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Outdoor Bar Lights: Best Fixtures to Consider & 7 Illuminating Ideas

By Jayme Muller

January 3, 2023

If you have an outdoor bar, you want an excuse to be outside using it as much as possible!

And while summer evenings are long… The sun does set eventually.

You could mosey on over to the fire pit if you have one… But what if you want to continue relaxing at the bar?

The conversations are flowing well, and you have no desire to get up quite yet.

Well, in that case… Outdoor bar lights are the simple solution!

But what’s not so simple, is deciding what lights you want! There are a dizzying amount of options out there… And it can be tough to know what would work best in your space.

So, allow us to bring you into the light!

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new jersey outdoor kitchen by rta at night with lighting

Types of Outdoor Bar Lights

Before you decide which outdoor bar lights to purchase… Let’s review some of the lighting types you will encounter.

Pendant Lights

An ever-popular choice for indoor kitchen lighting… Pendant lights can be a stunning, classy addition to your outdoor bar.

However, you’ll need the infrastructure first!

You can’t install pendant lighting if there’s nothing to hang it from. If you have some form of outdoor roof or gazebo over your bar… It’s simple enough to install.

In terms of functionality… Pendant lighting is a great option, as it will directly light up the area surrounding your bar.

If you have the setup for it, pendant lighting surely won’t disappoint!

Pendant outdoor lights

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Chandelier Lights

Ceiling lights are another option you might consider for an outdoor bar. A common choice for indoor spaces… For outside use, they tend to be less practical.

Why?

This primarily has to do with the height and shape of your outdoor roof.

If your roof is pitched… A ceiling light simply won’t work in the space. It won’t be able to sit parallel to the ground.

But even more, many outdoor roofs or gazebos sit quite high above your island. Therefore… Your light might sit too far away to have much of an effect.

If you’re settled on the idea regardless… Make sure your lightbulbs are bright!

chandelier outdoor lighting

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lights, also known as downlights, are a popular indoor lighting choice.

Unlike ceiling lights, this option tends to work far better outdoors!

They’re often installed on angled roofing… And you can install many light fixtures to illuminate the space better.

While they won’t provide targeted lighting over your outdoor bar… If you install enough of them, they’ll have no problem lighting your entire outdoor living space.

Recessed lighting is also a great dimmable option to adjust as you’d like.

recessed outdoor bar lighting

Outdoor String Lights

String lights are an extremely popular lighting option outdoors, and it’s easy to see why!

If you want to create a rustic or boho look for your outdoor bar… String lighting is the way to go.

At night, the small bulbs appear to almost float in the air… Giving a mystical, charming ambiance to your backyard.

Most bulbs will come with a warm white hue, which only adds to this feeling.

Outdoor LED string lights are also easy to set up and customize to your needs. You can hang them underneath a roof… Or have them span the entire length of your backyard.

Overall, string lights offer excellent flexibility for outdoor spaces. They’ll also add plenty of light to your outdoor bar!

Outdoor Rope Lights

Another common option are outdoor rope lights… And these are far from being limited to holiday decorations!

Rope lights tend to add a funky, upbeat style to your outdoor space. This is especially true if you opt for an RGB color changing option.

When it comes to outdoor use… You’ll mostly see rope lights wrapped around trees. However, they can also be used functionally!

You can use rope LED lights to illuminate railings, steps, and even pathways. Outlining these barriers will ensure guests watch where they step… And prevent accidental tripping!

But if you want to add rope lights to your outdoor bar, there are fewer options. You could wrap them around your island, right underneath the countertop to create under-counter lighting.

If you get creative… These can be an interesting option for outdoor bar lights!

outdoor bar rope lights

Outdoor Strip Lights

When used outside… Strip lights can create a unique, almost futuristic look to your outdoor bar.

You can use an LED strip light kit to outline the angles of your bar, and create an ultra-modern aesthetic.

Or if you’d rather not go all-out… Simply adding strip lights right underneath the countertop will create a stunning look.

They’ll also help illuminate your island, making it easier to access appliances and see the ground.

