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Outdoor Kitchen Bars Don’t Have To Be Hard. See These 5 Tips!

Beautiful outdoor kitchen with smoker, counter space and three table settings. Long exposure shot at dusk with brilliant deep blue night sky.

Outdoor Kitchen Bars have become very popular in recent years, and especially so during this past year. These are often (but not always) a little smaller than standard kitchen bars but offer all the same functionality. Plus, these outdoor bars provide the perfect ambiance of natural surroundings to make enjoying food and beverages with friends, family, and neighbors even better.

Some patio kitchen bars even feature fire pits to add another fire source, while others include built-in grills and refrigerators to give you even more cooking options.

Adding to Your Existing Patio Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen Bars were originally designed to integrate with and complement a patio kitchen. They are fun and useful for simple occasional entertaining and small get-togethers with friends and other community members. Often, an outdoor bar is simply a special surface that is placed outside on your patio, in your yard, or in a garden area to allow you to cook and eat outdoors.

5 Types of Outdoor Kitchen Bars

There are many outdoor kitchen bar plans ranging from extremely simple to extravagant. 

Currently, the most popular type of alfresco bars are those that are built into a stone patio or deck area. However, there are also portable versions available. 

With so many different styles and materials available for outdoor patio bars, there is sure to be one to fit your taste and budget.

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1. Portable Outdoor Bars

Portable outdoor bars are popular because they can easily be moved and stored when not in use. You will want to be sure that the bar you select is able to withstand exposure to rain and wind. 

Some portable bars are even foldable and small enough that they are easy to transport. Simply pack them into a bag or box and bring them along on your next camping trip. If you are going to go the route of a folding moveable bar, make sure that it is both lightweight and sturdy. You will want it to withstand the process of repeated folding and unfolding.

(Picture: moveable patio bar with lightweight manufactured stone veneer)

2. Stainless Steel

Another interesting option that’s available when it comes to outdoor kitchen bars is stainless steel. Stainless steel alfresco bars are quite durable and do not dent or scratch easily. And they are also great at holding up to extreme heat and can withstand very low temperatures, as well. 

Because of their durability and stylish appearance, stainless steel bars are very popular. The only drawback to purchasing a stainless steel model is that it can be costly, and you may have to pay a little more than you would for other types.

Large stainless steel outdoor bar with glass doors and built-in outdoor refrigerator
(Picture: stainless steel outdoor bar with built-in refrigeration)

3. Aluminum

Aluminum is a great choice for anyone looking for simple, affordable outdoor bar ideas for entertaining guests. They tend to be extremely weather-resistant, including both summer and winter conditions, such as rain, snow, and the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Plus, cast aluminum patio kitchen bars are lightweight and can be easily stored when not in use. They are also great for families with children because they tend to be sturdy and safe.

4. Wood

Dark outdoor wooden bar with 2 bar stools, chilled wine, and serving glasses, all placed on a backyard patio
Adding decor to your wood outdoor bar dramatically enhances the appearance.

Wood outdoor kitchen bars are very popular for their rustic beauty and versatility. You can find them with a variety of wood stains, finishes, and textures. For a natural ambiance that you will surely love, consider staining your wooden bar a color that complements your patio or garden setting. However, unless it’s in a covered area, you may want to avoid using natural wood stains because they are susceptible to weather damage and rot.

Wooden outdoor bar stools are favorites to pair with wood patio bars and are some of the more common outdoor furniture you will find. 

Additionally, you can find wooden bars and bar stools that are designed for either indoors or outdoors. These models are usually made using cedar, teak, or grape, although other woods are also used sometimes. Wooden bars for outside can reasonably withstand many types of weather and are easy to clean and maintain.

One of the more fun outdoor bar ideas that many find appealing is bamboo Tiki bars. Wicker bar stools are often chosen as a good match for Tiki bars.

5. Natural Stone

Stone or stone veneer can be among the more expensive bar options for an outdoor kitchen, patio, or pool area. That being said, beautiful stonework creates a high-end product and also adds considerably more value to your home. 

For some families, an outdoor kitchen with some additional bar seating is all they feel they need. However, for others, that poolside bar or a place to enjoy some drinks in a cabana area is perfect to elevate their personal experience or refined entertaining needs. Whatever your wishes, stone blocks, pavers, tiles, and veneers will give you that upmarket environment that makes homes imminently desirable.

Outdoor Bar Furniture

While you’re exploring patio bar ideas, don’t forget the furnishings. These provide the important finishing touches that can make a major impact on your overall design and experience.

Bar Stools

There is an extensive market for outdoor bar stools. Be sure not to skimp here. 

You may already be spending quite a bit on building or buying your bar, but the stools are important in your overall motif and comfort. 

They are a piece of the experience and a contributing part of the look.

Three steel patio bar stools with bright red cushions, in front of a natural stone outdoor bar with a granite countertop

Shade, Fire, and Water

Will you need shade? Consider a gazebo, pergola, or outdoor canopy.

Do you love those amazing designs that mix fire and water? Add a fire pit or outdoor fireplace in the same area as your poolside bar. These arrangements can be stunning at night.

Will it be cool in the evenings? Patio heaters or a portable fire pit are perfect for adding a little warmth.

Perhaps a fountain or small pond in the vicinity would work well, too.

Patio Serving Carts

If you foresee wanting to provide portable service from your bar or kitchen area, you can even purchase patio serving carts. When not in use in serving drinks or food, a patio serving cart also doubles as an attractive place to store extra food, drinks, or serving ware.

LED Outdoor Lighting

Complete your setup with nice LED lighting for your outdoor bar and patio areas. At nightfall and in the darker months you’ll be glad you did.

Outdoor Appliances

Stainless steel outdoor refrigerator with a glass door open showing soft drinks and beer insideTo complete your new bar area you will be very glad if you spend a little time and money to choose some good quality appliances. An outdoor refrigerator is so handy. You don’t want to try to be serving from your bar and trying to keep things iced or needing to retrieve refrigerated items from inside the house. You can even choose from compact refrigerators, beverage coolers, or wine coolers. 

If you don’t think you’ll want an outdoor refrigerator you can always install an ice bin cooler. Or an ice maker could really come in handy on those warm days when you want to keep your drinks cool. 

Likewise, a stainless steel sink in your bar countertop will prove to be quite useful. To make your new outdoor bar fully user-friendly remember to think through whether you’ll want cabinet space available. And for the cherry on top, consider installing outdoor TVs and audio!

How to Choose the Right Patio Bar for You

While there are many different types of outdoor kitchen bars, you need to consider your budget and what type of open-air bar best suits your needs. 

Consider the features that you would like, the size of the space where you would like to place your outdoor kitchen bar, and the type of material you want it to be made of. Outdoor bars are fun to decorate and are a great way to extend the living area of your home. 

Once you have decided on the type of bar you want, you can easily shop for them, either online or at local outdoor stores in your area.

Want help designing your custom outdoor bar? Reach out to our friendly, expert customer service reps for assistance. Furthermore, we can deliver our products anywhere in the lower 48 states.

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