Come on, who doesn’t need an outdoor bar?!
Outdoor entertaining can mean different things to different people in Oklahoma, but there is always one common denominator – relaxation. Utilizing your outdoor space for maximum value is a priority for most homeowners, and outdoor kitchens are a great way to do that. But there is another component that can be added to your outdoor kitchen that can up your relaxation factor, an outdoor bar.
Why keep the fun in the house, when you can sip some wine relaxing next to your outdoor fireplace? Or if you make a mean margarita, now is the time to whip out the ice and make your guests happy, poolside! Whatever drink you prefer, an outdoor bar is the way to go.
To create a great outdoor bar, you have to think a little outside of the box. You want everything you need within arms reach, so you don’t have to make multiple trips into the house.
For wine drinkers, it can be as simple as having a wine refrigerator and a place to store glasses. If you are drinking poolside, plastic wine glasses might be a safer bet since a broken glass can cut bare feet and dig its way into concrete or patio crevices.
For the wine refrigerator, it all depends on what your ‘wine’ requirements are. Refrigerators can range from a couple of hundred dollars up to a couple of thousand dollars. Wine chills at a different temperature from other drinks so you want to be able to control the temperature of the unit. There are units that have dual-zone settings so you can store canned drinks as well as wine; with each having it’s perfect temperature setting. If you spend a great deal of time outdoors, a wine refrigerator that can hold multiple bottles is a good bet.
Other features to look out for in a wine refrigerator include slide out racks, variant temperature range, self-locking door, self-closing doors and venting. If you are having your wine refrigerator built into your outdoor kitchen, a quick discussion with your contractor will point you toward a good refrigerator for your kitchen.
There is nothing like a cold beer and barbecue, or a cold beer and a football game, or a cold beer and …. well, cold beer really goes with anything so as long as you include it in your outdoor activities you should be just fine. If you want to include beer in your outdoor kitchen space there are only a couple of things to consider.
- If you like to draft your own beer, a kegerator can make your life much easier, as well as crown you the ultimate host. Kegerators are small refrigerators that hold and chill kegs, and have taps to pour a cold, frothy brew. Units come in mini-size with less than five liters of beer all the way up to full-size that can a accommodate a full or half barrel. Outdoor kegerators are specifically designed for outside temperatures and can withstand weather elements with moderate protection.
- If you prefer your beer in bottles or cans, an outdoor refrigerator can serve your needs. Refrigerators come in small, micro sizes or larger ones if you also want to store water bottles and food goods. To keep beer handy for guests, built-in coolers (ice bins) are perfect for chilling drinks for long periods of time. They are built into your outdoor kitchen counter top and are virtually unnoticeable unless opened. They also come with options of condiment chillers and hinged lids.
If you have aspirations of being your own backyard bartender, a built-in bar center is your answer. You can get as fancy as you wish, with prices starting around three hundred dollars for a simple sink all the way up to a couple of thousand dollars for the works.
A built-in bartender center can include everything from a prep area for slicing fruit, bottle wells for chilling bottles, bottle opener, paper towel rack, condiment trays, serving shelf, front speed rail and sink. Not only do they provide everything you may need to mix drinks, but they look pretty darn cool too. And don’t forget an icemaker, unless you like your mixed drinks hot!
The great thing about outdoor bar accessories is their ability to be built into your outdoor kitchen, whether it is already built or is in the process of being designed. Either way, you can amp up your outdoor entertaining to a level that will make every single neighbor envious!