Are you ready to step up your entertainment game? Nothing says backyard fun quite like an outdoor bar! A patio bar is the perfect gathering place for family and friends and will make your outdoor space the envy of the neighborhood.
Whether you add some accessories to your current patio or you go all-out and create a full free-standing bar, you’re sure to enjoy this upgrade for years to come. Here are a few ideas to inspire you as you make plans to build your own DIY patio bar.
How to Build a Backyard Bar? Start with a Plan!
The first step in building a DIY patio bar is deciding what size is best for your backyard and what style you prefer. Some homeowners like to go all-in, pouring a foundation and installing a freestanding structure. This will give you the widest variety of options and will allow you to create a fully functional bar space. Others prefer to choose portable bars or patio accessories to create a more versatile option that won’t take up as much room.
You’ll also need to decide whether your need a wet bar or a dry bar. A wet bar comes fully equipped with running water, an ice maker, a refrigerator, and, sometimes, beer or wine taps. Obviously, this requires more space and is a larger DIY project. On the other hand, a dry bar is used for storing liquor bottles and other bar implements. So if you entertain a lot, you might want to go all-in and install a wet bar. Otherwise, a dry bar is an economical solution that is fine for small gatherings and less frequent use.
When making your decision, you’ll want to consider the amount of room you have available, how often you think you’ll use your new bar, and how much effort you want to put into building your bar. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.
Freestanding DIY Patio Bar
While this is the most time-consuming option, building a freestanding bar will also give you the greatest “Wow” factor. It’s fairly easy to build a freestanding bar, particularly if you purchase a prefabricated structure for your cover. This project requires three basic steps.
1. Choose Your Bar Cover
When installing a freestanding bar, it’s a good idea to add some protection from the elements. Not only will this help keep everything dry, but it will also offer some much-needed relief from the sun’s harsh rays.
If you want to build a DIY patio bar that’s attached to your house, consider using a wall-mounted gazebo to create your bar’s roof. This is a convenient option that will allow you to easily run in and out of the house when you need supplies.
Depending on the layout of your backyard, you may decide you want your bar a bit further away from your home. In this case, a freestanding gazebo or a carport are great options for creating an attractive covered space. This will give you plenty of room and allow you to add seating, storage space, and fun accessories.
2. Build Your Bar
Once you’ve decided on the shelter you’ll use for your bar, you’re ready to start thinking about construction. There are many DIY bar plans available online. You can choose one that appeals to you and download the exact instructions. With a bit of searching, you can find plans for anything from a straight bar that’s meant for storing simple drinks to an elaborate structure that will be the center of attention.
An average-sized bar is typically about 4 to 6 feet in length, 15-inches wide, and 50-inches tall. However, you can create any size that works well for the space you have available.
You’ll also want to choose a strong, pressure-treated wood. Oak, pine, cedar, cypress, and redwood are all great options. While the exact instructions will vary, the process generally involves building a frame, adding slats and sides, installing shelves, adding your top, and finishing it with paint and decor.
3. Add Appliances & Accessories
Now comes the fun part! While you don’t need any appliances to enjoy your DIY patio bar, adding some will make the experience far more enjoyable. At a minimum, you’ll want to add a mini-refrigerator. Other popular options include an ice maker, kegerator, blender, wine fridge, and dishwasher. You may also want to add a sink and faucet, ice bin, and a countertop area for drink prep.
Don’t forget to decorate your bar with fun lighting, signs, and other décor. You’ll also want to add plenty of comfortable barstools so your guests can hang out and watch you prepare their drinks. To make things even more fun, install some outdoor-quality speakers so you can play music and television so you’ll never have to worry about missing the big game.
DIY Tiki Bar
Want to make your backyard look like a tropical paradise? A DIY tiki bar is a great option! The process is a bit more complex than using a pre-made structure for your bar’s cover, but it can add an exotic ambiance to your backyard in a way no other option can.
You’ll need to have some basic construction skills to pull this off, and it’s best if you have a few friends who can help. However, it’s a fairly inexpensive project that you should be able to do in just a few days.
Start by deciding how large a tiki bar you’ll build and gathering up all your tools and supplies. When you’re ready to get started, you’ll build the bar's base in three separate sections and then attach them.
Next, install the countertops and add posts for the roof. To give the bar an authentic look, add a bamboo façade by attaching sheets of bamboo panel to the plywood using finish nails.
Once your bar is complete, it’s time to build your roof. Start by creating the frame and attaching support posts. Then add plywood slats and cover the roof in plastic. Next, attach palm thatching to the roof’s structure using heavy-duty staples and trim off any excess as needed. Finally, secure the roof structure to the bar and wrap the posts in bamboo stalks to complete the look.
If you’re not ready to make a big commitment, a portable bar might be a better solution for you. You can purchase a premade one or build your own. One option is to build a mini bar that’s designed to be disassembled for transport. Many homeowners prefer this option because it looks like a permanent bar but gives you additional flexibility to use your patio space for other purposes when you’re not entertaining.
You can also build a strong, lightweight basic backyard bar and add rolling casters to make it mobile. This is a super-easy project that’s appropriate for novice builders. You should be able to build this bar in about four hours or less. Once the basic build-out is done, you can decorate your bar however you want. From bright colors and a tropical scene to a sophisticated look, you’re really only limited by your imagination.
When you’re not using your portable bar, you can easily store it in a steel shed or in your garage to keep it safe from the elements. Then, pull it out before guests arrive, and you're ready to party!
Don’t have the space to add a full-sized bar to your patio or pool area? No worries! There are so many great accessories available—you can easily create a bar setting using your entire patio area!
With this option, you don’t have to know how to build a backyard bar at all. Instead, you’ll strategically place the right items around your current patio space to create a fun bar-like vibe without the hassle.
Start by loading up a rolling patio cooler with ice and all your favorite beverages. This will help you create a fun party atmosphere and allow you to easily roll it out of the way when it’s not in use. An outdoor serving cart is also perfect for storing liquor bottles, mixers, and bar tools like bottle openers and drink shakers. You can add drink ingredients on the bottom shelf of your bar cart and use the top to store glasses and prepare drinks.
One of the biggest advantages of using a bar cart is that you can easily move it around to follow the party. If you need a larger seating area or you want to open up a dance floor, you can roll it out of the way. This is an economical solution that’s perfect for anyone who isn’t interested in adding a more permanent fixture.
No matter which option you choose, adding a DIY patio bar will immediately upgrade your space. So start exploring your options today, and you're sure to find the perfect solution for your taste.