17 inspiring outdoor bar ideas for 2023

17 inspiring outdoor bar ideas for 2023

A dream backyard design can mean many different things to different people. For some, it includes a custom-colored pickleball court; For others, it’s a resort-worthy pool — and luxurious lounge chairs to go with it. If your idea of ​​bliss is going to a bar for your favorite cocktail (or mocktail) and a little good conversation with your loved ones, these outdoor bar ideas are about to rock your world — and your backyard.

Trust us: The idea of ​​an outdoor bar is actually not as unachievable as it seems. As it turns out, you don’t need a lot of space — or a huge budget — to create a custom watering hole with all your favorite faucets. Below, we’re rounding up 17 designer-approved ideas meant to inspire you to create the perfect place for intimate date nights, outdoor happy hours, and more. From freestanding structures that look like a haven to space-saving tricks that make the most of minimal square footage, these stunning designs will have you toasting the good life in no time.

Make it small

Design by Brooks & Falotico Photo by Jane Beiles Photography

If you only have a small space to work with on your deck or patio, focus on an outdoor bar design that doesn’t stand out too much from your home’s exterior. In this space designed by Connecticut-based architecture firm Brooks & Falotico, a narrow concrete bar and industrial seating provide a comfortable, unobtrusive place to sip and socialize.

Embrace a place

Design by Eileen Cavanaugh and Madison Way for Eileen Cavanaugh Interiors, photography by Brantley Photography

To achieve a truly mobile environment, embrace the spirit of a vacation-worthy destination within your design scheme. Here, the design team behind Ellen Kavanaugh Interiors took their cues from the home’s Sea Island, Georgia location when designing this outdoor bar, allowing the playful teal cabinetry and sparkling zellige tile to embody a beachy vibe.

Create an independent space

Design by Michelle Berwick, photography by Larry Arnall

Sometimes, physically leaving your house — even if it’s just for a 100-yard walk in your backyard — can do wonders for your relaxation. To make the outdoor bar at this Georgian Bay cottage feel like a true destination, designer Michelle Berwick relied on a free-standing structure, outfitted with a bar top, an overhang, and plenty of space inside for mixing cocktails.

Include magical moments

Design by Christine Patton Interiors, photography by Reid McKendry

Outdoor bars should encourage play and fun, and their design should look the same way. Instead of adhering to the status quo when it comes to your accessories, look to your backyard watering hole as a place to flex your creative freedom. When it came to outfitting the bar of this historic home, designer Christine Patton looked to the surrounding island of Nantucket for inspiration, resulting in many charming additions, like a custom-carved quarter panel that says “Hey Captain!” My leader or my god!”

Add ambiance with lighting

Photography and styling by Janine Alexander for Moxie and Mint

Visit any bar and you’re sure to notice that much of its ambiance can be attributed to proper lighting. To make sure your space looks good one day And At night, be sure to add some different light sources to create the right ambiance. In her home, creator Jannine Alexander combined overhead sconces with charming bistro lights into an outdoor bar that looks great at sunset.

Choose beautiful tiles

Design by Brooke Wagner Design, photography by Ryan Garvin, architecture by Bill Guidero, construction by RDM General Contractors

When designing an outdoor bar, you want something that will attract attention and keep it against the backdrop of your backyard and the exterior of your home. One sure way to achieve this balance? Playful tiles. In this Newport Beach home, designer Brooke Wagner turned to graphic cement tile to bring energy and interest to the L-shaped bar.

Hang a neon sign

Design and photo by Kate E. Richards for @drinkingwithchickens

What do the best bars have in common? An Instagram-worthy neon sign, of course! Treat yourself to a different kind of buzz with a custom neon design that references your design scheme or includes a fun pun. As for the cocktail area in her backyard, creator and author Kate E. Richards made a “Bawk Tail Hour” sign as a tribute to her many chickens (and her love of cocktails, of course).

