You might have a place to sit outside and sip drinks with your friends, but do you have a true outdoor home bar? The outdoor bar is a second living room, and when it’s done right, it’s the place where everyone wants to be. Here are the four things you need to create the perfect outdoor bar at your home:
The bar, of course
With power and water, you can install a minifridge, ice machine and sink. If you don’t have these, you’ll have to haul buckets and trays back and forth to the kitchen, which makes it very hard to be a laidback host. Plus, with an extra ice machine on hand, you won’t run the risk of emptying out your fridge and having to run to the store for more ice midevent.
There are so many different ways to get music into your speakers; I’ll just focus on the speakers themselves. You’ll want at least two weatherproof outdoor speakers with quality mounting brackets. A builtin amplifier is a good idea to make sure that you can fill the outdoor space with music, even when there’s a crowd of people talking. Four speakers, one in each corner, is an even better idea.
Caption: Outdoor speakers by Omaker $35 from Amazon
Did you know that you don’t always have to position speakers at ceiling or shoulderheight? Speakers in unexpected places are a pleasant surprise. Try hiding a speaker among plantings or even in a sculpture for a truly immersive auditory experience.
Lighting an outdoor space is a delicate art. Make sure that your walkways are lit with groundlevel footlights. I prefer solarpowered stake lights that are easy to position. The surface and workstation of your outdoor bar come next—you and your guests have to be able to see the food and drinks. Top your tables with candle lanterns with glass enclosures. Good ol’ tiki torches are a hit, too, if you can position them safely and you don’t expect kids or rowdy pets to be running around. Last, hang strings of tiny lights or paper lanterns to create a soft, romantic overhead glow.
Arguably just as important as the bar itself is your seating. Depending on how you and your friends will be using your outdoor bar, you’ll want to plan seating accordingly. Place matching barstools at your outdoor bar, they’re lowmaintenance and look great in pairs. Go for backless stools or armless stools if you want to encourage turnover of the seats. If you expect people to stay in their seats and hang out, choose padded stools with backs and arms.
Backless and armless stools are great for guests who want to get in and out frequently.
Stools with arms are great for guests who want to sit back and relax, enjoy the conversation! Scattering a few flat benches throughout the lawn area will encourage a natural flow and give guests the ability to move them as they wish. If you have space, set up a few intimate nooks
with twoperson seating options in the farther reaches of the outdoor space—go for Adirondack chairs, a wicker love seat, or even a hammock. Here’s a few examples of outdoor settings that inspire us (and hope to inspire you too!):
Now just add people
Once you have your outdoor bar and entertaining space set up, call your friends and family and relax! Add a firepot and an outdoor heater or two and you’ll be able to use your outdoor bar yearround. Cheers! Stephanie Bertha is a writer and coowner of BarstoolComforts.com, a site for everything exciting in outdoor bar stools and home accessories . She puts fun in furniture by creating memorable, unexpected and delightful places—indoors, online and outside.