Need a Backyard Transformation? Watch RTA Work its Magic in the Great Outdoor Kitchen Makeover Watch Now

Outdoor Bar on Deck: Expert Recommendations for Installation & 10 Inspiring Ideas

By Daniel Cdebaca

April 3, 2023

You’re in the market for a backyard bar… And the best location for your new outdoor oasis will be on the deck!

It’s a smart idea.

But before you build an outdoor bar on deck… There’s quite a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

This is especially true if your deck is already installed. It’s not always a plug-and-play experience!

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into all these considerations… And wrap up with some excellent ideas for your inspiration!

Let’s discuss.

Quick Links:

bar island with seating under an umbrella on deck

Before You Begin: Considerations for Installing an Outdoor Bar on Deck

We know you’re excited to get started with your project… But hold up!

While it may seem simple to install an outdoor bar on a deck… There’s actually a lot more to it than you may expect!

First and foremost… You’ll have to consider the weight of your bar.

Weight Requirements of Your Bar

Whether your deck is already installed or not… It will have to be able to withstand the weight of your outdoor bar!

Why is this important?

Well, if your deck can’t withstand the weight of your bar… Sooner or later, you’re going to have an expensive disaster on your hands!

This is also a significant safety risk. If people happen to be on the deck when it fails and the bar falls through… Your loved ones could get seriously injured!

So before you do anything else… Determine the load rating of your deck.

This information will dictate how much weight your deck can handle.

What if the weight of your bar is over the limit?

Not to worry! It can still be adjusted. However… There’s a little more elbow grease involved.

In this case, you will need to add more support beams to your deck. Of course, this is an added expense as your builder will have to make these adjustments.

Alternatively, you may not want to bother with this extra step. If so… Just size down your bar to meet the weight requirements.

This whole process seems a bit fiddly, doesn’t it?

If you don’t have your deck installed yet… It doesn’t have to be at all!

This gives you the opportunity to plan ahead. Get the dimensions and weight of your future bar ahead of time… So that your deck can be built to the proper specifications from the get-go.

You won’t have to do any extra work or make compromises. It’s a win-win scenario!

But in addition to the weight of your outdoor kitchen bar… You’ll also have to think about space.

Want to bring your idea to life?

Use our free 3D design tool to bring the outdoor kitchen of your dreams to reality in just a few minutes.

Space Requirements of Your Bar

Of course, you don’t just have the weight of your outdoor bar to ponder about. You have to plan for adequate space as well.

More than likely… You’re just thinking about how big you want your outdoor bar to be!

This is important.

However… Your deck also has to be large enough to comfortably accommodate its size.

First, you’ll have to consider the actual dimensions of your outdoor bar. A linear bar will take up the smallest amount of space… With an L-shape or U-shape layout taking up the most.

So the size of your bar will fit on your deck. We’re good to go, right?

Well… Not quite.

If your bar just barely fits on your deck… It isn’t going to be comfortable for you or your guests! Your outdoor bar needs breathing room.

Therefore, you have two other spacing fundamentals to consider:

1. Space for bar seating
2. Walkthrough space

More than likely… You’re going to incorporate some level of bar seating.

For best results… You’ll want to account for 2.5’ of space for each bar stool, measuring side-to-side.

Additionally, you’ll want another 3.5’ extending from the base of your island, measuring straight back. This will account for the space you need to scoot out a bar stool… And include walkthrough space behind the island.

Speaking of walkthrough space… You’ll need that on each side of your island! This will ensure foot traffic is not inhibited around your deck.

Again, you’ll want about 3.5’ of walkthrough space on each side of your island.

If your deck hasn’t been constructed yet… It’s a lot easier to tailor your deck to the needs of your bar.

If you already have a deck installed… You have clear parameters to work with! This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it.

Now, let’s turn our attention to utilities.

Utility Installation

utility line

If you plan to have a refrigerator, ice maker, kegerator, or sink in your outdoor bar… You’re going to need utilities!

Yet again, this can be a complicating factor for your project.

Not so much if you don’t have a deck yet… But if you’re retrofitting, this will require some extra effort!

Unlike a patio… You won’t need sections of your deck to be ripped up in order to have utilities run to your future bar. However, it will be a bit trickier and may reflect in the labor costs.

