Pull up a seat to your own backyard bar!
It's safe to say no outdoor bar has the same comfort level as the one in your own backyard. If you recently traded the city for the suburbs and are missing your neighborhood watering hole, we have just the inspiration you need to create an at-home bar to gather around outside this summer. It's like the famous Cheers theme: Sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name. (Hot take: Sam and Diane walked so Jim and Pam could run). From booze on wheels to resort-worthy arrangements, these outdoor bar ideas will help you create the perfect spot for alfresco happy hour, craft brews, and everything in between.
1 CREATE AN OUTDOOR OASIS
If you have the space, there's no better way to say "Let's party!" than with a totally unique standalone bar. Here, designers Justin Hafen and John Hurley transformed their own backyard into the place to be with a boozy ADU (that's additional drinking unit), complete with a four-top and custom neon sign.
2 PUT YOUR FAVES ON TAP
Calling all hopheads: A personalized tap is the finishing touch your outdoor bar craves. Instead of cracking a cold one every time you head outside, look to install an under-counter keg—like in this alfresco bar designed by LH.Designs—filled with your favorite brew for a fresh pint whenever the mood strikes.
3 ADD SOME ENTERTAINMENT
When designing your ideal outdoor bar space, spend some time considering what your favorite indoor joints have in common. Besides endless bowls of pretzels, they probably all have some form of entertainment, right? If gazing out at your birdhouse doesn't quite do it for you, add an outdoor television or weatherproof pool table to keep the good times rolling.
4 TRY A BOLD TILE
For a design-worthy addition, cover your outdoor bar with bold tile. Here, the team behind Studio Lifestyle relied on an eye-catching black and white design for a chic spot to sip. Pro tip: Cement tiles are particularly well-suited to this application, thanks to their durable nature.
5 MAXIMIZE INDOOR-OUTDOOR FLOW
You'll feel like a mixology pro slinging drinks at an open-air bar that perfectly marries indoor-outdoor living. Here, accordion-fold windows easily open to allow for a convenient pass-through for food and drinks, while a slim trough cut into the countertop can be stocked with ice (and copious amounts of rosé).
6 FAKE THE REAL DEAL
If you don't have the budget (or desire) to invest in a full-blown outdoor bar, don't fret—you can still party under the sun with help from a clever piece of outdoor furniture. Look for a mobile island or a piece dedicated to prepping and service, like this trough that includes a spot for ice and room to mix drinks and slice up garnishes.
7 INCORPORATE RESORT-WORTHY DETAILS
Channel the best vacation you've ever had by bringing some of those luxe resort vibes to your own backyard. Design accents like chic pendant lights, comfy bar stools, and even high-end glassware can go a long way in ensuring your backyard escape feels like a five-star resort. Not included: your favorite resort bartender with a generous pour. Sorry.
8 COZY UP TO A COUNTERTOP
An outdoor bar doesn't have to come with a full renovation (and an enormous budget). Instead of breaking the bank, look for clever opportunities, like placing a small countertop slab opposite an extra-wide window like designer Erin Martin did here.
9 MAKE IT A DOUBLE
Take things up a level with a double-height island that makes room for work and play. The lower counter is the perfect spot for prepping BBQ chicken or slicing up fruit for sangria, while the top level is the ideal height for a set of standout bar stools—and your signature mojitos.
10 WHEEL OUT SOME FUN
Small spaces need to function in a way that allows them to pull double–or even triple—duty, meaning your "outdoor bar" area might also have to be a dinner party zone and a spot for daytime toddler water play. One way to make it work? A mobile bar cart that lets the good times roll—and can just as easily be cleared away to make room for an after-dinner dance party.
11 INCLUDE SOME COZY COMFORTS
When decorating and designing any outdoor space, it's important to remember to include some creature comforts of the indoors, lest your space read as cold and utilitarian. Here, padded stools and a stylish rug—both realized in outdoor-friendly materials—help warm up an outdoor bar and kitchen space so that all feel welcome.