An outdoor bar is a great way to expand and make the most of your outdoor living space. They are also ideal for entertaining, keeping snacks and beverages conveniently located, and reducing the need to make trips to the kitchen indoors.
DIY outdoor bars come in a vast range of sizes and styles for any need, and they are also easy to add onto and upgrade over time. Because of that, a DIY outdoor bar is an excellent project for beginners who can add more features as their skills grow. Here are some of the best DIY outdoor bar projects.
- DIY Outdoor Bars
- DIY Outdoor Bar Cart
- DIY Fold-Away Murphy Bar
- DIY Outdoor Bar from Wood Pallets
- DIY Outdoor Tiki Bar from PVC Pipes
DIY Outdoor Bars
DIY Outdoor Bar Cart
A DIY outdoor bar cart is a great way to serve beverages at a barbecue, poolside, or patio table, moving it to where ever it’s needed. To make a DIY outdoor bar cart, follow these steps.
Build a Bar-Height Table With Shelves
Use wood (this is an excellent project for a repurposed wood pallet) to make a table your desired height and width, with shelves at the base and middle. You can also repurpose a thrifted table and simply add shelving to it.
It’s a good idea to add a rim around your bottom and middle shelves, turning them into shallow trays, which will help prevent items from slipping and falling off the cart when you move it.
It’s always a good idea to choose outdoor-safe locking caster wheels like these. If your outdoors are a bit more rugged, you may want wheels with greater tread.
Make it a Bar
To turn your outdoor cart into a bar is simply a matter of accessorizing. Consider adding a towel bar, hooks for utensils or accessories, or a handle for easier movement. Adding a stemware rack is a great way to keep wine glasses stable as you move the cart, and a shelf liner will also reduce slips and mishaps.
Add a Cooler
Cutting a hole in the top of your cart and creating space for an ice chest or cooler is a straightforward project. Choose a cooler with a lid, or make your own flush lid to preserve working space on top of your bar.
Depending on the type of cooler you choose, you may need to add additional support underneath to hold the weight and be mindful of how you will manage condensation and empty the cooler when it’s not in use.
DIY Fold-Away Murphy Bar
A compact fold-away DIY Murphy bar is an excellent project for a balcony or other small outdoor space. It lets you quickly transform your space when needed, then tucks away when not in use. Here’s how to make one:
Build a Box Frame
Using 1×8 boards, build a frame with interior shelving. Build it the full size of your fold-out table, with enough shelves to store your bar supplies. Ensure that the shelves are shallower than the outside box to leave room for the table to fold upward.
Build the Tabletop
Using 1×6 boards, build a flat tabletop the same size as your frame. Assemble the tabletop on a supporting frame.
Build the Fold-Out Legs
Build a frame with legs that will fold out from the bottom of the tabletop. Make the legs the correct height to form a flat table when hung on a wall and small enough to fit inside the tabletop frame.
Assemble the Hardware
Using weather-resistant hinges, attach the legs to the tabletop, and the tabletop to the shelving frame.
Install a half-turn button to restrict the leg frame’s movement and keep it square and flush when folded away.
Add a sash lock to the shelved frame and tabletop to keep them closed when not in use.
Add brackets for Hanging
Attach heavy-duty L brackets to the underside of the top of your shelving frame. You will use these to hang the Murphy bar from a wall.
Finish your Bar
The great thing about this project is that shelves provide storage for your bar supplies, yet it’s friendly for small spaces. You may want to add folding bar stools, a small stemware rack, or towel hooks to your Murphy bar.
For a fun addition, paint the bottom of the tabletop with chalkboard paint to be personalized and decorative when the bar is folded up.
DIY Outdoor Bar from Wood Pallets
This DIY outdoor bar is a fast and simple project and is a great way to use wood pallets. It adds rustic charm to any outdoor space and is also surprisingly versatile and useful. To make a DYI outdoor wood pallet bar, follow these steps:
Attach Two Pallets Together
Stack two wood pallets on top of each other, facing the same direction. Using wood screws, attach them to each other to create a strong, stable structure. Stand the wood pallets up to form the bar structure.
Attach Locking Casters
In the bottom four corners, attach outdoor locking caster wheels
Build a Bar Top
Using wood (or stone countertop material), add a bar top to the wood pallets. You can make a top that is the size of the pallets themselves or make it deeper to create optional bar seating with the overhang.
The larger, sturdier, and heavier the bar top is, the more critical it is that you have strong, rugged wheels
Add Interior Shelving
On the back of the pallet bar, inside the existing opening in the wood pallet, use wood to create shallow shelves for storage.
Varnish, Paint and Decorate
Depending on how you decorate your DIY pallet bar, it can fit a wide range of styles. Consider an outdoor wood varnish for a rustic look, painting it in bright bohemian colors, or simply painting it a sleek modern grey or black.
DIY Outdoor Tiki Bar from PVC Pipes
PVC pipes are lightweight, durable, affordable, and easy to work with. Using PVC pipes, you can quickly assemble fun and playful tiki bar, perfect for summer parties. Here’s how to make a DIY outdoor PVC tiki bar.
Assemble the Frame
Using PVC pipes and PVC glue, assemble the bar frame and structure. Make sturdy frames for legs and shelves. You can make this bar a simple table structure or add wings on both sides to make a traditional “bar” shape.
Add Wood Shelves and Bar Top
Cut wood to make the bar top and bottom, and middle shelves. These boards should rest securely on the PVC framework.
Drill Holes for the Roof Structure
You can’t have a tiki bar without a roof. Drill holes in the top of your bar to hold and support the PVC pipes that will support the roof.
Build the Roof Structure
Using PVC pipes and PVC glue, build the bar’s roof structure. Make support pipes that will hold up the roof, and then build a framework with a high pipe for the roof peak and one or two cross-pieces below it to hold the rest of the roof.
Attach the Roof to the Bar
Place the roof support pipes into the drilled holes and, if necessary, use screws to secure them in place.
Give Your PVC a Bamboo Look (optional)
Use a rag and acetone to wipe all the PVC pipe to remove any printing and lettering and clean the pipe. For the pipes that will be visible from the outside of the bar, you may simply paint the PVC and move on, or you can give your PVC the distinctive look of bamboo. To make PVC look like bamboo:
Use a C-style pipe cutter to score (not cut) the PVC at 12-14” intervals to make the bamboo’s distinctive horizontal nodes.
Use a blowtorch to heat these scored lines quickly and evenly until they are visible but not broken. Heating the scored lines makes them slightly swell and creates a dark line across the pipe. This mimics how bamboo nodes are darker in color and larger in diameter than the rest of the bamboo rod.
Paint or stain the PVC with shellac, stain, or another natural, bamboo-looking color and finish.
Finish Your Tiki Bar
Wrap the exterior base of your bar in reed fencing and use “grass” table skirting to form the roof. You may also want additional grass fringe to wrap around the top edge of your bar or decorate your seating. Complete the look with solar-powered tiki torches.
An outdoor bar makes summer living and entertaining so much more enjoyable. With so many great DIY outdoor bar ideas, you’re sure to find the right project for your space and skill level.