December 11, 2019

How to Add an Outdoor Bar

Summer is about to give a boost to the time spent outdoors. And you know what it means: drinks al fresco. And yes, of course, you probably have some bars and restaurants nearby that would happily serve you drinks on their terrace – for a price. But why not reduce spending on drinking your outdoor drink (and worry about parking or commuting) by creating your own outdoor bar? Want to seize the summer? Use this guide to set up an outdoor bar that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

Find your place

First, you must choose a place for your bar. Ideally, it should be located at a location where sun and shade are available. This may mean adding one or two patio umbrellas or positioning your bar under a tree, awning or pergola. You want to give yourself the opportunity to keep drinks in the shade while enjoying the sun if you wish.

Then look for flat terrain. The drinks are overflowing. It is important to have a flat place to set up your bar to keep things as stable as possible.

Store your bar outdoors

Now, let’s move on to fun things! The configuration of your outdoor bar can transform your outdoor space, give you more space for your receptions and help you recover vitamin D and fresh air during the most temperate months. But you will only use it if you have what you need to prepare a drink quickly and easily. Here’s what you should gather for a well-stocked bar.

Service area

First, you will need a place to put everything away. You can buy a weather resistant bar (like these Wayfair options) if you really want to prepare for success, but a simple service cart can do the trick. In the end, you just want somewhere where you can put a few bottles and pitchers without spilling anything.

Storage space weather resistant

That said, you have to wonder where you are going to put everything when you do not use your bar outdoors. And, of course, you can pull everything from the inside, but you’ll be much more likely to use your bar regularly if that’s easy. A small, weatherproof cabinet may be enough to protect fragile or knockout items when your bar is not in use.

Cold room

Nobody wants a lukewarm drink. Make sure you have a place where you can keep the cold and where you can catch the ice. It can be a mini-fridge, a cooler or even a bucket filled with ice cubes when you use your bar. If you go for the coolers or buckets route, consider adding an ice bucket to the mix so you can easily grab clean ice when making a cocktail.

Barware resistant to breakage

Even if your outdoor bar is only a few meters from your house, it is still exposed to the elements. The wind can destroy the best prepared shots, especially when the glass is involved. Consider plastic or metal cups to give durability to your glassware (and avoid the hassle of trying to sweep broken glass from uneven outer surfaces). Moscow mules cups, like those of Crate & Barrel, whose metal finishes far exceed the standard copper, can be an elegant and durable addition to your bar.


To get the most out of your bar, you will want to be able to put yourself at ease. Whether you’re adding bar stools around a raised table, Adirondack chairs or a few benches, adding thoughtful touches can make all the difference. Outdoor pillows and some blankets (Mexican blankets are ideal for their warmth and durability) can extend the hours of use of your bar outdoors until late in the evening. If your outdoor bar is exposed enough, choose a weatherproof storage space that can accommodate a basket of these comfort keys to protect and keep them clean.

Lighting and more

Speaking of evening fun in your bar, do not forget the lighting. There are tons of solar options that prevent you from needing electricity at your bar. Lemongrass candles can add a nice ambient glow and keep pests away. You have a choice, but do not forget to think about the transition of your bar from day to night. Of course, we all like to socialize during the day on the summer weekends, but most of the use of your bar will probably decrease later in the day.

Now that you’ve started creating the atmosphere, we have some extra tips to help you feel like your outdoor bar is in an oasis.

The Serve

It’s time to have fun! You went to work to bring in your bar. Now you can relax and enjoy. If you are hosting friends or family, make your life easier by taking some steps to prepare yourself.

If you do not have a refrigerator in your outdoor bar, drink drinks on the ice a few hours before people arrive. Even if you do, be sure to have clean ice accessible for cocktails. Combine it with a spoon or tongs to serve easily.
Consider making a large pitcher of a signature cocktail to minimize the time you spend in front of the bar. Then offer wine, beer and strong alcohol with basic mixers like sparkling water, tonic, lemons and limes, and you're done!
If you have outdoor candles, set a reminder to turn them on your phone and turn off ten minutes before people arrive.
Drape blankets on your seats so that people know they are free to use them.

Then relax and enjoy! One of the best things about an outdoor bar is the ease with which it facilitates accommodation – and cleaning. Someone makes a mess? No problem. You can just water it all later.


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