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The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pints

A few years ago, a group of my neighbors were gathered in my backyard for laughter, libations, and to toss scrap wood into a fire pit. Andy mentioned that he wanted to build a bar for his backyard. Halfway seriously, he continued, “Gather whatever extra wood you have in your garages and bring it to my house tomorrow afternoon. We’ll crack open a few beers and see what we can build.”

We joked about how no one would really want a makeshift monstrosity as a permanent fixture in their yard. And I responded, “But what if we put wheels on it and shared the bar?”

...and The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pints and the legend of the Rolling Bars was born.

We started planning, scheming, designing, and dreaming. We established some simple rules about building these bars:

  • You can’t spend any money on the build,

  • the bars had to be constructed from leftover lumber, scavenged screws, and trashed treasures.

  • They had to have a solid top for conversing around,

  • and wheels to transport them from party to party.

  • And that was it!

Our initial bar was fashioned from an old office tabletop, some moving dollies, and a pile of pallets. It’s adorned with a stair-rail footrest and tiki torches on both sides. Inside it has an old kitchen cabinet, a wine-rack, and a few bottles of superfluous spirits.

Since then, we’ve built a bar with a toboggan and a wheelchair, an old workbench, a playground set, and a golf bar with an umbrella that rolls on jogging-stroller wheels.

What started out as a joke has turned into a project that brings families together. It’s not so much about the bars themselves but what happens during the build and the gatherings we have around them.

I would love to rave about how building these rolling bars served as a creative clean up that quickly exhausted the scrap and excess materials from our garages, but it has actually encouraged the hoarding of new supplies for coming contraptions.

I’d like to brag about how we taught our children the time-honored art of carpentry but instead they learned about jury-rigging junk and how scrap skids can make a lovely lemonade stand.

The magic of the Rolling Bars has been the coming together of husbands, wives, and children of all ages, working together on common goals. It’s a special camaraderie that can only come from creatively constructing treasures from trash. Our neighborhood has a bond like no other. As new families move in, they are quickly brought into the fun. Some scavenge supplies, the handy swing hammers, and others just sit and sip. All are welcome to our tables.

We are bound together because of imagination and innovation, from the labor and the laughter, from the moment we rally together till the first time we roll one down the street. We have no problems giving the bars to other deserving neighborhoods; we build them to build our community, we fabricate them to form friendships. We know the Rolling Bars won’t last forever but the memories formed by building them will.

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The 19th Hole

Possibly the most festive of our fleet. This lightweight bar sports 7 holes of Mini Golf on it's dual-level astroturf design. Made of wood and iron, this "better-than-a-beer-cart" bar is perfect when you're just puttering around.

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The Hockey Bar

The Heavy-Duty Hockey Bar is built to party HARD! The heaviest of the bars so far comes with a hidden cooler, Beer-Pong Party Top, and a built-in Chainlink Hockey Net! This rugged rolling roadhouse is burnt, boldly-built, and beautiful. Perfect for shots!

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The Tiki Bar

The first Rolling Bar that the Brotherhood of the Traveling Pints built was the Tiki Bar. We didn't know what to expect when we hammered in the first nail but with some lagers and laughter we quickly realized that we had created something very special. The Tiki Bar was the first and was truly born of scraps. With screws and brews, nails and ales, we fashions a fixture that brought families together.

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The Ghost Bar

Born on Halloween many moons ago a group of goblins discovered a discarded, dilapidated workbench. We knew that there was something special about this filthy find. Using what we could and adding lots of wood a second bar was spawned. This dingy delight is hidden in a garage far away, only making an appearance when the moon is full or neighbors are thirsty.

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The Alpine Bar

This bar is the epitome of an Alpine Sky Trip. Topped with an antique wooden toboggan and wheelchair wheels it is perfect for whatever a Chicago winter throws your way. No matter how cold it is outside, the barrel of brandy is ready to warm you up.

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The Mini Bar

Picnic table, gala centerpiece, or just a tribute to the original Tiki Bar, no matter how you look at it, this Mini Bar gets the biggest smiles. This Toy-Size Traveling Tavern demonstrates that we won't throw anything out if there's a bar to be built. And there's always a bar to be built.

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