws

basement bar ideas

Record Coasters

Retro Fridge

Each drink you serve should be ice-cold, which emphasizes the importance of having a fridge in your bar. For a real retro feel, you can get one of these retro classic coca-cola refrigerated machine.

Basement bar ideas

Available at

What I love about this is that it looks old, but it’s not actually old so you don’t have to worry about high electricity consumption or fire hazards due to old parts.

Another option is this retro series fridge from Nostalgia Electrics, which features that bright-red shade made popular by the 50’s. This particular model has a full range adjustable thermostat and has a 3.1 cubic feet capacity. At around $240 at Amazon, this one is a real steal.

Available at

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