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

Outdoor Kitchen Bar: 17 Inspiring Ideas and Designs

By Jayme Muller

February 23, 2024

There’s no better place to cook than on an outdoor kitchen grill.

All kinds of fantastic foods… Out in the fresh air… And did we mention fantastic food?

You’re looking at perfectly-seared steaks… Juicy vegetables… The most delicious burgers you’ve ever made…

But where are you going to eat? And where will your guests sit?

While an outdoor dining table is a great idea for outdoor seating… An even better idea is right where the magic happens: at an outdoor kitchen bar.

family sitting at outdoor kitchen bar under gondola

So in this article… We’ll be doing a deep dive on how to plan an outdoor kitchen bar, and wrap up with some inspiring ideas.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Quick Links: 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR?

moks outdoor kitchen cabinet with bar seating grill and sink

One of the best ways to improve your outdoor space is to build an outside grill island.

They look beautiful, and you can cook outside year-round.

They’re ideal for entertaining… Plus, they function as an outdoor living room for your family.

And incorporating an outdoor kitchen bar only adds to the convenience and benefits!

The possibilities are endless.

You have the perfect drink station…

Even more room for food prep and outdoor cooking…

And best of all, there’s bar seating!

Your outdoor kitchen bar is a beautiful spot that encourages community… Where people can sit and stand to socialize, eat, and drink.

If you’ve ever hosted a large gathering… You know that sometimes, you can get so caught up in cooking and preparing that you’re barely present for your own party.

You don’t want to be left out because you’re off cooking in your outdoor kitchen alone… That defeats the whole purpose of inviting people over, doesn’t it?

An outdoor kitchen bar provides a way for you to take care of your guests… While getting to truly enjoy the company of your friends and family.

Your guests can relax… And you’ll still be able to hang out while you cook! It’s a win-win.

At the end of the day, an outdoor kitchen bar is the ideal outdoor dining area… And it will help transform your BBQ island into a true outdoor living space.

The one question is… How do you build one?

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.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR PLANNING

You might be wondering how to create your own outdoor kitchen island with bar… So let’s get started.

And no doubt, one of the first questions you’re likely to ask is…

“What should the dimensions be?”

OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR DIMENSIONS

outdoor kitchen bar seating with spacing measurements displayed

If you’re constructing your own outdoor kitchen bar… You’re going to want to make sure that your outdoor kitchen dimensions make sense.

First of all, the minimum depth for a bar top should be 12 inches.

On top of that, if you want to fit outdoor kitchen bar stools underneath it… You should have a 12 to 18-inch overhang.

This will help your guests sit comfortably.

Finally, you can plan how many bar stools your outdoor kitchen bar can fit by the width.

If you want bar stools… You should allow for about 6 inches between each stool… Or 3 feet per stool.

Bar stools that swivel might require a few extra inches each.

Overall… Your outdoor kitchen area may range anywhere from about 7 feet long… To as large as you’d like. Most projects will fall between 10×10 feet (100 square feet) and 20×20 feet (400 square feet).

Once you have your dimensions mapped out… You can really get started with your DIY outdoor bar kitchen.

HOW DO YOU PLAN TO USE YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR?

tamara day serving her kids at her outdoor kitchen bar seating

How you plan to use your outdoor kitchen bar is another factor that will determine how you might build it.

For instance…

If you want to use your outdoor kitchen bar to serve drinks… It makes sense to plan your layout to facilitate drink making.

One way to do this is to add an outdoor sink and refrigerator

A beverage center is also a good choice. For example, Coyote’s refreshment center comes with a sink, drop-in cooler, and removable condiment tray. (All in a single appliance!)

This beverage center also features a convenient bottle shelf, towel holder, and a bottle opener… All of which are helpful features to incorporate if you want to make and serve drinks.

If you’d prefer to use this space as a dining area… Also consider investing in a comfortable set of bar chairs.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your grill island has all the appliances needed to make the right kinds of foods for your guests.

If you want an outdoor kitchen bar area that can do both… You might want to consider some combination of features to create the perfect space.

In the end, think about what you want to do with your new outdoor kitchen bar space… And how you can best achieve that goal.

Next… You’ll want to think about what it will look like, exactly!

HOW WILL YOU DESIGN YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR?

outdoor bar area with lighting and tv

Designing your outdoor kitchen bar to be both beautiful and functional is the name of the game.

An outdoor kitchen bar is the perfect place to eat and drink… So you might want to consider keeping that countertop open.

You can install storage, an outdoor fridge, or pull-out trash can to utilize the base of the outdoor kitchen bar… While leaving the countertop wide-open for your guests.

Speaking of countertop space… If you want shade, you can have an umbrella holder in your countertop.

It will shade your space… And keep your guests comfortably cool.

The next question to ask yourself is… How will you make it? Should you DIY it?

SHOULD YOU DIY AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR?

a diy outdoor kitchen project that needs electrical utilities ran

The simple answer is… You absolutely can.

However… This is a project that requires a lot of skill, so there are a few questions to ask yourself first.