But if you don’t have your deck installed yet… Setting up utilities is far easier!

The location of your future bar and utilities can be planned out ahead of time… And will be prepared before your deck is installed.

This means utilities will already be stubbed up through your deck… And ready to go when your outdoor bar is built.

However, if you have an extensive project on your hands to make utilities work for an existing deck… You might not want to deal with all the hassle.

So, what are you to do?

If you’re willing to make compromises… You can do without utilities.

Consider leaving out the sink… And replacing the refrigerator with a drop-in cooler.

This will allow you to have cool beverages available, without having to set up utilities.

But if the sacrifices in convenience are too great to bear… It’s typically well-worth the extra effort to run utility lines!

What’s the final aspect of this project you’ll have to consider?

Materials.

Deck Materials

deck that is ready for an outdoor kitchen

Generally speaking, the materials for your deck are more important if you’re installing an outdoor kitchen on it… But it’s still worth a brief mention.

Why does this matter?

In the case of an outdoor kitchen… You’ll have a grill or other cooking appliances being used. Therefore, there’s an inherent safety risk there.

To reduce the risk of a fire… You’ll want to ensure your deck is made from non-combustible materials. (Same goes for your outdoor kitchen materials!)

Aerated concrete is the gold standard, with composite being a close second. At minimum, ensure your materials are fire-resistant.

But if you’re not installing an outdoor kitchen with your bar… The material considerations for your deck become less vital.

However, it’s still something to keep in mind!

You might not want a BBQ island now… But in the future your tune may change. Planning ahead for this possibility will reduce headaches down the line!

Alright. If everything sounds good so far… Let’s check out some DIY outdoor bar ideas on a deck!

Outdoor Bar Ideas on Deck

Before you start planning your own outdoor bar on deck… It’s smart to review some ideas first!

These bar ideas will not only give you inspiration… They’ll help you narrow down what designs you prefer!

Let’s take a look.

Backyard Outdoor Bar Idea

l shape outdoor kitchen with bar on deck

This outdoor bar blends in perfectly with the deck design!

The weathered wood finish of this concrete island matches beautifully with the wooden slats of the deck. (This is the right way to do a “wood bar”!)

But let’s take a closer look at what makes this outdoor kitchen bar stand out.

Of course… You have the stainless steel grill with storage underneath.

Looking at the bar island, this homeowner kept it nice and simple. You’ve got a pull-out trash can… And an open bar top for serving up drinks!

Just set up a couple swivel bar stools… And your guests will have a beautiful view as they sip on their beverage of choice!

Does it get any more relaxing?

Galley Outdoor Bar for a Deck

galley style outdoor kitchen under gazebo with bar lighting

Sometimes, one bar island just isn’t enough.

How about two?

That’s exactly what this homeowner did!

This galley-style outdoor bar offers a full-service beverage center for your guests.

You’ve got the drop-in cooler on the left side. This will keep plenty of cans cold and ready to serve.

Then you have the refrigerator on the second island. This can serve as a beverage reserve… Or, to keep your bartending supplies perfectly fresh.

The sink makes it a breeze to rinse dishes and keep hands clean, as well.

Not to mention… This homeowner has an entire seating area for guests to mingle with their beverages. And under the cover of a pavilion… No inclement weather could stop this party!

What more could you want from an outdoor backyard bar?

Stone Outdoor Bar for Deck

l shaped stacked stone chalk with bar island and outdoor sink

This stone outdoor kitchen bar sure is a stunner!

The bright stone finish offers a lovely blend of both rustic and modern design… With a welcome contrast to the gray hues of the deck.

This outdoor deck bar also has many appliances to assist your hosting needs!

You’ve got the grills for burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and more… A side burner to craft sauces and side dishes… And storage underneath to keep all your utensils on hand.

Further, you’ve got the more bar-centered accessories.

An outdoor refrigerator is almost a must-have… And this homeowner opted for a drop-in cooler for an additional, analog form of refrigeration.

You’ve got the sink for hand washing and dish washing… Plus a pull out trash underneath to keep your deck area tidy.

The only thing missing here is some bar seating… But you could easily set up a seating area off to the side.

