Outdoor bar ideas: 33 stylish ways to enjoy laid-back drinks alfresco
On the lookout for outdoor bar ideas? These inspiring designs will give your garden get-togethers the wow factor
These outdoor bar ideas are just the ticket if you want to elevate your garden parties or bring a holiday vibe to your plot. Not to mention, it's so much more convenient to have a chic drinks set-up right on your doorstep for weekend celebrations.
There are loads of styles to choose from – whether you go for clever furniture with integrated ice buckets, DIY structures, or portable trolleys that can be wheeled out as and when needed. And, if you're a fan of alfresco living, a built-in garden bar makes the perfect accompaniment to outdoor kitchen ideas.
Whichever design you go for, it will definitely make a stylish and well-used feature of your yard. You'll be inviting the girls round for Friday cocktails in no time.
Outdoor bar ideas: 33 designs for enjoying drinks in style
We've rounded up some gorgeous looks for all styles and budgets, to help you find the bar that suits you best. You'll also find plenty of options for smaller gardens, too – proving that outdoor bar ideas are a great addition to any sized plot.
1. Go pretty with pastels
Pastels are always a good choice when it comes to garden color schemes, and make a fabulous shade for outdoor bar ideas. We adore this cotton-candy pink against a fresh mint backdrop – it's full of fun and sets the tone for a cocktail or two perfectly.
Potted cacti, trailing foliage, and pretty glassware add to the playful scene and make the most of the different levels and drawers.
Try upcycling an old, lacklustre desk with a tin of paint for a similar look – our guide to painting garden furniture will help you get started.
2. Try a glass-topped circular table
This garden bar table seems to have it all: a glass top for easy clean-up of spills, an integrated ice bucket for keeping drinks cool, and a central parasol for shading guests from the sun's glare. Plus, the circular design feels sociable and makes it easy for everyone to budge up if you need to bring in more chairs.
Outdoor-proof rattan adds an attractively textural finish too, making it a chic feature for anyone's patio space. Plus, rattan is totally on trend don't you know, and features in our garden trends gallery.
3. Make your own mini bar
If you're after affordable outdoor bar ideas and are a little short on space, then how about opting for this DIY design?
You only need a few basic materials, a handful of tools, and a dry afternoon to put it together. The resulting piece will be a great talking point and will offer everything you need for a classy beverage or two. And once the party's over, you can simply close it back up – its slimline design means it won't take up much space when not in use.
Looking for more brilliant do-it-yourself builds? You can learn how to build a pallet bench with our guide.
4. Keep cozy with a fire pit table
Summer inevitably turns into fall. But whilst the temperatures turn cooler and the hours of daylight shorten, you can still host an elegant alfresco drinks party if you have an integrated fire pit in your bar table.
Opt for gas-fuelled designs for quick, easy, and smoke-free results. The flickering flames will bring a cozy, romantic feel to any outdoor occasion and will keep conversations flowing long into the evening.
These chic stools are stackable too, which is great news if you've got a smaller plot.
Looking for more fire pit ideas to make the most of your yard all year round? You'll find lots of lovely looks in our feature.
5. Create a living room vibe outdoors
A garden bar is a must-have for outdoor living space ideas – whether you have a deck or patio to position it on.
This small yet stylish design evokes vacation vibes with its natural textures. And along with the living wall backdrop and funky features around it, the whole scene is nothing short of fun and enticing.
We particularly love the use of a garden mirror and mantel piece to playfully recreate an indoor vibe. Meanwhile, soft textiles, including decorative grasses and macramé bunting, give an extra dose of character.
6. Bring sunshine to your space with a tiki-style bar
Speaking of vacation vibes, why not go all out, save on the air miles and transform your garden into a paradise with tropical outdoor bar ideas? A rattan-style set-up with thatch-inspired roof is just what you need for a laid-back, beachy vibe.
Pop a palm or two nearby and add a string of festoon lights for a welcoming glow after dark. And for a grown-up take on the theme, keep colors neutral and materials natural.
All that's left to do is rustle up a piña colada – you'll be in holiday-mode before you know it.
7. Set up a lemonade stand
Not all bars need to be boozy. A pretty lemonade stand like this is perfect for refreshing guests of all ages on a hot afternoon, and is simple (and inexpensive) to recreate.
Add citrus slices and plenty of ice to a glass drinks dispenser, then surround with milk bottles topped with colorful paper straws for a delightful finishing touch. It might not be a permanent fixture, but it's a perfect solution for a garden party.
8. Add a vintage feel with reclaimed objects
Another cheap and cheerful approach to an outdoor bar is to use reclaimed objects as ice buckets. Old tin baths, barrels, or planters can bring a vintage feel to a set-up and will provide ample space for keeping bottles chilled. Keep an eye out in local thrift stores or online marketplaces for treasures.
