How to Create an Outdoor Bar Setup

The warm spring and summer months ahead of us may have you thinking of daiquiris on the deck, of potables on the porch, of vino on the veranda. Okay, how about just an ice cold beer while you grill with friends. If entertaining outdoors is your thing, then what could be more beautiful than an exterior kitchen/bar set up? But you don’t have to have a big time budget to fulfill your dream of an outside bar.

An outside bar can be as basic and inspiring as a crafted piece of wood laid over wine casks with a few wall cabinets for the mixologist’s necessary tools. For the more traditional look, how about fully backed cabinetry (no support wall needed) with an elegant granite countertop and barstools? Of course the true outdoor entertainment enthusiast may want to go for a full kitchen set up, with a sink, coolers (or refrigerator), cooking devices, and more.

Whatever your budget and tastes, there are some basic decisions you will want to make in creating your ideal outdoor bar set up:

  1. Budget: The money you have available to invest will certainly dictate the size and style of the space you create as well as the appliances, cabinetry, and styles you use.
  2. Space: You’ll need to decide where your ideal setting for your outdoor bar is, which may depend on water supply, the size of your design, proximity to your kitchen, the size of your yard, and even spatial relation to the sun and to yard features.
  3. To water or not to water: One question will be whether to install a sink or not. Sinks can be tied into existing plumbing or even connected to outside spigots. You will need to locate your bar where a water source is accessible if you want a sink, and if you need to run new water lines, hiring a professional plumber is your best choice.
  4. Choosing cabinetry: If you have a supporting wall, you can install wall cabinets to hold your glasses, plates, bottles, and more. Utilize quality outdoor bar cabinets with built-in backing that give you design freedom to create custom bar seating areas with overhanging surfaces for plenty of knee room. Just be sure to accent with attractive bar corbels to support the overhang.
  5. Outdoor Coolers: You can go with a full kitchen look by including an outdoor refrigerator or for more of a wine bar look by choosing wine coolers or a glass front beer cooler. But you can also enjoy smaller scale bar settings by purchasing basic but attractive wooden beer coolers.

Creating an outdoor bar comes down to available space, budget, your desired uses, and your particular sense of style. Just know that you can make any outdoor space into an extension of your home suitable for a little relaxation or a lot of entertaining fun. From a simple patio set up with a cabinet and a cooler to elaborate stone freestanding bar kitchens, the outdoor bar makes entertaining feel like an adventure.