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6 Things Every Outdoor Bar Needs

Posted by Stephanie Hilliard on Jun 14th 2019

6 Things Every Outdoor Bar Needs

The weather is finally nice and you’re ready to get out there on your patio and enjoy your outdoor bar. Outdoor bars are a great asset if you love entertaining, but there are a few things you need to have it ready before you invite everyone over. Get your outdoor bar ready with these must-haves and let the good times roll!


Don’t leave your bar (and bartender) out in the direct sun! You don’t want to get caught only using your bar when the sun goes down. Adding shade to your bar makes it a lot easier to liven up days next to your pool when the sun is beating down on it. It’s also better for any sort of alcohol to be out of direct sunlight.

Here are some ideas for shade-producing structures that can cool down your bar:

  • Put your bar right right under your roof overhang
  • Add an umbrella or canopy
  • Build a roof for your bar

By putting or adding shade to your outdoor bar, you can be sure to get more use out of it, regardless of how much direct sunlight your patio gets.


Just like you want to add some shade to your outdoor bar, you also need a way to illuminate it so people can still see to make a drink after the sun goes down. And while lighting is essential, you will want to choose lighting that fits the personality of your outdoor space. There are lots of ways that you can light up your bar or offer it a subtle glow.

  • Rope lights (great for outlining the corners of your bar)
  • Bulb string lights (elegant appearance that will go with any space)
  • Large overhead Edison bulbs (for those with a roof and industrial aesthetic)
  • Neon lights (bonus points if you have a neon sign!)
  • Recessed lighting (bright yet hidden)
  • Shaped lights (such as starfish, wine glasses, etc. – great for eclectic spaces)
  • Chinese lanterns (perfect for summer)
  • Christmas lights strand (subtle but festive)

Whatever lighting you choose, be sure that it’s made to be used outdoors!

Bar Stool Seating

Rule number one of bar seating? Don’t crowd it! You don’t want people to have to sit shoulder to shoulder, but at the same time you’ll need more than one bar stool to complete the social aspect of having a bar.

Here are some of the most common bar stools types to go around your outdoor bar:

  • Arm bar stools – Armrests instantly make these bar stools look and feel more comfortable than other options. And while the armrests are nice to have, these bar stools take up more space than an armless option.
  • Side bar stools – While these bar stools don’t have armrests, they do have a back! With a side bar stool you get a slimmer designed stool, just without the arms.
  • Backless bar stools – These stools take up less space, maximizing the area around your bar. This simple silhouette is great for tight spaces where you can’t fit larger arm or side bar stools.

There are many different types of bar stools to pick from, just be sure to choose a durable material that works best in your climate.

The Right Amount of Storage

You’ll want a flat surface on your bar top that’s easy to wipe down, making a spilled drink no problem. Underneath this surface, it’s helpful to have a few shelves that can keep you organized. This is a great place to keep little plates, cups, napkins, and shakers since there is no worry about them spoiling. Since ice will be hard to keep on the bar at all times, add a small ice bucket or insulated cooler that you can slide onto a shelf and keep your ice close for easy access.

A Nearby Fridge

Obviously alcohol or drinks go hand in hand when it comes to any sort of bar, but outdoor bars can be a little more tricky when it comes to storing them. It’s not recommended to leave out any sort of wine or spirit, as most of these need to be stored in a cool, dark place. Beer is in the same boat and should be kept at 38 F to slow down oxidation and loss of flavor. It’s not a bad idea to have a fridge close by for storing not only alcoholic beverages, but the accessories as well: fruit garnishes, seltzer, and ice.

Quirky Decor

There is no better place to let your personality shine through than at your outdoor bar space. Want Christmas lights up all year? Do it. Considering gaudy plastic flamingos stationed by your chairs? Yep, it fits. Thinking about putting up a kitschy sign that names your bar? Make it yours!

What essentials would your outdoor bar need? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook. Don’t forget to check out this Pinterest board for some ideas on making your outdoor bar unique to your patio.