Wraparound Outdoor Home Bar on Deck

Wraparound Outdoor Home Bar on Deck

Looking for a unique outdoor bar deck design?

This is just the thing!

This outdoor bar wraps perfectly around a section of this homeowner’s deck area. Not only does this offer a streamlined look… It’s also an efficient use of space!

We’d also be remiss not to mention the matching stone backsplash off of the grill. It keeps the exterior wall safe… And also creates an intriguing design element.

Speaking to the bar island itself… You’ve got all the staples!

There’s a grill, combination storage, outdoor refrigerator, sink, pull out trash, and an access door for the sink.

The angle of this outdoor kitchen creates a fantastic countertop workstation, as well.

It’s at a comfortable height for prepping food and drinks… And doubles as a convenient serving station!

It’s the best of both worlds.

Plank Outdoor Bar on Deck Ideas

plank bright outdoor bar on deck

This outdoor bar area is as modern as it gets!

The sleek, bright plank finish gives this island a modern edge… Yet pairs beautifully with this traditional deck.

Situated at the corner of the deck… This bar design area won’t have built-in seating. However, some outdoor furniture to the side is the perfect compromise!

The bar counter top is wide-open for serving and prepping drinks… With the refrigerator just an arm’s reach away.

Plus, you’ve got the cooking appliances to whip up some delicious grub!

Use the gas grill and side burner to create some delicious appetizers… And your guests will be enjoying the culinary experience all day long!

Sounds like an ideal day to us!

Impressive Outdoor Deck with Bar

tamara day l shaped outdoor ktichen with refreshment center power burner and combo storage

Who wouldn’t want to spend the day in this outdoor living space?

It has absolutely everything you need!

And while the grill island may be the primary focus here… The bar island is an important element of this design, as well.

The flat top grill is ideal for cooking breakfast staples… Which means your bar island can be conveniently turned into a breakfast bar!

Imagine spending the morning enjoying a cup of coffee and fresh breakfast… The smell of bacon, maple syrup, and fresh air all mingling into your senses.

It sounds almost like heaven.

Additionally, there’s ample space on this deck for a full outdoor dining area. So if you’d rather enjoy a formal meal with your guests at a dining table… It’s all within reach!

At the same time… You might prefer an option that’s a bit scaled back.

Customize your bar island

Add an outdoor kitchen with a bar island to your deck! Use our free 3D design tool to customize yours today.

Small Outdoor Bar Idea

mina starsiaks outdoor kitchen with bar and pizza oven island

Don’t have much space to work with? You don’t have to dash your hopes of getting an impressive outdoor bar!

This small bar is a shining example of how to make your dreams a reality.

With two refrigerators… You’ll never run out of refreshments for your guests! And the bar top is left wide open as a serving station.

Once you’ve grabbed your drinks and food… Mosey on over to the bar table just a few steps away.

And as with a few of the previous examples… The plank finish on this bar island is a beautiful complement to the deck.

Simple and clean!

Outdoor Entertaining at the Bar

l shaped outdoor bar under gazebo

This outdoor kitchen bar offers you the ultimate hosting experience!

If you really wanted to go all out… A swimming pool, fire pit, or hot tub would all make a fantastic addition here.

But let’s get back to the bar!

This expansive bar island has plenty of space for multipurpose use. It can easily be used as a serving station… But more often, this island will be used for seating.

In fact, you’ll peek at some bar furniture and chairs right behind the island. So there’s built-in seating at the bar… And extra space behind it if everyone wants to relax together.

You can’t forget the BBQ island, either! The grill is your cooking appliance, of course… But there’s also a sink and pull out trash can to assist with your bartending and hosting needs.

And while this particular design is seated under a pavilion… It would look just as nice under a gazebo or pergola.

Outdoor Bar Design Ideas

l shaped outdoor kitchen with bar and refreshment center with tv to entertain

While the deck isn’t prominent in this example… It’s another great example of an outdoor bar on a deck!

Neatly tucked into a corner… The space in this outdoor living room is well-utilized.

Also notice that the bar island is up against the wall, and not the grill island. This may seem like a small quibble… But this was actually a smart safety move! You don’t want your grill up against a wall, especially if there’s no ventilation there.

