Outdoor Bars: Options and Ideas

Find out all you need to know about outdoor bars, so you can create a fun and functional hot spot in your outdoor living space.
Outdoor Kitchen at dusk with wood barstools, stone frame, and wood deck.


Outdoor Kitchen at dusk with wood barstools, stone frame, and wood deck.

Photo by: Neil Podoll

Neil Podoll

By: Sean McEvoy

If you're considering adding a bar to your outdoor living space, you'll want to browse the many options and ideas for outdoor bars first. You'll have lots of different styles and design approaches to choose from, but a little research will likely go a long way, and before you know it you'll be enjoying cocktails in your new outdoor bar.

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Your first task once you've decided to add an outdoor bar is to determine its location. Examine your deck, patio or outdoor living space, and think about things like foot traffic, where you want people to gather, and how much space you can devote to the bar without infringing on other focal points or dining/seating areas.

Once you've picked a spot, decide whether you want your outdoor bar to be a wet or dry bar. If it's a full wet bar, it'll need access to a water line, and probably electricity as well. A dry bar can get away without having these amenities, but it should probably feature storage space for coolers. Next up, choose the height and shape of your bar—do you want it to be level with other seating/fixtures, or taller, in a more traditional "bar with stools" style?

Speaking of style, now it's time to determine the look and feel of your outdoor bar. The classic tiki bar is certainly an option, but you'll have almost endless possibilities to consider in terms of materials and design styles for the bar top, stools and other design elements. Once you've chosen these, you'll just need to add beverages and your outdoor bar will be ready to host its first gathering.

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