When you are walking down the street, through a hotel lobby, or around the pool area of a resort and you spot an enticing spot that happens to have a bar and lounge area, what do you want to do? If you’re like me, you want to stop, have a drink, and enjoy the atmosphere for while.
Some, like the Ice Bar at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah, are constructed only temporarily, while the weather is conducive to maintaining a freezing temperature. Created outside the hotel by Gheron Kingston of Amazing Ice Creations of Salt Lake City, the presence of the Ice Bar exists at the whim of Mother Nature.
Tiki bars have always been a popular concept. With their thatched roofs and bamboo frames, these are the epitome of laid-back-beachside-casual-vacation fun. Bars like the Pelican Bar at Jake’s Treasure Beach in Jamaica, world-famous for actually being in the ocean, maintain their share of part-time beach babes and bums year ‘round.
To read one couple’s description of the perfect beach bar, visit Tom and Nicole’s Blog and see if you agree.
For personal, at-home use, pre-built tiki bar styles are available to order.
But, if you are handy, you can build your own version and customize it to be a replica of your favorite beachside bar.
If you have included an outdoor kitchen in your design, it is possible to include a counter height or bar height surface which can serve as a bar as well as part of the kitchen area. With or without barstools, you’ll find that your guests will congregate here before settling in to a more cozy and comfortable spot (some may never leave this spot all evening).
Even without a kitchen, you can plan for a bar, either built-in or free-standing, in your outdoor living area.
There are two heights to consider when making your plans: counter height and bar height. The top surface of a counter height bar is positioned at 36”—the same height as a standard height kitchen counter. A bar-height counter is taller—usually at 42” high at the surface. While there is some slight flexibility to these heights, the stools that are made to be used with each height are considered a standard and if you vary your height by much, you may run into trouble when shopping for counter or barstools to fit. Counter stools are 30” high at the seat and bar stools are usually 36” high at the seat.
Keep those figures in mind when building a custom bar. Also keep in mind that you need leg room, so allow at least 6” between the stool seat and the bottom of the bar (take into consideration the thickness of the top and any edge that may impede leg room underneath.
If you are really creative and have an eye for the unusual, you may want to adapt something that was never meant to be a bar into one. Perhaps an old boat, pulled ashore and retrofitted with a countertop (and perhaps running water) would suit your outdoor living space.
Many outdoor furniture manufacturers include a free-standing bar in their product line. Kingsley-Bate has created the handsome Mandalay Party Bar.
Hanamint’s Party Bars are made of cast aluminum that is the shape of a half-hexagonal and is available in two patterns, Newport (a simple woven lattice pattern) and Tuscany (one that is more decorative).
The Portsmouth Bar from Seaside Casual, made from recycled plastic, is durable, heavy, low maitenance, and comes in a variety of colors.
Whatever style you choose, an Outdoorlicious! bar must surely be in your future. The ultimate goal of an outdoor area at home is to create your own personal vacation spot—wherever your ideal vacation spot may be. And, wherever it may be, I am quite sure that a cozy, enticing, romantic, elegant, or fun bar is nearby—you just have to choose your style and settle in.