Make the most of your small space

Design by Jess Pong, photography by Sarah Liguria-Trump, design by Emily Bowser

Let’s face it: Not everyone has a spacious backyard to set up an outdoor bar in. that’s good! As this design by Jess Bunge Design proves, you don’t need more than a few feet of empty wall space to create a charming cocktail spot. Instead of opting for an upright bar (which would monopolize a lot of the available space on her patio), Jess hung a floating rack, then outfitted it with all kinds of bar supplies like mixers, cocktail glasses, and more.

Playful bottle attitude

Design and photography by Kara Whitten for @kailochic

If a more-is-more (more) attitude brings you joy, be sure to carry the same spirit into your backyard bar via pattern, color and texture. In this space designed by creative Kara Whitten, a graphic mix of geometric floor tiles and a mid-century modern-inspired brick bar team with a cocktail area’s fluorescent color palette brings the funk.

Give him a curve

Design by Brooke Wagner Design, Photography by Ryan Garvin

When it comes to designing your outdoor bar, don’t feel beholden to popular layouts like the L-shaped bartop. Instead of sticking to the status quo in this California home, designer Brooke Wagner chose a curved surface, which adds visual interest to the space and allows for more movement Free on the rooftop.

Imitate your external appearance

Design by Blackband Design, Photography by Ryan Garvin

If your goal is an outdoor bar space that blends seamlessly with the rest of your home, it’s a good idea to have the overall design mimic some of the lines, finishes, or features seen in the rest of your home’s exterior. Here, the team behind Blackband Design echoed the different types of metal finishes and black metal siding seen in the rest of the home on the outdoor bar for a space that complements the curb appeal.

Encouraging mixing and mingling

Designed by Breeze Giannasio, photographed by Megan Pope Photography

For an outdoor bar that becomes everyone’s favorite place to hang, focus a great deal of attention on the design as you do the finishing touches. The right seating arrangement and ample floor space will go a long way toward promoting mingling among guests. Here, designer Breeze Giannasio created an intimate seating area with sturdy teak furniture while also ensuring that the nearby bar has plenty of space for those looking to stand and sip.

Add an umbrella

Design by Ghislaine Vinas, photography by Garrett Rowland

Some design options exist at the intersection of form and function, making them a no-brainer when it comes to incorporating them into your home. One such feature? Durable canopy. When added to an outdoor bar — as seen here in a Montauk Beach home designed by Ghislaine Viñas — it can up the glamor factor. And Make the space more enjoyable for mid-afternoon cocktails in the bright summer sun.

Choose stylish bar stools

Photography by Raquel Langworthy for Christina Kim Interior Design

To play the role of a legitimate outdoor bar, you have to look the part — and that includes incorporating some appropriately named bar stools. The good news? Contrary to what their rickety, beer-stained predecessors led you to believe, bar stools can actually be very elegant. Case in point: Island-inspired beauty designer Christina Kim worked on her fun cabana project, which provides a stylish place to sit (and an aesthetic element to stare at when not in use).

Choose weather-resistant materials

Photography by Sue Stubbs to design by Adam Robinson

At the end of the day, your outdoor bar is just that outside roadblock. When designing your drinking destination, you’ll want to choose materials that can withstand anything Mother Nature throws at them, including wind, rain, excessive sun, and more. This outdoor bar by Adam Robinson Design relies on durable details—like concrete countertops—to craft a space that will look good for years to come.

Maximize internal and external flow

Photography by David Duncan Livingstone, styling by Heather Hilliard

For an entertaining space that can be used 365 days a year, look for ways to unify your outdoor bar design with your indoor environment. This innovative area by Heather Hilliard Design focuses on maximizing flow between the kitchen and the adjacent backyard with the help of retractable windows that open to reveal a spacious two-way countertop.

Include a few creature comforts

Photography by Laura Stephan for Hattie Sparks Interiors

When it comes down to it, the best outdoor bar design is one you’ll use (and love!) every day. Think about what typically draws you to a bar in the “wild” and bring some of those same elements to your retreat at home. If you love nothing more than sitting with a cold glass and watching the game, you should definitely include a TV (weather appropriate!) in your outdoor bar. As designer Hattie Sparks proves here, even a flat screen can be elegant when surrounded by the right finishes.

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