Additionally, strip lights can easily be installed around the perimeter of a roof, gazebo, or even a pergola.

If you choose to do this for your island or a covered structure… It’s best to install these while your island or structure is being built. This allows you to hide the wires, rather than having to leave them exposed.

Floodlights or Spot Lights

Whether you call them floodlights, spot lights, or security lights… All of these options reflect pretty much the same type of lighting.

These are ultra-bright light fixtures that are commonly overhead mounted. You’ll also find them used as landscape lighting, sitting on the ground.

While they won’t add anything to the aesthetic of your outdoor bar… These high-lumen lights are powerful and will easily illuminate your outdoor living area.

You can also purchase one equipped with a motion sensor… So they’ll only kick on as needed.

Floodlights are a great way to “fill in” any space that might not already be lighted.

Outdoor Wall Lights

Outdoor wall lights are beautiful, but can have limited applications for an outdoor bar.

Unless your bar is close to a wall… These lights won’t have much of an effect, even with strong LED bulbs.

However, if your outdoor bar is near a wall… These lights are worth considering!

Wall sconces in particular can create a stunning, upscale look in your space. Alternatively, you might prefer a wall-mounted lantern for a rustic look.

Overall, wall lights are an excellent choice if your bar is nearby… And you’re interested in decorative lighting.

Alright, we’ve just reviewed a ton of outdoor bar light options!

Let’s see what that might look like in reality.

The Perfect Hangout Spot

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Outdoor Bar Lights Ideas

Although you’ve just read about the most popular outdoor lighting options… It can be tough to know what they might actually look like in your backyard.

So let’s get the creative juices flowing with some outdoor bar lighting ideas!

String Lights for Outdoor Bar Ideas

We’ll kick off the list with this excellent example!

This outdoor bar with a pool has a whole lot going for it… Including the lighting!

You’ll notice these homeowners opted to utilize string lighting in two different ways.

First, you’ll probably notice them hanging from the balcony.

Then, as your gaze is carried downward… You’ll also see them hanging from the edge of the bar!

This is a lovely touch that keeps the design tied-in quite well.

And while these string lights don’t offer much in the way of bright lighting… They do create a calming ambiance as the sun begins to set.

Ideas for Outdoor Bar with Lights

outdoor kitchen on patio with seating and bar lighting

Now let’s take a look at an idea with a bird’s eye view!

Again, you’ll see this homeowner opted for string lighting as well. However, it’s utilized in a different way.

The string lights are outlining the perimeter of this outdoor living space. It creates a line of separation… Without the harshness of a full wall.

You’ll also notice there’s some additional lighting inside the steps coming off of the house.

And of course, while it’s not technically used for lighting purposes… The outdoor fire pit provides a good amount of illumination as well!

The sparse lighting here will create a dimly lit, intimate ambiance.

All in all, this example could work in most spaces!

Hanging Outdoor Bar Lights Ideas

galley style outdoor kitchen under gazebo with bar lighting

This galley style outdoor kitchen bar has a lot going for it!

Situated under a large pavilion… There’s room for an entire outdoor living space under this structure!

And these homeowners utilized the structure to their advantage for bar lighting.

Of course, you’ll see the ever-popular choice of string lighting. Placed on the perimeter, it does a good job of keeping the edges of the space lit.

Additionally, you’ll notice there’s a lighted ceiling fan in the center. This provides a nice splash of brightness that the string lights don’t cover.

By keeping the bar islands close to the edge… They remain well-lit without having to add more.

Landscape Lighting for Outdoor Bar Ideas

outdoor kitchen with bar lighting at night

This outdoor bar is lit in a couple unique ways!

First, you’ll notice some LED outdoor bar lights directly under the countertop. This strip lighting adds a modern flair to an already modern outdoor kitchen!

The strip lighting also serves to illuminate the pathway underneath the island. Of course, it’s always nice to see where you’re going at night!

Which brings us to the landscape lighting.

You’ll find an ultra-bright garden light off to the side of the island. This helps to fill in the gaps and ensure the entire space is properly illuminated.