For a special occasion, position it close to a table decorated with linens, fruit for slicing, and perhaps a posy of freshly-cut blooms for a final flourish.
9. Opt for chic and small storage
Need your outdoor bar to fit in with your small garden ideas? Something petite yet perfectly formed like this may be the solution.
There's so much to love about it, including the on-trend rattan (available in multiple hues), the practical handle for easy maneuverability, and the neat shelving for organizing your glasses and snack bowls. And, the glass top lifts up to reveal an ice bucket, so you'll never have to endure a warm glass of bubbly again.
And once the party's over, you can simply wheel it back indoors. However, it's no problem if you leave it outside – it's designed to be both weather and rust resistant.
10. Create a pretty vignette with a portable trolley
If you'd prefer to make more of a display with your portable bar, opt for an open design like this one. After all, pretty glasses and interesting bottles can make a lovely vignette, and it will make it easier for guests to pick their tipple of choice.
We particularly like the contrasting tones and vintage-inspired aesthetic and think it would make a great centerpiece for any outdoor celebration. Note the sturdy compartments on the lower section too, which will keep wine bottles in place even when wheeling the trolley across your patio.
11. Combine with a covered kitchen
For all-weather use, you can't go far wrong with a garden room or two. This one hosts a kitchen set-up, for cooking up a storm no matter the season. And the large window not only opens up the space to make it feel more sociable, but it also doubles up as a bar when stools are tucked neatly below.
A table nearby provides additional seating for larger occasions. And, we think the blend of natural timber and cool gray gives the space an elegantly understated yet contemporary feel. Pots of mint are a great addition too – the leaves are perfect for popping into summer drinks, potato salads, or desserts.
12. Add plenty of character with salvaged wood
This design is built using salvaged wood, and as a result, it positively oozes with character and charm. Carefully crafted to follow the grain, it's adorned with knots and gnarls which only add to the rustic vibe.
What's more, the type of wood chosen for this design is teak, which if you didn't know already, is pretty much a 'super-wood'. It’s resistant to pests, bad weather, mould and mildew, and turns a pretty, silvery shade with age (although special oils can be applied to maintain its honeyed hue).
Looking for more interesting additions to add to your space? There's plenty to get you inspired in our garden table ideas feature.
13. Just add checks
Even the most pared-back, contemporary plots can benefit from a little bit of oomph. So, why not use your bar stools to make a statement against more subtle features? These designs offer just the right amount of eccentricity with their vivid accents of turquoise.
Lacquered legs and aged-brass details (just out of shot) up the level of sophistication and let the bold pattern really do the talking. Comfy and stylish, what's not to love?
14. Go for clean lines
If you're more than happy sticking to a minimal vibe, then turquoise checks might be a little overboard for your outdoor bar ideas. However, a monochrome palette paired with smooth finishes and clean lines can be a statement in itself.
It's an uber-modern look that will never grow tired. But, to add a touch more warmth to the futuristic scene, use warmer tones for your bar accessories – take this copper-colored ice bucket, for example.
Integrate a pizza oven further down the counter to boost your evening experience even further. That way, you'll be all set for a stylish pizza party out in the fresh air.
And, if you're swooning over the oh-so-on-trend black-painted fence above, then you'll definitely want to take a look at our garden fence ideas for lots more inspiration.
15. Make the most of your she shed
Love our she shed ideas? Then you'll already know how the humble shed can be transformed into a fabulous garden retreat. And sure, this space can be used for painting or reading, but it can also be turned into a stylish garden bar.
Add a counter top, a couple of sleek bar stools, and the all-important drinks, and you've got a perfect party set-up on your hands. Don't forget to accessorize to finish the look – we love these hanging metal planters whilst the outdoor rug makes the space feel even more welcoming.
A portable bar cart nearby offers an additional place to pop an ice bucket or extra glasses. And, if you don't have room for the entire shed, it's a mini-sized bar solution all by itself.
16. Go sophisticated with gray hues
If you love a minimal look, then opt for pared-back, sophisticated designs. This set-up looks gorgeous with its accents of gold detailing, and complements the surrounding garden beautifully. It's a great addition to a modern garden.
Plus, the gray-hued fence panel offers a sense of privacy as well as defining the zone from the rest of the plot. You can find more garden privacy ideas in our dedicated feature.
17. Frame the zone with decorative wall panels
This trick can be tried whatever style of bar you've gone for, whether it's something beach-themed like this one, or a more minimal set-up. Either way, ornate wall panels positioned either side will enhance the sense of style and help to define the zone.
They're a simple and effective way to give a dull wall or fence a pick-me-up, too. And if you're not sure if they fit your theme, you could always use garden mirrors instead – a great way to expand on the sense of space. Don't forget about trellised panels too, which are especially lovely when adorned with scented climbing plants.
