16 Cheers-Worthy Outdoor Bar Ideas

cement block wooden outdoor bar
Photo: Matthew Clark

Few things are better than a cold drink with your favorite people in the summertime. When it comes to entertaining, up your game by adding an outdoor bar (it can be portable!). With our collection of best outdoor bar ideas, your backyard will become the go-to hangout for the season.

01 of 16

Create a Cocktail Cabinet

yellow and black outdoor bar area
Marty Baldwin

Don't feel left out if your backyard or patio is too small to have a built-in outdoor bar. Instead, add a weatherproof cabinet to your outdoor oasis, and fill it with your favorite summer glassware and utensils. Add an ice bucket and serving essentials to the top when guests are over for easy entertaining.

02 of 16

Extend Your Outdoor Kitchen

stone outdoor bar and kitchen built in grill
Peter Krumhardt

Perhaps the easiest way to include an outdoor bar is to sneak in a few extra square feet from an outdoor kitchen. Particularly for expansive built-in versions such as this kitchen, spots for storage, serving, and cooling off drinks are a must. Tubs of ice, glasses, and a variety of beverages will easily fit on this roomy stone bar.

03 of 16

Repurpose a Rolling Cart

metal drinks cart outdoor patio
John Granen

Transform a stainless-steel kitchen prep station into a portable drink station. Multiple levels and shelves are perfect for storing and serving. Tubs of ice and drink dispensers make it easy for guests to grab their favorite drink. Add string lights for ambience and simpler serving after dark.

04 of 16

Build an Outdoor Bar

cement block wooden outdoor bar
Matthew Clark

This DIY bar requires just six materials (including inexpensive concrete blocks) and a few hours of working time to complete. The clever design features nooks for napkins and small planters within the base. Sturdy and weather-ready, the DIY outdoor bar works well for informal gatherings, birthday parties, buffets, and more.

05 of 16

Pay Attention to Details

rustic outdoor table with metal chairs brick bar
Bob Stefko

To blend an outdoor bar into its surroundings, repeat or complement your home's existing materials. Pops of red tie together multiple areas in this backyard, including a fire pit, seating, grilling station, and outdoor bar. Built-in appliances look intentional by using the same bricks as the house.

06 of 16

Make It Pool-Friendly

rolling mimosas cart by swimming pool
Adam Albright

Your outdoor bar isn't limited to the patio. Take it poolside with a bar cart. Ensure your beverage station has wheels for easy transportation, and trade your serving pieces for plastic or melamine drinkware to avoid broken glass on a slippery pool deck. Make a splash by adding some fun decor and snacks.

07 of 16

Establish Multiple Bar Zones

spanish style outdoor oven and bar
Ed Gohlich

An outdoor bar can include more than just a countertop and mini-fridge. Encourage people to spill over to different spots throughout your yard for more relaxed, intimate conversations. Supply interconnected spaces that shift in layout or material to indicate a different function. Sit at the bar, sip wine at the dining table, or cozy up to a fire in this multi-functional space.

08 of 16

Create a Bar Cart Station

outdoor sitting area with bar cart and artwork
Matthew Benson

If you don't have a need for a permanent outdoor bar, rolling racks outfitted with serveware can be a great solution. Here, removable trays help items move from cart to table, and baskets carry items from inside to out in just seconds. Baskets with handles help tidy drinks and make them easy to carry.

09 of 16

Ensure Easy Indoor Access

outdoor patio filled with plants picnic table brick bar
Kathryn Gamble

Traffic flow can be a concern, especially in a small outdoor space that combines a grilling station and bar. When counterspace fills up from cooking or entertaining, easy entry indoors is essential for setting down plates and glasses. It also ensures a clear path to the restroom for guests. Here, French doors swing open to an outdoor dining table to connect the indoors with the patio.

10 of 16

Keep It Casual

outdoor bar with fireplace
Ed Gohlich

Sure, outdoor bars can be as ornate as you'd like, but they also work equally well in a simple setup. This one has all the necessary elements—seating, storage, and serving. The long concrete slab bar is perfect for entertaining large gatherings by the fire. Plus, it's easy to clean and can handle almost any type of weather.

11 of 16

Invest in Built-Ins

outdoor kitchen near white porch
Brie Williams

Even in small, budget-smart outdoor bars, a built-in might make sense, especially if your entertaining area serves multiple purposes. A fridge works well for this cooking-bar combo setup, with space for both drinks and often-used condiments. If you have two separate areas, locate the bar's fridge in a central spot for easy access.

12 of 16

Create a Covered Outdoor Bar

outdoor patio with large bar, seating area, and fountain
Ed Gohlich

Some home outdoor bars are covered, which helps to increase their usability even if the weather takes a turn for the worse. One way to capture the sunlight without sacrificing overhead protection is a pergola. It offers pretty rays and natural light for both the bar and the adjacent conversation area.

13 of 16

Consider Flexible Amenities

cooler with ice and beer
Greg Scheidemann

While built-ins are nice in an outdoor bar, they aren't necessary and can be cost-prohibitive. Fortunately, there are outdoor bar options that offer both portability and function. Here, a cleverly disguised chest cooler sits inside a large movable cart. The cart also offers extra storage with a few open shelves.

14 of 16

Start Small

white shelving near grill
Peter Krumhardt

An expansive outdoor bar might be in your home's master plan, but if you don't have the budget or space for it just yet, consider portable, less permanent options. Repurpose a small kitchen cart with a few decorative touches as well as practical updates (a plastic wine rack, buckets for bar tools, and a cutting board). Move the bar indoors during the colder months.

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Add in Extras

outdoor bar lighting and fan
Emily Minton-Redfield

There are so many options for updating outdoor bar spaces to make them more enjoyable. Ceiling fans, lights, and outdoor heaters are just a few; all are available in weather-safe options and in a multitude of styles. In addition, exterior drapes made from weather-resistant fabric can help shield family and friends from intense summer rays.

16 of 16

Set a Theme

food table with grass skirt white cart
Adam Albright

An outdoor bar is a great chance to put your personality or entertaining style on display. This exuberant setup follows a tropical theme, complete with a grass skirt around the buffet table. Small decor items like vibrant plants and leis boost the decorating theme.

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