An outdoor bar is the ultimate living space: it provides a comfortable environment for casual cocktails or beers, ample space for lounging, and a fully-equipped “room” for impromptu entertaining, all within close proximity to nature. Creating an outdoor bar can be as simple as converting a patio table into a laid-back dry bar, or involve hardscaping complete with a built-in sink and matching barstools. Whatever your approach, there are a few essentials any outdoor bar must have.
1. Take Charge of Your Layout
Necessary to any proper outdoor bar is a dedicated countertop or table for serving. Conscientious outdoor bar layouts generally tend toward L- or U-shapes, which are not easily knocked over by strong winds or inattentive guests. A standard bar is 42 inches tall and should include 12 inches of overhang on one side for adequate legroom. If budget or space limitations prohibit hardscaping with built-in storage cabinets, get creative with a portable drink cart, which doubles as storage and an extra serving station.
2. Smart Seating
Another must have for your outdoor bar is comfortable and accessible seating. Implant backless barstools to encourage interaction on all sides, or utilize deeply padded seating if you anticipate long, intimate conversations. If your serving station cannot accommodate pull-up seating, consider surrounding a low table with a cozy sectional sofa, or integrating seat walls with backrests and cushions into the space. Whatever you decide, make sure your outdoor bar furniture is suited to stand up against the elements.
3. Refrigerate to Keep Cool
Whether alone or in a group, no one wants to constantly run back and forth between the main home and bar area for cold drinks. At the very least, purchase in a small refrigerator that will fit seamlessly underneath your outdoor bar table or countertop. Not only will your drinks stay cool, but so will you! Invest in one to enjoy the space effortlessly. As an alternative, locate your bar near your outdoor kitchen (if it has a fridge)
4. Cover Up
As with any outdoor living space, it’s important to keep your outdoor bar area covered. Endure poor weather conditions and prolong your bar’s lifespan with the help of an overhang, pergola, or a large umbrella (or two). Spice things up with a thatched roof for a tiki-inspired look. While you’re at it, install track or pendant lighting to highlight the space. Your outdoor bar will remain a central gathering place, regardless of the weather (well, as long as it's not winter of course).
5. Set the Mood
Finally, insert the kind of ambiance-setters any open-air space must have. Your outdoor bar is a blank slate for personal touches such as thick, natural privacy walls, plush area rugs, or even a luxurious fire pit table. Incorporate hidden speakers for a delightful and mood-setting surprise. Most importantly, complement the space with the kind of finishing touches you most want – after all, an outdoor bar can become your ultimate haven for relaxation, provided you make it happen.
Become your friends’ favorite entertainer and enjoy frequent relaxation by including just a few essentials in your open-air space. With these 5 must haves for your outdoor bar, you’ll never want to spend time anywhere else!