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7 Picturesque Outdoor Pool Bar Ideas & Best Design Tips

By Jayme Muller

January 29, 2024

A swimming pool is a soothing oasis to take a dip and dodge the heat.

But with the right backyard design ideas, your swimming pool can become so much more than just a spot to chill down and cool off.

While there are countless ways to make the most of your swimming pool design… Today, we’ll be focusing on one upgrade in particular: outdoor pool bars.

If you’re a home bar enthusiast looking to elevate your backyard parties… This is the perfect feature for you.

It takes the quote “mixed drink in hand, feet in the water” to a whole other level.

And for those who are head over heels for hosting… An outdoor pool bar is something you’ll want to learn all about.

So sit back and grab a drink as we jump into everything pool bar-related… Including picturesque pool bar ideas that’ll get you seriously stoked to create your own backyard oasis.

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A Deep Dive On Outdoor Pool Bars

close up of seating at outdoor pool bar

We know you’re on the edge of your seat to see some outdoor pool bar ideas…

But before we get in over our heads, we need to set a baseline.

What is an outdoor pool bar?

Put simply, it’s an all-in-one patio bar and swimming pool setup.

Now, don’t be fooled.

A pool bar is more than just a spot to serve liquid refreshments and snacks by the water’s edge.

It’s a focal point for friends and family to gather… A perfect addition to your backyard parties… And a great way to keep guests from trekking water into your home each time they want to top off their drinks.

Adding a pool bar to your outdoor patio is a phenomenal plan for homeowners who love to host…

Or, those who want to usher an upscale, luxurious feel into their outdoor living room. (And leave their neighbors’ jaws on the floor!)

So with that, we’re all up to speed.

Now how do you make this dream a reality?

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.

What Bar Type Is Best For Your Backyard Oasis?

Adding an outdoor pool bar to your backyard is beyond exhilarating.

But no matter how eager you are to get started, it’s not a project that you can just go into blind.

First (and most importantly), you’ll need to decide which type of outdoor bar and pool setup complements your style.

To get the gears turning… Keep the following questions in mind as we go through all of the different outdoor pool bar options:

  • What purpose will your outdoor pool bar fulfill? Will it be for food/drink prep, seating, or something else entirely?
  • What’s your outdoor pool bar budget?
  • How much time and effort are you willing to put into this project?

Your answers to these will help guide your final decision… So with all that said, let’s take a look at three top choices.

Patio Bar Cart

Placing an outdoor bar cart beside your pool is by far the simplest (and cheapest) method.

There’s no landscaping, expensive upgrades, or serious planning involved… Making this an ultimate DIY outdoor pool bar solution. (Assuming your pool and patio are already built, that is.)

Backyard bar carts come ready-made in all shapes, sizes, and styles.

They’re lightweight and easy to move around your patio…

And depending on your needs… These bar tables can serve a variety of functions.

Drink-making stations, storage carts, and bar carts with fridges are all in the cards… Along with many other unique offerings.

Now, we already have an abundance of content on backyard bar tables… So don’t be surprised by the lack of bar carts in our “ideas” section further down the page!

But nevertheless, homeowners who want to make a splash in a smaller space or on a tighter budget should take note.

Patio Bar Cart Pointers

Before we move on, we’d like to make a few important points on backyard bar carts.

We’ve spent hours researching and writing articles on ready-made outdoor bar tables…

And there’s a major alarm bell for this method that we need to sound.

Your bar cart needs to be built for the outdoors!

Being outside, it’s already highly likely that it’s going to get wet…

And proximity to a pool pretty much seals the deal.

The solution? You need a bar cart that won’t sustain water damage.

This puts wood out of the running. We know, teak and acacia are stunning… But you’ll be counting your losses once these start to rot and warp.

Metal is out, too… Unless you can find a bar table that’s constructed with 304 stainless steel. (This won’t rust and corrode easily — even if it gets wet!)

On the flip side, recycled plastic or synthetic wicker are better materials for your poolside bar cart — Offering great weather-resistance and long-lasting durability.

But if you simply want more from your outdoor pool bar… Read on.