Overall, the lighting in this space creates an extra-classy aesthetic worth replicating!

Outdoor Hanging Bar Lights Ideas

outdoor bar lighting chandelier

If you’re just not into string lights, but want something above your bar… Perhaps a chandelier is in order!

While you can choose whatever design you’d like… This rustic-style chandelier matches beautifully with the stone outdoor kitchen.

And with three bulbs on this fixture, there’s plenty of light to go around!

This space will be well-lit at night… Even if you’re working way over at the BBQ island smoker!

This design is also a great example of “less is more”. You don’t always have to go all-out to achieve the desired result!

Even a single lighting fixture can be enough to keep your bar illuminated, and looking beautiful.

Patio Outdoor Bar Lighting Ideas

galley style outdoor bar

Once again, we have an excellent example of string lighting!

It’s easy to see why it’s such a popular choice. The versatility of this lighting is virtually endless!

In this example, it’s used to line the perimeter of this backyard space.

You might need some additional lighting if you’re planning to cook outside… But for simply relaxing and mingling with friends, the low-light ambiance will be perfect.

Lighting aside… This outdoor bar looks stunning!

The touch of home decor here and there truly makes the space shine. Plus, the outdoor kitchen patio ties in the space quite nicely.

It’s two thumbs up from us!

Pergola Bar Lights Outdoor Ideas

outdoor kitchen with bar seating on patio under a pergola

You’ve seen multiple examples for lighting under a gazebo… But what about under a pergola?

As you can tell, the same concepts apply!

Like some of the previous examples… This homeowner opted to line the perimeter of the pergola with string lights.

When the curtains are closed, this creates an intimate, dimly-lit space! Just imagine sitting in the corner, drink in hand, chatting it up with your significant other.

It’s a lovely sight!

Even though the lighting is relatively spaced out, it’s still quite functional in this space. Most of the lights are directly over the bar… Which will keep it fairly well-lit throughout the evening.

Alright, now you’ve seen quite a few outdoor bar lighting ideas!

How do you get started with your own?

The Best Outdoor Bar for Your Backyard

l shaped outdoor kitchen with sink and bar seating

Now that you’ve reviewed all these examples… You’re probably getting excited to start your project!

Well, we are too!

So allow us to share with you the best solution for your backyard.

It’s the ready to assemble outdoor kitchen. (Or in your case, outdoor bar!)

Why is it the best?

It’s the easiest option on the market! If you want a DIY outdoor bar… There’s no better option.

First, you’ll choose either a custom or Quick Ship design. These Quick Ship kitchens are a collection of designs from our best sellers!

Either way, your outdoor bar will be delivered to your doorstep as concrete panels. It will also be complete with premium appliances from Coyote… And either a concrete or granite countertop.

You’ll fasten the panels together with brackets, place the countertop, slide in the appliances… And that’s it!

Couldn’t be easier, right?

By saving time on the assembly… That leaves you plenty of extra time to set up your outdoor bar lights!

On top of that… The quality of an RTA outdoor bar is no slouch, either.

Our high performance concrete panels are subject to a limited lifetime structural warranty.

So you can be sure your investment is built to last!

Well, what do you think? Ready to get started?

If so, check out our free online design tool… Look through our Quick Ship bar islands… And we’ll be in touch!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

FAQ

As far as the type of light fixtures at your disposal… There’s no discernable difference between outdoor bar lights and indoor bar lights. The difference is how they are utilized. In the outdoor space… There are far more shadows created that allow for a more creative use of light compared to the indoors.

Outdoor bar lights can be used to illuminate just about anything in your outdoor space! Of course, they will primarily light your outdoor bar. However, you can also light an outdoor seating area, outdoor kitchen, or other outdoor living features.

One of the biggest advantages of outdoor bar lights is safety. It allows you to be able to see where you’re walking, and reduce the risk of trips and falls. Additionally, they allow you to utilize your space for a far longer period of time. You’re not relying on natural daylight to enjoy your backyard area!

 

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