Outdoor Kitchen Bar Ideas

Adding an outdoor bar is the finishing touch on your outdoor kitchen or backyard entertaining space.
HGTV Going Yard Episode 103 - Saticoy

HGTV Going Yard Episode 103 - Saticoy

Scenic of the outdoor bar area at the home of Matt and Zena Welker which underwent a makeover that turned their dust farm full of dead fruit trees and weeds which has been overrun by their dogs, into a fun filled tropical retreat for the couple and their dogs to entertain friends and their dogs with a relaxing place to cook and drink as well as play games. The unsightly eyesore of a garage, which had no doors on it, was painted and had doors put in place. The perimeter wall and the back of the house were painted subtle colors to bring it all together and get rid of the blah or awkward colors that were there. The back of the yard was sectioned off for the dogs to have their own play area, complete with a custom made doggie duplex and a smaller, more functional trampoline, rather than the oversized wedding gift trampoline that was falling apart in the yard. The dust bowl was replaced by a yard full of sod, which doubles as the play yard for horseshoes, and bean bag tosses. There is now a hot tub for the couple to enjoy their private time together and a deck and pergola to provide shade on the back of the house along with an outdoor bar. The yard now has an eclectic style, with an element of tropics as well as fun and games.

Photo by: Jamie Rector

Jamie Rector

Adding a bar to your outdoor kitchen or backyard gathering spot should be as practical as it is fun. We have some tips on how to maximize your space and your budget by implementing some great outdoor kitchen bar ideas.

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Think about the amount of space and the location where you want to add a bar. If you have a small space like a patio and want your addition to be flexible, something like a bar cart on casters and wheels might be perfect. This will require no plumbing and little maintenance.

Converting an outdoor kitchen island into a bar is another great option for small spaces or existing outdoor kitchens. Increase the height and overhang of the counter on the backside of the island to create a new seating and serving area. The bar at your corner pub is typically 42" from the floor and stool seat height averages 30" so be sure to measure accordingly.

If you have a ceiling or overhang where your bar will be, add pendant or track lighting above. Make the bar a focal point by adding soft lighting under the bar, as well. No matter what your current layout is, making the bar the central location in your outdoor entertaining space is a good idea.

There are several items you'll definitely want to have if you're looking for the full outdoor wet bar experience. A typical bar includes a sink, beverage and glassware storage, and possibly a drink chiller and ice storage. There are several options when it comes to balancing these components for your specific needs.

When it comes to sinks, stainless steel is probably the way to go. Stainless steel is easy to clean and has a classic look. A single-basin is plenty if you have a dishwasher or a smaller space. If you want to be able to wash and sanitize dishes in your outdoor kitchen bar, opt for a two or three basin sink. One basin may also double as ice storage for chilling drinks. A mini refrigerator or wine chiller is another good idea for an outdoor bar, especially if you entertain outside often. When it comes to lighting, electrical and plumbing, we recommend consulting a contractor before you get started. Depending on your layout, the budget for adding these features can fluctuate.

As with all things outdoors, consider the differences in climate compared to your indoor space. Heat, cold and humidity can affect every part of your outdoor kitchen bar experience. Choose materials that stand up to all the elements. Also think about your glassware and other accessories in an outdoor environment to minimize accidents and headache.

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