Streamlined Swim-Up Bar

You may have scoped out a swim-up bar on your last vacation… But did you know that more and more homeowners are including this luxury piece in their own backyard designs?

For those who aren’t familiar… A swim-up pool bar is an integrated swimming pool feature that allows swimmers to sit and enjoy a drink or snack, without having to leave the water.

How does this work?

On one side of the pool, bar stools are submerged in shallow water.

Usually, these seats are permanently integrated into the swimming pool floor during construction.

A flat bar top area is located in front of these stools at the very edge of the pool. This is what pool designers call the “dry side…” where drinks are served to guests sitting in the water.

Now, a swim-up bar doesn’t have to be just a simple drink-serving setup.

Many homeowners include expansive outdoor living rooms, outdoor kitchens, and cabanas on the “dry side” of their swim-up pool bar to provide the utmost comfort, convenience, and entertainment to guests both in and out of the water.

If you think life is better in the pool… This type of outdoor bar for pool probably sounds pretty darn appealing.

But before you take the plunge with a swim-up bar… What should you know?

The Skinny On Swim-Up Bars

swim up circular pool bar

A swim-up bar provides convenience and entertainment…

And a permanent setup can even increase property resale value.

But the road to this backyard design feature is far from easy.

If you’re looking into a permanent swim-up bar setup with integrated stools… Here are some common stumbling blocks:

  • If you already have an existing pool and patio, you’ll have to undergo extensive renovations to add built-in bar stools and a poolside countertop.
  • Permanent swim-up bars are a custom feature typically only available with concrete inground pools… And concrete is the most expensive pool material to work with. (Concrete pools also take the longest time to build.)

Without getting too “in the weeds” on this,  expect to pay a pretty penny to get those beautiful built-in bar stools and poolside bar top…

Plus, more time and money on any other features you wish to include on the “dry side” of your swim-up pool bar. (Like a custom outdoor kitchen!)

But hey, if you have the budget and don’t mind waiting… An integrated swim-up bar may be perfect for you.

Now, you could always save a dime by adding submersible bar stools to an existing pool. This DIY workaround will still leave your guests happy… Though it’s not something that’ll boost your ROI down the line.

And even then, you’ll still have to work out the details of the “dry side.” How are you planning to make drinks and serve your guests?

This final option may spark some ideas…

Permanent Poolside Bar

poolside l shape outdoor kitchen

If you already have a pool ready to go, or just plain don’t want to spend the time and money on an integrated swim-up bar… A poolside bar island can be a more cost-effective way to add a touch of luxury. 

This method will be more expensive and involved than buying an outdoor bar cart… But the end result is longer-lasting, with a much higher payoff.

So, what exactly does this entail? 

A permanent poolside bar is located on the patio, just steps away from the water’s edge.

Unlike a swim-up bar, you won’t be serving food and drinks directly to guests in the pool… But refreshments will still be conveniently on hand.

Depending on your preferences, a poolside bar can be as simplistic or functional as you’d like.

You can flesh it out with all types of patio furniture, roof structures, and bar accessories

And many homeowners choose to factor in a complete outdoor kitchen alongside their poolside bar.

In addition to sinks, storage, coolers, and outdoor refrigerators… An outdoor kitchen beside your bar island can bring on the cooking power with built-in grills, pizza ovens, burners, and more.

But no matter what you end up going for… Your poolside bar should meet some basic standards.

A Piece Of Advice On Poolside Bars

l shaped outdoor kitchen with asado smoker under a gazebo next to a pool

When designing a permanent poolside bar… You’ll want to consider material quality.

As with bar carts… Wood and metal poolside bars should be kept at an arm’s length. Rust, corrosion, rotting, and warping aren’t welcome guests at your pool party!

As for a good pool bar material… Concrete is at the top of our list. (It’s what we use for our own Ready to Assemble outdoor kitchen panels!)

It isn’t really phased by weather, water, or other environmental stressors… Making it a solid long-term choice for both the surround structure and countertops of your bar island. (Granite is another apt choice to “top” off your bar!)

Now, as for any bar accessories you’ll be including (like refrigerators, sinks, or storage)… These also need to be designed for durability.

And there’s no better way to guarantee quality than by opting for all-304 stainless steel, outdoor-rated components.

