How to Build an Outdoor Minibar

Build an outdoor bar complete with a miniature refrigerator, bottle opener and towel hooks.

More Bros Before Pros

DIY Outdoor Minibar 02:37

Dan and Tim Faires explain how to construct an outdoor-friendly minibar.
DIY Outdoor Fridge Bar

DIY Outdoor Fridge Bar

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Related To:

Materials and Tools

  • (6) 2x4 x 8' cedar boards
  • (11) 1x6 x 6' dog ear cedar fence pickets
  • mini fridge
  • bottle opener
  • stainless steel hooks
  • stainless steel towel bar
  • wood glue
  • 1-1/2" and 2-1/2" wood screws
  • 220-grit sanding paper
  • orbital sander
  • drill
  • 3/16" drill bit
  • measuring tape
  • speed square
  • pencil
  • ear and eye protection
  • miter saw
  • dust mask
  • scissors

Measure Fridge

Use a tape measure to determine the overall dimensions of your mini fridge, as it will affect the bar's overall design. Add a couple of inches to the width and depth to allow for proper ventilation — per the fridge instructions. Our fridge is 18” x 18” x 34” tall, but you can easily alter the design to accommodate a cube style mini fridge.

Measure Mini Refrigerator

Measure Mini Refrigerator

Using a tape measure, determine the overall dimensions of your mini-fridge, as it will dictate your design. You’ll want to add a couple of inches of width and depth to allow for proper ventilation- per the fridge instructions. Our fridge was 18”x18”x 34” tall but you can easily alter the design to accommodate a cube style mini-fridge.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Sketch Design

It’s always a good idea to sketch out your design first, so you can visualize the bar and tweak anything ahead of time.  It’s also a great place to jot down each board’s dimensions for your cut list.

Sketch Design

Sketch Design

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Cut Boards for the Frame 

Measure, mark and cut the 2x4 board to build out the frame of the bar. Our design called for the following: two 2x4 x 27” and two 2x4 x 19” for the bottom shelf and two 2x4 x 40" and 2x4 x 19" for the countertop.

Assemble Frame

Assemble the smaller bottom shelf frame with a speed square and wood glue and screws (Image 1). Always pre-drill before adding wood screws to avoid splitting the wood. Use the same method to assemble the countertop (Image 2). Lastly, add the 19” center brace (Image 3). 


Cut Legs

Measure, mark and cut four 2x4 x 42" legs. Using a speed square, mark a 1/2" on the end of each board. You’ll need these marks when you attach the legs to the frames.

Measure Legs

Measure Legs

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Attach Legs

On a flat surface, lay the legs out and align the 1/2" marks with the bottom shelf frame. Secure with wood glue and 2-1/3" wood screws (Image 1). Next, flip the bar upside down and line up the countertop frame with the legs, and secure. Make sure the tops of the legs are flush with the frame (Image 2).

Attach Front Apron 

Flip the bar right side up, then measure and mark for the front apron boards. The front apron will give the front of the bar a nice smooth fascia. Ours measures 2x4 x 13" and 2x4 x 19-3/4" (Image 1).  Secure to the countertop frame with wood screws (Image 2). 

Attach Nailer

Attach a 2x4 nailer board, so you’ll have something to nail the vertical planks of the bottom cabinet to. Ours measures 22-1/2" (Image 1). Secure using wood screws (Image 2).

Cut Pickets

Measure, mark and cut the picket boards for the bottom shelf, the back of the fridge cabinet and the sides. Cut four bottom and seven back boards measuring at 1x6 x 27" long each. Cut five side boards measuring at 1x6 x 38" (underside of the overhang) long each and five boards measuring at 1x6 x 42" long each. Cut five countertop boards measuring at 1x6 x 43" long each.

Measure Pickets

Measure Pickets

With the frame complete it’s time to measure, mark and cut the picket boards for the bottom shelf and back of the fridge cabinet, as well as the sides. The bottom & back boards measured 1”x6”x 27” long. The sides were 1”x6”x38” (underside of overhang) and 1”x6”x42”. The countertop boards measured 1”x6”x 43” long.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Install Bottom and Back Pickets

Using the 1-1/2" wood screws, secure the boards to the frame in a horizontal orientation (Image 1). Leave space in the back to run the fridge's power cord (Image 2).

Install Top Pickets

Start with the front board, and allow for a 1-1/2" overhang (Image 1). Secure using the 1-1/2" screws (Image 2). You may need to rip the last board depending on your dimensions.

Sand Wood

Sand the bar top and any rough areas using an orbital sander and 220-grit sanding paper.

Sand Wood

Sand Wood

With the bar framing and planking complete, give the top of the bar and any rough areas a thorough sanding using a 220-grit sanding paper.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Insert Mini Fridge

Insert the fridge, allowing room for proper ventilation and the power cord to pass through the cabinet.

Insert Refrigerator

Insert Refrigerator

With the bar in the desired location, insert the fridge, allowing for proper ventilation and the power cord to pass through the cabinet.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Tomas Espinoza/Flynnside Out Productions

Attach Bottle Opener and Hooks

Attach a towel bar, bottle opener and hooks to keep accessories handy.    
 
   

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