Bring the fun times outside with an outdoor bar! It provides a convenient way to serve drinks to friends, but it can also provide additional seating and counter space on which to eat or enjoy the evening. Your bar can be as fancy or simple as you want—there are plenty of accessories you could add to make it more convenient and multi-functional, but even just a countertop bar can be quite helpful when entertaining guests.

Bars versus Counters
Though similar, there are some key differences in style between bars and counters that may sway your decision in one way or another. Bars tend to be tall and narrow—great for sitting at or enjoying drinks and snacks. Outdoor countertops are shorter, at the same height as standard kitchen ones. They also have a wider surface, giving you plenty of space for food and drink preparation and serving guests.

Placement of the Outdoor Bar?
Bars can be standalone or attached to counters or other outdoor kitchen pieces. When deciding where to install your bar, consider the type you want and what you intend to use it for most. If you plan to use it as a self-serving station for snacks during parties, you may want to place it relatively close to gathering places like the fire pit or poolside. It would be best to use it for food preparation and serving near the grill. A bar equipped with appliances like a wine fridge or sink will need to be situated close enough to the house so that the homeowner can run electricity and water to it. If you place the bar underneath a kitchen window, it will be easy to transfer dishes cooked inside to the counter outside.

Style and Materials
You can design your bar to match the style aesthetic of your backyard by being intentional about the materials it uses.
Stone: A bar built with stone works well in a backyard with a natural or spa-like style. The base should be constructed out of pavers or other block stones; then you can use quick-drying concrete to create a facade of beautiful flagstone, river rock, or other stylish stone. Top it off with a countertop of granite, slate, marble, soapstone, or quartzite to create a gorgeous bar.
Wood: If your backyard has more of a tropical or beachy style, a wood bar will suit it nicely. You achieve a more chic beachy look with shiplap, while weathered-looking boards give a more rustic feel. Keep in mind though, that wood requires more maintenance than stone materials to ensure it remains sealed (with a food-safe sealant) against water damage and retains its color over the years. Wooden bars should be kept away from grills, as the wood and varnish present a fire hazard.

Accessories for your Outdoor Bar
Besides the base and countertop, an excellent outdoor bar needs proper storage and accessories. Design your bar with plenty of shelves–even if you don’t plan to store materials there permanently, the shelves are a great way to keep your utensils, cups, etc., organized on the day of your party. Add a wine cooler to a permanent bar so that you don’t have to keep going back inside to get more drinks. Many people also opt for a sink to be installed to make rinsing glasses easier. The sink basin can double as a cooler if you fill it with ice and beverages.

West Coast Design Build Florida designs outdoor kitchens and outdoor living spaces for Sarasota area residents. If you are looking to create a beautiful backyard for entertaining, we are the call to make.