In a modern world filled with soyboys and politically correct warriors, the Man Cave is the ultimate sanctuary for the blue-blooded, spiritual descendants of Erik the Red or Godfrey of Bouillon.  One can reach back to history and quickly pick out the inspiration for the man cave, the Warrior’s Den or Viking Longhouse were places where men gathered to feast, share war stories and display their trophies from distant lands.  While the details may have changed somewhat, the intent is the same: a place for men to gather, enjoy their pastimes and show off their coolest shit.

Some guys have a ton of cash to spend on a perfectly themed and decorated cave.  This article isn’t for the Scrooge McDuck’s:  it’s the rest of use creating our own Fortresses of Testosterone.  The following 10 elements will maximize the badass factor of your Den of Brooding, especially if it’s a dual use workspace/garage area.

Lighting

Your Costco overhead halogen fixture is great for the workbench, but when it’s time to pour two fingers of scotch and stew, you need ambiance not massive lumens.  If a smoky barroom is your scene but you hate the general populace, add a neon light to your cave.

For more of the Viking Longhouse feel while downing homebrewed mead, try one of these flame LED bulbs.  Fairly realistic impression of an oil lamp, as long as it’s used in a fixture with frosted glass.  Bulbs like this are offered by many manufacturers, some are total shit, but this one is vouchsafed at $13/bulb.

If you’re having some of your fellow skullsplitters over for cigars and want the room to resemble your favorite FOB, hang a couple chem lights.  If you don’t want to keep a box of the consumables, check out the bbattery-poweredversion from Nite Ize.  60-hour runtime, replaceable batteries, ~$3 per.

4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave
Low on lumens, high on nostalgia

Vice

I’ve mentioned Scotch, I’ve mentioned cigars.  With good reason!  These are two of the preferred vices of the distinguished gentleman.

If you’re interested in cigars, many big cities have ‘cigar bars” (such as the basement smoke room at Kells in Portland) with a large variety of quality cigars to choose from and knowledgeable employees to give out a free lesson every time you’re in.  Stop by, try a Pappy Van Winkle, if you like it, buy three more to take home to your humidor.

A humidor is an enclosure designed to keep tobacco stored well, with regulated moisture content preserving them.  This prevents them from drying out and cracking.  The spanish-cedar construction protects them from “tobacco beetles” as well.  Round out your set with a quality cigar cutter and unique lighter, as well as Propylene Glycol/distilled water 50-50 mix to keep your cigars at optimal humidity.

4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave

When it comes to high-end booze, the sky is the limit.  You could easily spend thousands of dollars and still not have a complete mini-bar of high-end hooch.  Start small with a few choice bottles.  Save your swill for somewhere else, this is your time to show off your taste and refinement.

4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave

Scotch is the backbone of a home bar.  Glenmorangie is a widely known, high-quality, single malt Scotch whiskey.

Want to support Veteran-owned distilleries?  Check out Three Rangers.  Word is that their Rye whiskey is hotter than an A-10 on short approach.  While Leadslingers Whiskey started out with Bourbon Whiskey, they’ve expanded to include Rye, cinnamon “Napalm” whiskey and Rum.

I didn’t include details on clear alcohols here.  As the preeminent (fictional) expert on alcohol, Ron Swanson once enlightened us by saying, “Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets”.

Finish up your home bar with a small stack of tumblers and a bartender’s handboook (for when you have rich women on diets over).

Art

Yep, art.  No, I’m not talking about a nice Monet or a nice copy of that “color-by-numbers” your Uncle did.  I’m talking about some damn fine art, the kind that bears looking at day after day.  Check out this piece, titled “Conan The Destroyer”.  This kind of work can alter your mood, getting you in a proper warrior mindset.  Painted by Frank Frazetta, this is but one of the many paintings he did of the Conan The Barbarian world, among other badass pieces.  He may have passed in 2010, but his daughter Holly and granddaughter Sara are still managing Frank’s fantasy art legacy via Frazettagirls.com.  This print of the “Destroyer” was generously provided by Sara Frazetta.

4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave

Other (more modern) art includes a warfighters re-imagining of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night in RE Factor Tactical‘s Warry Night.  Also check out ZeroFoxtrot.com, they have some cool items like the below Zippo Man.  One near and dear to my heart is Stuart Brown’s Into The Breach.

4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave
Warry Night, photo courtesy of RE Factor Tactical. Used with permission.
4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave
ZeroFoxtrot “Zippo Man”.  Photo by John Gobby
4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave
Into The Breach“. Photo courtesy of Stuart Brown, used with permission.

Trophies

Not the place for your participation medals from 3rd grade field day… we’re talking more like war trophies.  That means both literal and figurative.  Have a scalp or some ears?  Hang ’em here.  Cougar pelt? Yes.  Even if you’re a collector of some rare and obscure goods and have a trophy piece you worked hard to acquire, here’s your spot.  This offers a glimpse into your inner sanctum, showing a glimmer of what you consider a crowning achievement.  Your trophies should have a story worth telling behind them.  If you don’t have trophies worth telling, you need to start living!

4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave

4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave
Some Iraqi souveniers
4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave
Afghan Baluch War Rug
4 Essential tips for building your Man Cave
Green eye versus orange eye

Bottom line, your Man Cave should both ooze testosterone and reflect a good deal about you.  Whatever path you take, the aforementioned tips will prove essential to maximizing your cave’s effectiveness.

Rex Nanorum

@Rexnanorum