Lockdown has sent the DIY outdoor bar trend through the roof. Meaning if you’re looking for garden bar ideas there’s never been a better time to seek some serious cocktail-hour inspiration. In the very near future we’ll be able to have a limited number of friends and family over, in the garden…surely that calls for time to finally open an outdoor bar in your own garden.
That’s if you haven’t already! From transformative garden sheds ideas becoming replicas of much-loved locals to tropical Tiki huts it’s happening right now across the nation.
See our pub-style setups to inspire your garden bar this summer…
Garden bar ideas
1. Dedicated a decking area
These homeowners had decking built at the back and front of the garden so that they could have a separate bar area, saying ‘I spotted a picture of a small tiki bar in a magazine, and I just knew I had to have one.’ Keeping the bar at the far end of a garden can help to keep the noise away form the house and neighbours, depending on how big the garden is of course.
Read more on this garden makeover: Before and after: from shabby garden to tropical oasis with tiki bar
2. Makeover the shed
Clear out the garden tools and transform a humble garden shed into a spectacular drinking spot for your own garden. Cut in a serving hatch and create a bar top to welcome guests to perch on barstools while serving drinks from the other side. Hang party signs and bunting to signify where the party’s at. Surround with potted plants as a reminder of its roots, of a simple garden shed…now a fine drinking establishment for the garden.
3. Choose wall-mounted for small spaces
Even the smallest of outdoor spaces can accommodate a bar when you think vertically. A simple bar drop down bar suspended from the wall is a great way to fashion a compact outdoor bar. When all you need is a wall to mount a bar on, it’s possible to have a garden bar in any outdoor space – even balconies and constricting courtyards.
Read more on how to make it: Make your own DIY bar using old wooden pallets – for as little as £35!
4. Repurpose a potting bench
Fashion a statement garden bar on a budget by repurposing a potting bench. Thanks to the plentiful storage the design doubles up perfectly to cater for all your drink station essentials. Instead of sorting seedlings use the bench to prepare the prefect G&T.
5. Entertain at an outdoor cocktail bar
Entertain at home in style by creating a cocktail-bar lounge vibe. ‘I would recommend a garden bar to make greater use of outside space,’ says Rhiannon Williams, landscape architect and project manager at Landform Consultants. ‘A bar takes up a lot less space than a dining area.’
Select key fittings, such as an outdoor wine fridge or sink, then build the bar around these. ‘Choose materials that can withstand year-round exposure. I would recommend a well-sealed natural stone top and treated wood cladding,’ Rhiannon adds.
6. Create a luxury-look with a cocktail bar
‘If you can’t go to the beach, bring the beach home,’ says Greg Rhodes, the aptly named owner of this holiday-themed tiki bar. It’s made from sheets of bamboo, with a straw roof, and LEDs that light up sheltered seating.
This is channeling the vibes of Mahiki, one of London’s hottest night spots. From the bamboo cladding to the under lights on the bench seating, this is a throughly well executed DIY Tiki bar. Celebrity spotting won’t be as good here of course, but we bet the tropical-themed cocktails are just as impressive – and nowhere near as expensive!
7. Make a lean-to garden bar solution
If we were awarding the prize for most genius name, surely The Staying Inn would come out on top. This garden bar is the brainchild of the Carty family from Durham – who built it so they could be together.
‘My husband, who was furloughed from work, decided to build the bar to enable us to all be together at least in the garden where we could have a socially distanced drink and a catch up. He has no official joinery experience and works as an electrician.’ Thanks to his hard work, ‘The Staying Inn’ is definitely the new going out spot for the Carty clan.
8. Tempt with a garden gin bar
A bottle of Hendrick’s in a bowtie, Fever Tree bunting and balloon gin glasses, what’s not to love?! Surely every garden deserves a gin bar just like this one.
9. Cleverly convert the garage into a bar
Maybe you’d prefer a speakeasy vibe, with your bar hidden from view or you simply don’t have the garden space to spare? Whatever the reason this ingenious garage bar is a fabulous idea to inspire. From the artificial grass flooring the faux palm tree we love it all!
10. Go all out with a nautical hot tub bar
Christened ‘The Fat Pug’ Daniel Keenan’s bar incorporates a hot tub and even flowerbeds. ‘The bar is fully equipped with a TV, fridge and freezer and LED lights that are paired with Alexa,’ Daniel explains. Sounds like he has few reasons to use the house!
11. Choose a mediterranean-style terrace bar
St Andrews-based Allan’s garden bar features a fire pit so it can be enjoyed late into the evenings. Well it does get especially chilly north of the border.
‘We built it in the first place as a family project, and it has been a great help during lockdown,’ says Allan. ‘We can’t wait to get to use it with the rest of our friends and family once lockdown is lifted.’
12. Open a sophisticated shed bar
Simply taking some panels out and staining it black has made this shed-like structure a sophisticated garden bar – worthy of high praise. We’d happily sit in the sunshine in this garden, cold beers and fun outdoor games. Win, win.
13. Light up a garden bar with rope lighting
We’re big fans of this rope light feature, what a fabulous use of lighting above the bar. This feels like a feature you’d seen in a trendy hipster bar, a great take-away to inspire the humble garden bar.
14. Fashion a fancy garden cocktail bar with ceiling drapes
To create a fancy cocktail bar finish this competition entry has swathed the ceiling in fabric – to create an upmarket marquee kind of feel. The upcycled country-style dresser and the cocktail sign add further attention to detail.
15. Add bright colours for a beach-style Tiki bar
This Tiki bar feels more like that found on the beach in a paradise location, more than a garden on home soil. The pops of sunshine yellow help to create a summer vibe.
16. Wheel the drinks trolley outside
When all your really need is a moveable solution, save the faff and expensive of making an outdoor bar – simply wheel out your stylish indoor bar cart. A drinks trolley with wheels is easy to manoeuvre from indoor to out and if you don’t have space for a large bar table, a drinks trolley on wheels is just the thing to deliver cold drinks to thirsty guests.
Of course remove all the glass items before wheeling it anywhere. A good idea is to swap out any glassware in favour of melamine, to ensure drinks outdoors are more resilient to the elements – the last thing you want is a slight gust of wind to topple and smash your favourite gin glass.
17. Keep it simple with an outdoor side table bar
No one wants to keep rushing inside on a hot summer’s day to get more ice and a plastic bin filled with cold water just doesn’t quite cut it. Luckily, you can buy a stylish multitasker that doubles as a table and ice bucket. You can get one with a handy removable tray for storing all your bar essentials and another with handles that makes an excellent ice bucket, ready to fill up with cold drinks.
More outdoor fun: How to create an outdoor cinema in your back garden
In a matter of weeks beer gardens will be open after months under lockdown – although only those with gardens. And while some will be keen to return to their much loved local, we imagine plenty of people will prefer to still stay at home for ease. Particularly those looking to create their own garden bar in the back garden.
Thanks to the entrants of Liberty Games ‘The UK’s Best Home Bar Competition‘ for sharing their inspirational bars. Have any of you created your own garden bar during lockdown? We’d love to see them. Join The Ideal Home Room Clinic group on Facebook and show us your creations!
Cheers to all the great ideas.