Do you have the expertise to do it well? And are you willing to spend the time and money?

If you don’t build it right, or if it doesn’t last as long as you expect, you might be very unhappy… So you should think about whether or not it’s worth the risk.

And that’s not even taking into account making sure you build your island safely. (That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms we won’t get into here!)

If you aren’t totally sold on DIYing this project… Stick around, because we’ll wrap this article up with the easiest DIY outdoor kitchen bar solution out there.

Now we’ve gotten through all the hard stuff… So let’s talk about the fun part.

17 OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR IDEAS

It’s hard to decide what kind of aesthetic you want to use for an outdoor kitchen bar.

Will you make something that stands out? Or blends in with your house?

The possibilities are endless… So here are a few outdoor kitchen ideas to help inspire you!

These outdoor kitchen bar plans will give you an abundance of inspiration for your outdoor entertaining space.

iscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

1. L-SHAPED BBQ WITH BAR

l shaped rta outdoor kitchen with umbrella and bar seating on patio

This beautiful L-shaped outdoor kitchen has a lovely bar.

The bar island is higher than the grill island… And it is also used for an outdoor kitchen refrigerator and trash bin! The umbrella is also a great touch, we must say.

It’s quite useful, and blends right in with the main outdoor kitchen island… We also couldn’t forget to mention the gorgeous patio pavers underneath!

2. OUTDOOR KITCHEN WITH BAR TOP

This lovely outdoor kitchen with bar makes the entire outdoor kitchen patio look inviting.

The upscale stone finish takes this modern outdoor kitchen to a whole new level… And all that’s missing are some contemporary bar stools to finish the look.

But even with just the built in grill, refrigerator, and storage… This island is well-equipped for a backyard bash.

modern stone outdoor kitchen bar with grill

3. SMALL OUTDOOR KITCHEN WITH BAR

bar seating with refreshment center and refrigerator

This small backyard bar and kitchen is a perfect spot for drinks, dinner, and more. The grill island is separate… So you can use it entirely for drinks and seating.

The beverage center and fridge are perfect for preparing cocktails… And your guests can sit back and relax while you cook.

Separating your islands is a great way to make use of a small space… And the natural stone look of this outdoor kitchen bar blends in with the patio aesthetic perfectly.

4. L-SHAPED Built in Grill and Bar PLANS

outdoor grill and bar with fire pit

Between the massive bar… The beautiful stainless steel gas grill and flat top grill… And the fire pit in the middle… This outdoor bar kitchen idea really stands out.

Plus, the four swivel bar stools look exceptional under the granite countertops.

5. Stunning Outdoor Bar and Grill Area

l shape bar island with grill and kamado joe asado cooker

This outdoor bar station is so well-designed… We’ve even got a couple happy homeowners modeling this stunning setup!

In this example, you’ll find a massive L-shaped outside kitchen and bar with just about every amenity you could imagine.

You’ve got the large gas grill, Kamado Joe smoker, refrigerator, drop-in cooler, storage, pull out trash… Is there anything missing from this layout?

Judging by the look on these faces… We’d say not.

6. COVERED OUTDOOR KITCHEN AND BAR UNDER PERGOLA

outdoor kitchen bar with pergola and pizza oven

This beautiful outdoor kitchen bar area is shaded by an impressive wooden pergola.

Not only does an outdoor shade structure make the space cooler during the summer…

It also provides the ideal backdrop for string lighting, to keep the party going all night long.

7. OUTDOOR BAR AND KITCHEN IDEAS

u shaped outdoor kitchen with bar seating right next to house

This outdoor grill station is right up near the house… So it’s almost a part of the porch.

Imagine walking out your door, and your patio island bar is mere steps away.

This is an excellent setup for homeowners who really love to grill… And the L-shaped bar provides a lot of space where guests can sit.

CREATE THE PERFECT BAR ISLAND

Use our free 3D design tool to create the perfect backyard hangout spot for every get together!

8. OUTDOOR PATIO KITCHEN AND BAR IDEAS BY A POOL

outside grill and bar next to pool

What’s better than an outdoor kitchen bar? An outdoor kitchen bar with a pool!

This sprawling backyard has a gorgeous pool… Nice sitting area, a fire pit… And a massive U-shaped outdoor kitchen.

If you get hot… Just dip your feet in the pool, and come right back to the bar.

9. Crazy Outdoor BBQ and Bar Idea

u shape outdoor kitchen on deck with plank white with pizza oven

We can confidently say… You’ve never seen an outdoor barbeque bar idea quite like this before.

Every square inch is packed with formidable cooking appliances… Yet still has a focus on the “outdoor bar” side of the equation.

The bar island has room for four full-sized chairs… With an abundance of counter space, to boot.

10. OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR WITH PIZZA OVEN AND BAR STOOLS

outdoor kitchen and bar ideas with chairs

The perfect addition to an outdoor kitchen bar is a few beautiful bar stools.

Not only does it give your guests a place to sit…

This is a great way to spruce up your backyard island bar and incorporate your own style.