18. Add a sleek stone bar for a luxurious look
Looking for outdoor bar ideas that simply ooze with elegance? Sip your drinks in style with a polished stone bar counter – perfect as a more permanent addition to your outdoor kitchen. Go for a light color palette and pair with subtle bamboo textures for an airy, luxury-resort-like feel.
And if you really want to bring some extra pizzazz to your outdoor bar, then add a bar tap – that way you can always have an ice-cold drink to hand.
19. Opt for a cleverly-designed coffee table
When it comes to your outdoor bar ideas, select your garden furniture wisely – the right choice can make all the difference to how you use your space. This ingenious outdoor coffee table shown above has an incorporated ice bucket. Meaning, you can lounge on the sofa with a perfectly chilled bottle always at arm's reach.
And that's not all – as a bonus point, the ice bucket has a neat cover, so you can use the whole surface when not chilling your drinks.
20. Embrace an island vibe
Love the vibe of tropical garden ideas? Then this may well be the outdoor bar design for you.
Bamboo sides and a traditional-style roof add to the exotic vibe, which is then brought to life with brightly colored accessories. We love the neon-pink chairs and tiki-style lights nearby too, making this the perfect spot to entertain guests and get the party started.
Invest in pineapple-shaped cups to fill with cocktails and add a flamingo ornament or two, and you'll be all set for a night to remember.
21. Boost the ambience with a light-up table
If a tropical theme isn't for you, then how about going for a chic bistro set instead? But the sleek table shown above has a contemporary twist – it lights up! It's a fun touch to a timeless classic, plus will up the ambience with its soft glow. There's plenty more illumination inspiration in our garden lighting ideas feature.
And if you've got the space, pop a raised planter nearby full of different types of herbs. That way, you can easily add leaves or flowers to your favorite G&T to give it a botanical boost, and it'll look stylish too.
22. Combine an ice bucket with a side table
Want to add an instant bar to your small space? No problem – just check out this nifty solution. There's an ice bucket beneath to keep bottles cool, whilst a platform on top is useful for perching your glass (and maybe a bowl of snacks). It's a simple but clever way to turn even a tiny terrace or balcony into the ultimate chill-out zone.
There are lots more balcony garden ideas in our gallery.
23. Use a wooden planter as a drinks cooler
Teak is a lovely material and is incredibly hard-wearing, so is well-suited for outdoor furniture. And, this classy wooden planter can also be used as a bar table – complete with a galvanized steel trough ready to be filled with ice and a bottle or two of bubbly. And when not in use, just slot in the cover to make the most of the space.
If you're looking for advice on how to keep it in tip-top condition, you'll find everything you need in our guide on how to clean wooden outdoor furniture.
24. Go for a rustic look with solid wood
A chunky wooden bar like the one above feels stylish yet rustic – perfect if you prefer a more natural look for your outdoor bar ideas. Of course, it's even more perfect if you're lucky enough to have a backyard pool nearby, for ultimate holiday vibes right in your own garden.
25. Use a DIY kit to build your own bar
How cute is this DIY bar? And we think it's a bit of a bargain, too. The kit comes with all the timber you need to build this impressive structure. Plus, all the wood has been treated with 10 year anti-rot, so if you look after it, it's going to last a good few summers. You'll need your own tools to put this thing together and will have to do a bit of sawing to cut the wood to the right lengths, but we still think a patient novice could build it without problems.
You can paint it too, so it better suits your style and the color scheme you have in your garden. Our pick of the best exterior wood paints will help you get started.
26. Go for a colorful Ibiza vibe
If you're after more contemporary outdoor bar ideas, this is a great little set-up, and perfect for smaller gardens too. This table has all you need for alfresco drinks: three compartments for ice, fruit and bottles, a built-in chopping board, and a shelf for glasses.
Bring the whole look together by painting a wall or fence in a nice bright hue – this ocean blue is perfect for a chic Ibiza-inspired vibe. Continue the theme by picking out some colorful bar stools too. And everyone loves a string of festoons – our festoon light ideas will provide plenty of inspiration.
27. Use reclaimed materials for a budget-friendly bar
Your outdoor bar ideas needn't be expensive if you're on the lookout for cheap garden ideas. If you're feeling creative and have a few DIY skills up your sleeve, then consider building one out of reclaimed materials as a budget-friendly option.
Check out your local wood reclamation yard for pallets, old cable reels, and other bits and bobs that could be put to good use. You can find more inspiration in our gallery of pallet furniture ideas.
Cute letters and tiny tea lights turn this bar made from an old cable reel into something very cool and rustic. We love the pink bar chairs too, for a pretty pop of color.
28. Create a relaxed boho feel with plenty of cushions
You can create an outdoor bar vibe without having to build a physical bar in your garden.