Your poolside bar should be a permanent fixture, after all… And choosing the right materials will ensure that it lasts.

Outdoor Pool Bar Oasis

Use our free 3D design tool to implement a bar into your outdoor kitchen layout for the perfect summer hangout spot.

7 Picturesque Pool Bar Ideas

Now that we’ve covered the types of outdoor pool bars… It’s time to get some ideas flowing for your outdoor space.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to your outdoor pool bar…

And the following examples reveal how our customers here at RTA got creative with their own designs.

Let’s take a peek…

1. Swim-Up Bar And Outdoor Living Space

This smart outdoor patio and swimming pool design is a spectacular start to our list.

A DIY swim-up bar juts out over the pool’s edge above four submersible bar stools… So guests in the water can have a seat and sip their drinks.

Out of the water… Our eyes are first drawn to the large lounge area smack dab in the middle of this covered outdoor living room.

Then, off to one side, you’ll find an L-shaped outdoor kitchen to keep your party attendants well-fed…

And at the other, a poolside bar island and stools make it easy to seat and serve additional guests.

Oh, and how could we not mention the outdoor TVs?

Not one, but two wall-mounted displays ensure that everyone in and out of the pool alike can catch a view.

We don’t know about you… But we could easily spend the entire summer out here.

2. Happy Hour (& Hors D’oeuvres) In The Pool House

modern pool house area with outdoor kitchen and bar

Allow us to float another idea by you.

In this modern pool house area… The stunning stacked stone bar island is most certainly the center of attention.

It’s nestled between a matching outdoor kitchen island, a dining table, and the edge of the pool.

After a day doing laps, you can retreat to the swivel bar stools and enjoy cold drinks…

Or, dine on gourmet snacks whipped up in the neighboring outdoor kitchen.

With a gas grill, pizza oven, power burner, AND a flat top… You’ll be able to cook anything from appetizers to dessert!

Then, when your appetite is sated and your thirst is quenched… All that’s left to do is turn around and dip your toes back in the pool.

3. BBQ The Day Away At Your Next Pool Party

modern outdoor area with outdoor kitchen and water feature

Moving right along…

This one is for those of us who enjoy dining more than drinking… As this outdoor poolside bar idea is the first we’ve seen that’s directly attached to an outdoor kitchen!

A wood-fired pizza oven, kamado smoker, power burner, and gas grill give you all the cooking power you could ever need. (You’ll certainly never run out of menu ideas!)

Simply exit the pool and take a short walk to the bar island… Catch some shade (and enjoy a pop of color) under the bright red umbrella… And taste test a new culinary creation every single day.

Tasteful landscaping touches beside this outdoor bar near the pool only add to the appeal… With a running water feature fully immersing you in the outdoor space.

Seriously, this homeowner had the right idea for their outdoor bar area.

4. Tasteful Tiki Bar On The Pool Deck

tiki bar on pool deck with outdoor kitchen

In this idea, we see quite a different approach to an outdoor pool with a bar… In more ways than one!

An extra-long linear outdoor kitchen runs straight into the bar island… And practically every square inch of this structure is packed with components that’ll surely make your pool parties more convenient.

Storage, pull-out trash, and all kinds of cabinetry are spotlighted… And are accompanied by a built-in gas grill, power burner, double side burner for cooking, and an undercounter fridge. 

Immediately beside this setup, you’ll notice a tabletop with stools, allowing for maximized prep space on the bar island itself.

Around the perimeter of the patio, a tiki-inspired aesthetic pulls everything together…

And plenty of plush seating options around the area give guests more opportunities to lounge with a drink in hand.

The central focus is definitely the mega-sized inground pool… Though every other component truly gives you a reason to stay outside all day.

And on a sunny afternoon, this backyard will definitely transport you to a tropical place!

5. A Modern Outdoor Pool Bar Moment

linear outdoor kitchen under roof next to pool

Sometimes, less can actually be more…

So, we’re dialing it way back with this minimalistic, modern outdoor pool bar idea.

Take a closer look… And you can truly see all the potential for this large outdoor kitchen and bar area beside the pool.