11. OUTDOOR KITCHEN AND BAR IDEAS WITH SEATING

tiered outdoor kitchen with bar seating under roof with ceiling fan

As much fun as it is to sit at the bar… Maybe your guests would be more comfortable sitting elsewhere while you prepare dinner.

If you want to reserve your bar seating for food and drinks… 

Having an additional seating area under an outdoor kitchen roof nearby helps keep the party going… And keep your guests blissfully comfortable!

12. COVERED OUTDOOR KITCHEN/BAR IDEA WITH STRING LIGHTS

outdoor grill station with bar under pavilion

What’s better than enjoying your summer kitchen during the day? Getting to use it at night, too!

The string lights will make this a great place to grill, well into the evening.

On top of that… This outdoor kitchen gazebo offers great coverage from the rain, snow, and sun.

You even get side coverage, with a pull-down shade across the front of the structure.

13. OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR UNDER PERGOLA

l shaped outdoor kitchen with sink and bar seating

In our minds… This outdoor bar grill idea is one to remember.

With a roof structure overhead, this space has a private and secluded feel.

Whether you want to eat great food… Or even just come to read a book… This outdoor kitchen is the place to be.

14. COVERED PERGOLA OUTDOOR KITCHEN WITH ADJUSTABLE BAR STOOLS

outdoor kitchen with bar seating and smoker

This bar is a great spot to enjoy a meal al fresco.

The raised bar is a nice touch… And the adjustable bar stools make it comfortable for everyone.

Anyone who sits here can gaze up and enjoy the sunny weather through the outdoor kitchen pergola… While also being protected from the elements if the weather takes a sudden turn.

15. LARGE U-SHAPED OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR

mike pyle modern large u shaped outdoor kitchen with pizza oven and bar seating

This modern BBQ kitchen is the perfect example of how to fill out a large area… With elegance and style.

This U-shaped island is excellent for packing in a ton of cooking appliances… While also leaving a full countertop open for guests to be seated at the bar.

Plus, anyone cooking can easily talk to the guests seated at the bar at the same time.

16. OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR WITH EXTRA UTILITY

outdoor kitchen bar with sink and grill

This outdoor kitchen bar is both great for serving guests… While also doubling as a fully-functional kitchen area.

While the countertop is open for guests to eat or drink at…

The bar island itself is used for refrigeration and a pull-out trash can.

The outdoor kitchen sink right beside will also be great when you’re serving drinks to guests. (Or just need to quickly rinse your hands.)

17. OUTDOOR BAR KITCHEN WITH UMBRELLA

outdoor kitchen on deck with umbrella

An outdoor roof isn’t for everyone… But it’s still great to get some shade over your outdoor kitchen cabinets and bar.

This outdoor bar kitchen design has a hole in it specifically for holding an umbrella… Which is a smart way to keep the brilliant sun or pouring rain from dampening your day.

Now you’ve got a good idea of the different ways you can make an outdoor bar shine.

But how will you get one?

THE SIMPLEST WAY TO DIY YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR

close up of rustic outdoor bar island with lighting

There’s something special about building something with your own hands… Especially an outdoor kitchen.

It’s rewarding to know that you brought your vision to life.

…But your time is also limited, and building an outdoor kitchen bar from scratch can be complicated.

If you enjoy the idea of DIYing your outdoor kitchen… But you just aren’t sold on starting from scratch…

Consider an RTA outdoor kitchen bar!

It’s the best of both worlds.

You get all the fun of building your own outdoor kitchen bar… But without all the parts that can make it difficult and frustrating.

CUSTOM Backyard Kitchen and Bars MADE EASY

For starters… One of the best parts of creating your own outdoor kitchen and bar design is that you can fully customize it.

With RTA, you still have the option to create a custom outdoor kitchen… Just without all the blueprints and math.

You can use our free and easy-to-use Design Tool to choose your size, layout, configuration, appliances, finish, and countertops!

Not an expert in outdoor kitchen design? Not to worry, friends.

After you submit your design… You’ll get one-on-one advice from someone on our team of Design Experts.

They’ll listen to your needs… And help create the perfect outdoor kitchen bar for your backyard.

No stress!

BUILDING IS A BREEZE WITH AN RTA OUTDOOR KITCHEN BAR

group of friends discussing the hidden costs of outdoor kitchens

On top of that… 

You won’t have to spend weeks (or months) constructing your island. 

…And your backyard won’t be turned into a construction zone by an outdoor kitchen contractor!

Instead, we’ll ship the panels, countertops, and appliances right to your door… And you can assemble it in only a few hours.

Just grab a friend or two… And you’ve built your very own outdoor kitchen bar from design, all the way to the final screw.

You don’t have to be an expert in outdoor kitchen building or design to get the perfect outdoor kitchen bar here.

It’s the easiest home improvement project you’ll ever complete… And the end result is a gorgeous outdoor kitchen with bar seating, made by you.

To learn more about starting your project… Or even just outdoor kitchens in general… Visit our Learning Hub!

We’d be happy to have you.

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.