Entertaining our friends, family, and loved ones outdoors has become more popular (and necessary) than ever in recent years. And what better way to give your outdoor oasis a makeover than with a backyard bar? While it might not be a necessity, a bar in your backyard can offer a new way to bring people together.
Before you get started, the first thing you need to consider is how serious you want your outdoor watering hole to be. Do you want to go with the more affordable tiki bar route that stocks some of the necessities (like glasses and liquor), but not all? Or do you want a fully-decked-out spirits station complete with a wine fridge, sink, and mixologist? Your budget and the size of your space will probably be big determining factors in your final decision. According to HomeAdvisor, costs can run anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the size and design features. And don't forget to think about the ambiance (speakers, TV, or twinkly lights, anyone?) you want to create in your entertaining space.
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Whatever route you take, rest assured that you'll be able to bring plenty of style to your outdoor hangout. From bohemian to farmhouse, these refreshing drink stations aim to please.
20 Outdoor Bar Ideas
1. Keep it poolside.
A bar that's accessible is always a good idea, so keep your watering hole close to the action. This poolside bar top is only footsteps away yet far enough to avoid unwanted splashing. The grill and a lounge-worthy seating area line the adjacent wall so you won't have to wander very far when it's time to eat. That makes this corner of the backyard an ideal hangout spot.
2. Opt for a tiki bar.
A tiki bar is a classic beach-inspired drinks station, but it doesn't have to be cheesy. This one photographed by Todd Selby flaunts a modern, all-white appearance that feels a bit fancier than your average hut made of straw and bamboo. Stools made of weathered wood act as the perfect place to sit while enjoying your beverage of choice.
3. Showcase patterned tile.
Follow the lead of Julia Katrine and add some serious visual interest to your outdoor bar with the help of patterned tile. The black and gray motif below the counter immediately draws the eye. At the same time, the vibrant orange barstools and cabinet inject a fun and summery pop of color into the otherwise neutral space.
4. Invest in a pergola.
There are a couple of staples that every outdoor bar should have: cool, refreshing cocktails and overhead shade. Enter the pergola, also known as one of the most popular patio covers on the market. Not only will the outdoor structure provide a much-needed respite from the sun, but it also looks good. We love the vacay-inspired look of this setup by Intimate Living Interiors, complete with an earthy palette and woven bell-shaped pendant lights.
5. Add open shelving to the mix.
While an outdoor bar doesn't call for a vast amount of storage space, a few shelves might come in handy. Use them to stash your stylish bar utensils and perhaps a potted plant or two. The team over at Brandon Architects shows us how it's done with the help of this modern design.
6. Go for a monochromatic scheme.
Dark accents can really make an outdoor bar pop. This swanky design from Studio Atelier looks especially bold against a white backdrop. The black and white tile located on the back panel of the bar ties the scheme together and adds loads of visual interest. A pair of swivel barstools and lush greenery complete the scene.
7. Challenge yourself to a DIY bar.
Don't have $10,000 for an extravagant outdoor bar? Not to worry. This DIY Murphy bar by Hunker contributor Trisha Sprouse is super affordable and can be completed in a weekend. Plus, it's the perfect solution for a small patio. Pull up a few stools and celebrate a job well done with a cocktail (or two).
8. Add boho flair.
This delightful outdoor bar by Savannah and Casey from Hey Wanderer is bursting with bohemian flair. The fun hangout — made up of natural wood, lush foliage, and colorful patterns — is the perfect spot to sip mojitos and catch up with friends.
9. Add an umbrella to provide shade.
Outdoor structures like pergolas are great and all, but they might not fit into your space or your budget. However, that doesn't mean you're out of luck and will have no choice but to sip your libations under the sun's unforgiving rays. Follow the lead of this charming bar by SVZ Interior Design and put a large umbrella to use. Select a color that will complement the rest of your space.
10. Transform a shed.
Like many homeowners, you're probably using your backyard shed to store lawn care and gardening supplies or equipment. Well, we think that space could be put to better use as ... you guessed it, a bar. The team over at Fig Landscapes seemingly agrees, as they successfully transformed this shed into an outdoor pub worthy of entertaining. The corrugated metal walls and wood awning window impart rustic charm that feels right at home in the great outdoors.
11. Keep it light and bright.
A white farmhouse-style structure and light-colored deck tiling keep this outdoor bar, spotted by Design Indulgence, feeling bright and airy. Darker accents such as the countertops, barstools, and wall sconces punctuate the space and add a welcome dose of contrast, while the wall-mounted TV pretty much guarantees this watering hole will never have an empty seat.
12. Keep it small and portable with a bar cart.
Keep your backyard bar design simple with a rolling cart. It's the perfect addition for small outdoor spaces, and better yet, it's portable so you can move it around as needed. Stock it with some of your favorite liquor, mixers, glassware, garnishes, and a bottle opener, as demonstrated in this quick and easy DIY project by Hunker contributor Caroline Burke. To inject a little more personality and a hint of color, consider painting the cart before you put it to work. Some stirrers and a sign displaying "happy hour" or the name of your signature cocktail are nice touches as well.
13. Embrace an indoor/outdoor bar.
A backyard bar can technically be indoors, so long as it opens to the outdoors. For example, this setup by Raili Clasen features a large awning window that opens to a low countertop and three tree stump stools. Gone are the days of missing out on the fun while you're inside mixing drinks.
14. Mirror your favorite sports bar.
This outdoor bar from Taverns to Go is also the perfect location to watch the big game. Blue siding and a black pergola with a corrugated metal roof pair well with the industrial barstools. String lights ensure that you'll be able to watch through overtime. Throw in some sports memorabilia and you're all set.
15. Carve out space in your outdoor kitchen.
If you're already lucky enough to have an outdoor kitchen, you might as well carve out a little space to store your bar essentials. This farmhouse-inspired culinary space from Wright Design has loads of storage space, not to mention countertop seating and a TV. All that's missing is your favorite cocktail.
16. Hang twinkly string lights.
This backyard space from Native Son Design Studio was made for entertaining well after the sun goes down. The indoor/outdoor bar is part of a larger space, complete with lounge seating, a fire pit, and a grill. Edison bulb string lights and oversize asymmetrical pavers add a touch of whimsy to the inviting space.
17. Incorporate cabinetry for storage.
Colorful navy blue cabinetry in this backyard design by MelBean Interiors adds a nice pop to an otherwise neutral space, not to mention plenty of storage to stash your bar essentials. A window that slides open to the interior offers a quick and easy way to move items from one space to the next without much effort.
18. Design a garden bar.
This clever metal barrel container garden from Jake Moss Designs offers the perfect atmosphere for a cozy outdoor bar. Vibrant yellow seating echoes the surrounding flowers and injects a cheerful note, while the shingle-clad bar-meets-BBQ setup adds rustic charm. Garden party, anyone?
19. Embrace bright colors.
When blogger Jilly Jilly built her own DIY backyard bar, it gave her the perfect opportunity to experiment with vibrant colors that match her bright personality. Not only do the hot pink barstools with patterned seats complement the turquoise bar, but the bold combo also acts as a visual reminder to have fun. String lights and a garland under the counter complete the playful scene.
20. Frame your hot tub.
It's always a good idea to build off of what you already have. That's exactly what Fiddle Leaf Interiors did by turning their hot tub into a bar space. Now, those taking a dip will have a place to rest their drinks, and anyone who prefers to stay dry can still get in on the conversation. A chandelier overhead and striped rugs add a touch of glamour to the outdoor oasis.