The cool color palette exudes an undeniably calming ambiance… Which is exactly what you want when relaxing at your outdoor pool bar.

Speaking of ambiance… The recessed lighting in this indoor outdoor room makes it possible to enjoy a drink beside the pool (or in that hot tub) day or night.

All you need to round out the space are some complementary bar stools and matching patio furniture…

And it won’t be long before your outdoor pool bar feels like home.

6. Open-Air Patio Bar & Pool Oasis

rta outdoor kitchen under a custom structure with a firepit pool and slide

On the other hand… Sometimes, having more is better.

I mean, just one look at this patio bar and pool design will show you why.

Not far from the pool is a summer kitchen and bar seating area… Boasting a grill, power burner, storage, fridge, and sink.

From prep work to cleanup… To after-dinner drinks and a dip in the pool… All of your bases are covered.

Greenery peppered around the outdoor space pulls everything together… As do the neutral, earthy hues throughout the design.

And if you can believe it… The wooden finish on this outdoor kitchen bar is actually 100% concrete construction. (The same goes for every other outdoor bar finish on this list!)

Before we finish up with this outdoor pool bar idea… We must say that the water slide down from the upper seating area is a seriously cool addition.

At the very least, it’s a creative way to spruce up your pool bar space!

7. A Home Bar-Hot Tub Haven

patio alongside pool and hot tub with l shape outdoor kitchen against house

When picturing a pool bar… Most of us imagine a place to cool down with an ice cold drink on a hot day.

But when the temperatures drop… Who says you can’t enjoy your drinks in the hot tub?

Take this final example, for instance.

Built-in seating circles this homeowner’s raised hot tub… And the outer ledge acts as the perfect makeshift bar table to set your snacks and drinks.

Serving up refreshments is simple with this design… Thanks to that lovely stacked stone kitchen and bar island in the back.

With a full refreshment center and refrigerator seamlessly built into this island… All of your favorites can be kept within walking distance of the pool. 

And with this final idea… We’ll leave you to start brainstorming your own.

So, what’s the best way to get started?

Take The Plunge With A Poolside Outdoor Bar

outdoor kitchen next to plunge pool

Your custom pool and home bar project should go swimmingly… From start to finish.

And now that you’ve seen some real-life ideas from our customers here at RTA Outdoor Living… You may be wondering how to put pen to paper for your own outdoor bar by the pool.

If you want to get the ball rolling on your custom backyard outdoor pool bar… What if we told you that you can get started right now?

That’s right… With our free online design tool, you can easily get a 3D rendering of a custom outdoor bar island in just minutes!

Layout, size, and finish are all easy to adjust, right from your phone or desktop…

As is your choice of 304 stainless steel bar accessories from Coyote Outdoor Living’s premium line.

While you’re messing around with your bar island… Don’t be afraid to toy with a custom outdoor kitchen design, too.

The examples above speak for themselves… Pairing an outdoor kitchen with your pool bar is the best way to add convenience to your outdoor space, and RTA offers by far the simplest (and most durable) outdoor kitchen and bar solution.

But we digress.

Once you’re happy with your design, you can use our new AR technology to see how it all looks beside your swimming pool.

And then, all that’s left to do is wait for it to arrive at your door… And piece it all together.

With a few sets of hands or help from a Pro-Installer, our RTA kitchen and bar islands come together in just one afternoon… Which means you don’t have to wait to start enjoying your new and improved space.

If we’ve caught your attention… Check out our Learning Hub to find out more.

And we hope to be in touch soon!

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

A swim-up bar should be located in a shallow area of your pool, where the water averages between 30-42 inches deep.

This luxury outdoor bar design allows guests in the pool to stay seated in the water, while also giving them easy access to the bar top to reach their food and drink.

A swim-up pool bar provides entertainment, introduces a luxury feel to your outdoor space, and makes it ultra-convenient to serve guests… Without forcing anyone to leave the pool.

A swim-up bar features submerged bar stools and a bar top directly beside the pool… Allowing guests to stay in the water as they are served food and drink.

A poolside bar, on the other hand, doesn’t directly allow you to serve guests in the water. Rather, they will have to get out of the water and take a short walk to a separate bar island beside the pool.

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