Summer is the perfect time to socialize and relax outdoors. Create a beautiful outdoor bar at home that can accommodate your friends and family for every occasion with these tips:
DIY vs. Professional
Many do-it-yourself guides exist online for ambitious outdoor kitchen enthusiasts. For those who are short on space, one of the easiest versions is the hanging outdoor bar featured on Apartment Therapy from HGTV. This bar can be built from upcycled wooden pallets and can comfortably (and affordably) serve six to 10 people. For those who prefer a less rustic look, prefabricated outdoor kitchen kits can be a great option.
If you want a more permanent investment or custom design, consider hiring a professional masonry or landscaping contractor.
The cost for your backyard bar depends largely on what appliances and materials are included. According to LandscapingNetwork, the average price for a stainless steel sink is $100, but a refrigerator might cost between $400 and $1,000, not to mention professional refrigeration equipment that will cost more. For a more budget-friendly bar, consider installing a beverage center that can be filled with ice to cool drinks instead of installing a refrigerator or wine cooler.
The average cost and installation of appliances for a basic outdoor kitchen space cost between $2,000 and $5,000. Brick or masonry frames cost an average of $400 to $600 per linear foot. Upgrades add additional costs per square foot. For example, natural stone veneer adds on $25 to $45 and granite countertops cost $60 to $70 extra per square foot.
Even though building an outdoor bar is less involved than a built-in grill or barbecue, utilities are still an important consideration. Check with local building codes for specifications on water and electric regulations. HGTV suggests hiring a professional plumber for the water hookup and drain to the sewer system. Keep in mind that hot water pipes need to be insulated, and any plumbing needs to be winterized with either an ejector pump or gravity-based system.
A professional contractor also should install dimmable lighting and an outdoor fan to make your space comfortable and functional. You also need to have a professional run electrical lines in conduit to the refrigerator and other outdoor outlets. Consider installing the bar’s GFCI circuit board inside the house for easier resetting. To save on yearly utility costs, opt for an outdoor bar near the house.
One of the most successful elements of an outdoor bar is the sound system. For premium movie-quality surround sound, install a 5.1 channel setup. According to The Dig, this setup includes the front left and right channels, a center channel to serve as an anchor, two surround channels for ambiance, and a subwoofer for extremely low bass frequencies. The 5.1 channel setup is the most used setup for home theaters.
Food and Drinks
Once the outdoor bar is completed, be ready to stage a party with outdoor snacks and drinks. Fill a metal bucket with ice to display and serve bottled mineral water, beer and soda, suggests Better Homes and Gardens. For snacks, prepare a tray or basket with breads and cheeses, and serve olives, nuts and condiments in a wire caddy. Be sure to stock your cabinets with glassware, and prepare a drawer, storage tub or ice bucket with essential tools like a bottle opener, jigger, spoon, strainer, ice scoop and muddler. Don’t forget to stock items needed for certain drinks, such as toothpicks or a blender.
Decorating an outdoor bar depends on the elements of where you live. For example, consider decorating with potted geraniums or a water feature if you live in a lush area, or use potted cacti and bougainvillea if you live in the desert. Ample seating, candles, tiki torches and comfortable outdoor pillows complete the look.