Anyway…

This bar island may not seem like much… But it has a complete cocktail station right inside!

The Coyote refreshment center has a small faucet, integrated cutting board, drop-in cooler, bottle opener, bottle holder, and a towel holder.

Time to freshen up your bartending skills! (It sure beats a bar cart!)

And if you want to serve up some food to munch on… You’ve got the Asado smoker and built-in grill to ensure that’s more than handled!

Alright. Let’s wrap up the list with one more example.

Outdoor Bar for Backyard Ideas

outdoor bar with swivel bar seats on deck

The stacked stone terra finish on this island is a lovely match for the deep brown hue of the deck!

The addition of a bright red umbrella was a smart design choice as well… Bringing a well-needed pop of color to the outdoor space.

It also ensures your bar is the focal point!

A few patio bar chairs solidify the outdoor bar as a gathering space. Is there anything better than chatting the night away, outside with your loved ones?

Plus, you have easy access to the grill to cook up some burgers or steaks. What starts out as just getting together for a couple drinks… Quickly turns into a full on barbecue!

The only thing that could spruce up this space a little more is a smart use of landscaping. Some colorful flora would truly bring this area to life!

At this point… You’re probably feeling ready to tackle your own project!

Now that you’ve seen some examples of an outdoor bar on a deck… Let’s discuss how to get your own.

bar on a deck!

Neatly tucked into a corner… The space in this outdoor living room is well-utilized.

Also notice that the bar island is up against the wall, and not the grill island. This may seem like a small quibble… But this was actually a smart safety move! You don’t want your grill up against a wall, especially if there’s no ventilation there.

Anyway…

This bar island may not seem like much… But it has a complete cocktail station right inside!

The Coyote refreshment center has a small faucet, integrated cutting board, drop-in cooler, bottle opener, bottle holder, and a towel holder.

Time to freshen up your bartending skills! (It sure beats a bar cart!)

And if you want to serve up some food to munch on… You’ve got the Asado smoker and built-in grill to ensure that’s more than handled!

Alright. Let’s wrap up the list with one more example.

Get Your Own Outdoor Bar

While there are quite a few backyard patio or deck bar options out there…

None are quite as convenient and user-friendly as RTA!

Our outdoor bar kits are a DIY project that anyone can complete. There’s no specialized experience required!

What makes it so easy?

It’s through the use of our monolithic concrete panels. These panels have the finish fully incorporated into them… Creating a single, solid layer.

These panels are delivered to your backyard in crates, complete with countertops and appliances.

The panels are simply bolted together with a power drill. (Believe it or not, this is the most complicated step!)

After that, you carefully place your countertop… And slide in the appliances.

Within a couple hours, your DIY outdoor bar on a deck is complete!

No matter your confidence level… We’ll walk you through every step of the process.

Our Design Experts will tailor the experience directly to your needs.

And if you still don’t feel confident about the assembly… We have an ever-expanding contractor network who can help you out!

It’s also worth mentioning that RTA outdoor bars are an excellent solution… Particularly when installing on a deck.

Although our islands are made from ultra-durable concrete… The panelized system actually makes them relatively lightweight.

Of course, check to make sure your deck can handle it beforehand! But you’ll tend to have more flexibility with RTA compared to other solutions.

And there you have it.

Surely, you’ll be in need of some more information before you make a final decision.

To assist you in your research… Our Learning Hub is the perfect place to begin!

You’ll encounter a wealth of information about outdoor kitchen bars… Providing the perfect jumping-off point for your project.

And once you’re ready to take the plunge… You know where to find us!

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.

Free 1-on-1 Design Consult

($500 Value + bonuses & monthly promotional offer)

Enter your contact information below and one of our expert outdoor kitchen designers will reach out to you soon to schedule a call at your earliest convenience.

By submitting your number, you consent to receiving calls and texts from RTA Outdoor Living. Calls may be recorded for training or quality purposes. You can reply STOP or unsubscribe to cancel at any time.

Looking For Your Dream Outdoor Kitchen?

Book a Free 1-On-1 Design Call

Why You Should Book A Call Now:

By submitting your number, you consent to receiving calls and texts from RTA Outdoor living. You can reply STOP or unsubscribe to cancel at any time.