Benjamin Franklin said, “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.”
As you think about your ideal outdoor entertaining area, consider a location for showcasing your wisdom and freedom. In a glass or in conversation these items are best enjoyed at a planned bar area. An outdoor bar is simply a place to stand by, lean on or sit around. It is a place where you can comfortably have a drink and a conversation. As you attend 4th of July and other summer parties this year take a minute to observe how you and the other guests are enjoying your drinks. These observations will come in handy when you are designing your outdoor entertaining space. Below are a few things to think about as you do this:
How’s the service? It is important to first think about how you like to serve you drinks. Do you typically have a bartender (maybe that is you) or do you let you guests serve themselves? A typical sit and be served bar with stools will be about 40” – 42” tall. If you are planning more of a counter space where guests serve themselves, you might want to be slighting lower say 36” – 40”. You can “test drive” a bar and other outdoor living elements, including furniture, at Eichenlaub’s Outdoor Living Studio.
Plenty of leg room. If you are going to have seating around your bar you will need to have an overhang so your guest’s knees are not crammed against the front of the bar. This is painfully uncomfortable to watch! A good overhang distance is 12” – 18” from the face of the bar.
Get that foot up. It is impossible to enjoy a drink and good conversation without having a foot slightly up on a foot rest along the bottom of a bar. The bottom line- any good bar should have a foot rest or “rail”. A good foot rest height is 6” – 8” and it should be 9” or so out from the face of the bar. Your stools should have foot rests as well.
Permanent, movable or one of each? If you do a lot of entertaining, a good custom solid stone or other quality material, bar is ideal. If you are an occasional entertainer or you are not sure where or how large you want your bar you may want to consider starting with a movable bar. There are many small lightweight options available. It is not uncommon to have a nice permanent bar that is used for most smaller get-togethers with a movable bar waiting in the wings for larger gatherings. We can help you make the best choice for your lifestyle.
How crowded is it. No one has ever told me we made their bar too big. At your next party, be cognizant of how many people are around the bar and how full the bar surface is. Keep that information in mind when designing your bar.
Storage. It is nice to have what you need on hand during you parties. Think about what you will want on hand and plan for enough storage. Be sure to include a discrete place for garbage.
Enjoy your freedom and wisdom responsibly this summer, and take notes!
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Eichenlaub is a full service landscape design, build, and landscape management company.