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If you plan to do some outdoor entertaining, a key piece that can help make any patio into a party is a patio bar. Patio bars are smaller pieces with a countertop and shelving inside that can help you serve drinks. You can make your backyard into a bar without any heavy remodeling of the space.

But this is another product that comes in a wide variety of materials, styles and features. Below we'll look at which type of patio bar works for your design and entertaining goals.

What are the best materials for a patio bar?

You have a wide variety of choices when it comes to the materials that patio bars are made out of. Each imparts its own unique style. Some of the most common materials include:

Wood

Wood creates a timeless base for a home bar. Choose a wood style if you want a piece that can fit in with just about any home style. Non-painted wood, especially in the slatted bar designs, can give your outdoor space a more rustic look. Bamboo is a common wood texture that gives a tropical island party feel. especially in slatted bar designs.

If your wooden patio bar is going to be exposed to the elements a lot, either choose dense wood varieties that are naturally decay-resistant, such as Western Red Cedar, white oak, teak, and bald cypress, or seal the piece adequately with coating of polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer.

Solid Cedar Wood Slatted Patio Bar
Rustic Home Bar
Acacia Wood Patio Bar
Solid Wood Patio And Wine Bar
Simple Acacia Wood Patio Bar
Stylish Cabinet Patio Bar

Metal

Patio bars also come in lightweight metals for easy transportation, like aluminum. Metals are common in sleek, modern patio bar styles. Though some metal designs are good in classic patio arrangements, as they come in vintage styles with complex patterns. Wrought iron bars with beautiful scrollwork and mesh design are one such example. The downside of such bars will be their weight, though.*

High Top Metal Frame Patio Bar
L Shape Metal Patio Bar
Classic Style Aluminum Patio Bar with Antique Black Finish
Stylish Cast Aluminum Patio Bar
Antique Bronze Hue Aluminum Patio Bar
Antique Style Patio Bar

Resin wicker

For a classic, textured appearance and increased durability, you can also find patio bars in wicker styles. Resin wicker, also known as all-weather wicker, is a material that resembles natural woven designs, but has been manufactured for use in outdoor patio furniture. Wicker, whether natural or synthetic, is a favorite among homeowners as it offers great versatility and weather-resistance. Light colors will beautifully complement casual, boho, and beach style patio bars, while dark grays or dark browns will add a bit of formality and elegance to your outdoor entertainment space.

Simple Style Wicker Patio Bar
Black Wicker Resin Patio Bar
Stylish Wicker Resin Patio Bar
Weather Resistant Wicker Resin Patio Bar
Simple Wicker Resin Patio Bar
Wicker Resin Patio Home Bar

Fiberglass

These models are often made to look like another material, such as marble or granite, but are lighter and thus easier to move. Choose this material if you want durability, function, sleek elegance, and a certain textured style, all at an affordable price.

It's also worth noting that it's common to see patio bars made using multiple materials. For instance, a patio bar may have a metal base and a plastic counter for easy cleaning. It's important to keep function and style in mind, rather than looking for a piece this is only one material.

How to choose patio bar style?

Beyond the style imparted by certain materials, there are also several different themes to choose from.

  • Bold and colorful: Many patio bars come with a colorful base and a white countertop. Some styles even allow you to choose a base from a wide variety of colorful options. Choose this style if you want a bold and artsy look.
  • Wrap design: Some patio bars have external wraps you can put around the base of the bar itself, usually made of a polyester fabric wrap. These allow you to customize the design of the bar, often going for themes like beach images. Choose this style if you want a customizable option that helps you design a certain party theme.
  • Faux stone: Since the point of a patio bar is to have a piece you can easily set up at a moment's notice, you won't find a patio bar made of stone. However, some styles have an outer wrap with a stone design or are textured like stone. Choose faux stone for an upscale, permanent-looking feature.
  • Text styles: Some patio bars have text on the front, usually related to a drink theme. It might have the word martini or Margaritaville, for example. Choose text for a playful, party theme.
  • Distressed and rustic: If you're going for a rustic look, you can find certain styles that have distressed paint jobs. These are often in wood materials for a further rustic look. Some get even more creative and look like they are made out of barrels.
Tiki Style Patio Bar
Simple Minimalist Patio Bar
Simple Colorful Patio Bar
Reclaimed Barrel Wooden Home Patio Bar
Wicker Resin Patio Bar
Wooden Patio Bar

What features are useful in patio bars?

Patio bars also have a few additional features that can come in handy:

  • Umbrella: Some styles come with an umbrella and the holder to keep it in place. Choose an umbrella style if you plan to place the patio bar where there is no shade.
  • Wheels: Many patio bars actually have wheels on the bottom that allow you to move the bar around. Wheels come particularly handy if your bar is extra large or made of heavier materials such as wrought iron.
  • Light up: Some styles actually light from within. Light up styles are good if you're going for a modern or night club theme.
  • Storage: It's important to assess what you'll need functionally. It can be convenient to find a model with an ice holder behind the bar or a sink built into the counter. Be sure to assess how much storage is behind the bar, as well. Most models have shelving built in behind the bar itself. Some have drawers, wine racks, cabinets or buckets included. If you serve many guests, more storage and space is key.
Five Piece Patio Home Bar
High Top Patio Bar
Stylish Light Up Patio Home Bar
Wooden Patio Bar With Wine Storage
Simple Slatted Design Patio Bar
Wooden Patio Bar

Which shape and size of patio bar should I choose?

A major feature of patio bars is that they tend to be straight or L shape.

  • In L-shape designs, the counter itself is long with a shorter L-wing. As an example, the counter might be 63 inches long and the L-wing might be 41 inches long. This gives the appearance of a conventional bar people can sit around and allows guests to face each other more while they talk. Choose an L shape if you want people to sit around the bar.
  • Straight styles, which are more just for serving, tend to be around 36 inches high by 39 inches wide by 15 inches deep. Though you might also find larger and more involved straight styles with a sink. Larger straight styles can run around 35 inches high by 67 inches wide.
  • More rarely, you might also find patio bars that are curved for a more elegant style. These may be around 41 inches high by 70 inches wide by 16 inches deep.