Use cushions and rugs, plus plenty of low, glowy lights to add to a lovely relaxed feeling, basically like a living room but outside! Add an Aperol Spritz or two and one of the best pizza ovens, and you could be on a terrace in Italy... almost.
29. Turn your dining table into a makeshift outdoor bar
Another nice, easy, and cheap way to add an outdoor bar is to use a table from your existing outdoor dining ideas. Simply throw over a tablecloth and then spend some time decorating the table.
Jar drinks dispensers are always a winner, as are pretty glasses, jugs and cocktail shakers. Add some candles and some small vases of flowers and there you are – an outdoor 'bar' using bits you probably already have. It's a lovely idea for an outdoor party.
30. Roll out a slimline drinks trolley
Take your garden bar ideas with you wherever you go with the help of a drinks trolley. It saves you having to keep going into the house to top up drinks and looks very stylish too.
This slimline style is designed to be used outside so won't rust. It carries a lot too – pop your bottles and mixers on the bottom and then glasses and ice on the top. It makes a great choice for small gardens, and come winter just incorporate it into your living room or kitchen.
31. Use metal troughs for a grab-and-go drinks station
If you are after easy garden bar ideas that will keep your drinks cold and accessible outside, a metal trough filled with ice is an old-school trick.
This one is made to fit inside a bar table, but you could do it on a budget by just using an old planter you have and popping it on your patio. Surround the planter with stones and potted plants so it blends into your garden a bit too.
32. Up the style factor with your bar stool selection
A quick way to create an outdoor bar is to pick out some stylish bar stools and a high table to pop on your patio or decking area. You can always bring them inside during the winter for some extra surface space and seating in the kitchen.
These chairs have a classic rattan design that's going to last you loads of summers, so definitely worth the investment. A simple yet totally chic look.
33. Revamp a summer house into an outdoor bar
If you've got a summer house that's seen better days, or one that you just don't use that much anymore, give it a new lease of life and turn it into an outdoor bar.
Give it a good clean, a new coat of paint and then just get decorating. Add some fairy lights and some lanterns, use a table for the 'bar' and make the space comfy with cushions and throws.
How can I accessorize an outdoor bar?
Decorating your outdoor bar is as important as the bar itself and will help it blend into the rest of your plot. Here are a few of our favorite ideas on how to do it:
- Adorn with lighting – add festoon lights, fairy lights, or modern pendants to create a welcoming glow for your bar.
- Treat yourself to chic cocktail gear – whether it's vintage glasses, brightly colored cups or sleek metal shakers, a lovely set for making drinks will elevate any outdoor bar.
- String up bunting – for a pretty, vintage feel that's perfectly matched with summer sunshine and a glass of Pimms.
- Surround with soft textiles – think outdoor rugs and cushions that complement your chosen color scheme.
- Add plenty of storage – such as shelving or hooks. We've got plenty more garden storage ideas in our feature.
What can I use for an outdoor bar top?
If you're going for a more permanent bar structure, perhaps as a part of an outdoor kitchen, then you may be wondering what you can use as a reliable top.
Well, according to Sarah Fishburne, Director of Trend and Design for The Home Depot, the most popular materials for outdoor bar countertops are granite, soapstone, concrete, and tile. She shares her expert advice:
'Concrete countertops are very durable and able to withstand the elements, but they do fade over time,' Sarah says. 'It is very important they be installed correctly to avoid cracking.' Why not pair it with concrete patio ideas too, to enhance the chic industrial vibe?
A quartz countertop is always a beautiful option, but the colors can fade after long exposure to direct sunlight, so it might be best for a shaded outdoor bar.
'There are many types of stone countertops including marble, limestone, blue stone and granite. But granite is often the best option as it is so durable, doesn't absorb stains and is less likely to fade in the sun.
'The main drawback is the higher cost. If you go with granite, be sure to get it sealed to prevent feathering,' Sarah adds.
'Tile offers the most creativity as there are so many color and pattern options to choose from. It is also the most affordable option, but it is very susceptible to cracking. If you live in a cold place, we recommend you choose freeze-proof tiles.
'Each option has its pros and cons, but no matter the material, countertops do require some level of maintenance and will need to be sealed periodically,' Sarah adds. 'It's best to maintain the seal regularly if possible.'
You can also use wood, for a pleasingly rustic look. But be sure to prolong its life with a lick of protective wood stain.
Hebe is the Deputy Editor over on Livingetc but her green fingers have drawn her to write for Gardeningetc too. Living in a first floor London flat, she’s always dreamed of having her own plot – orchard, allotment, rose garden the lot! But for now she makes do with the small patch in front of her building, a small lawn with some lovely borders that look different in every season, which is a joy to work in at weekends. But her green fingers are craving for something bigger, so watch this space!
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