Covid-19 has consistently interfered with my plans of hanging out in beer gardens and drinking overpriced pints with my friends. Even in the brief windows of pubs being open, social distancing measures (and having to get my wallet out again) mean that it just wasn’t quite the same.
Are nodding your head with me here?
Well, the good news is that there’s a solution – making your own watering hole at home! The summer lockdown of 2020 produced a slew of blog posts and photo feeds from people sharing their garden bar ideas and taking the initiative to make them a reality. Seeing as “normality” still seems to be a way off, it seemed only right that I scour the internet to compile a list of the best-looking outdoor home bars and most interesting garden pub ideas to provide you with inspiration.
From homey lounges and cosy sheds to backyard bars and decked out patios, here’s plenty of stuff you can do to achieve the right kind of pub atmosphere without ever leaving your house.
DIY Garden Pub Ideas
When it comes to low-cost DIY projects for your home and garden, pallets are the gift that keep on giving. Endlessly versatile, it only takes a little bit of creativity and some elbow grease to transform the humble pallet into something beautiful.
There are heaps of ways you can use pallets to build a home bar – see if any of these DIY garden bar ideas take your fancy!
1. Simple shelving and Murphy bars
Even if you’re short on space, you can totally still have a garden bar. Adding just a couple of planks to a pallet can create a cute set of shelves with space for bottles and glasses, with a surface for pouring on top.
Need to go even smaller? Try a Murphy bar – that’s a bar that you can open up when you want a bevvy, but fold away for more space when you need it. It’s simple enough to make from a pallet, you’ll just need a board that’s big enough to cover the front, and chains or ropes hold it upright. The benefit of using a pallet is that you’ll have a shelf that’s deep enough to keep some bottles and glasses waiting inside.
2. Paint your pallet bar
I really like the look of bare pallets and how they can look edgy or rustic depending on how you style them. That being said, giving your DIY pallet bar a lick of paint totally transforms it.
If you like bright and bold, what about a scorching shade of pink? The bold accessories, like the striped rug and kitschy pineapple lights, add some oomph to an otherwise ordinary patio.
Darker, subdued shades are better if you want your garden bar to feel more sophisticated. This deep grey looks gorgeous and very modern against the pale gravel and white stools.
3. Garden bar with a tiki finish
Even if you build your garden bar from pallets, it doesn’t have to look like you have. Covering it with fabric, artificial grass or bamboo matting (like this bar) quickly gives your pallet bar a brand new personality.
4. DIY garden bar with a roof
This little garden setup looks complicated, but really it’s just eight pallets and some planks. I like how they’ve used pallets facing both ways, to create the effect of a panelled bar “front” but also have some in-built shelves to act as a back bar. Of course, the best addition is the clear plastic roof, making this shed-bar an all-weather watering hole.
5. Simple garden shed bar
This cosy blue shed makes for a bright and cheerful home bar, thanks to some recycled pallets and DIY shelving. Simple touches like the artificial grass flooring and festoon garden lights are inexpensive but make the design look thought-out.
Luxury Garden Bar Ideas
I’m sure lots of people are looking for garden bar ideas they can use for a season or two while social distancing measures are at their strictest. However, for others, building a garden bar will be a lifestyle choice they can enjoy for the foreseeable future.
If that’s the case, it’s worth making a bit more of an investment to build an outdoor home bar that you can comfortably use in all seasons. You might even decide to incorporate other leisure activities under the same roof.
Sounding good? We thought so. Take a look at some of these more luxurious garden bar ideas for inspiration…
6. Garden man cave pub
Bringing your garden pub inside gives you so much more scope to make it comfortable. These sleek bar stools wouldn’t be practical outside, and you probably wouldn’t want to keep so many bottles and decorative items exposed to bad weather (or nosy neighbours). We have a whole post on garden man cave ideas, and this one could definitely make the cut!
7. She shed bar
Of course, “she sheds” make excellent bars too. This passionate proprietor has fully committed to the retro diner theme, complete with popcorn-maker and rotary payphone! If you’re looking for ways to bring some character and purpose to your garden retreat, check out our list of she shed ideas.
8. Home tiki bar
We looked at how you can give a DIY pallet bar a tiki finish, but if you love this tropical kind of style, you might want to go all-out. This incredible home tiki bar really sets the standard, with bamboo walls, an in-built bench and grass roof. It’s amazing! Learn more about tiki style garden ideas in this post.
9. Garden bar with fire pit
A fire pit is a beautiful way to bring light and warmth to your garden bar all night long. Fire pits make beautiful focal points, and are a natural spot for people to gather around while they socialise. The comfy garden furniture is another great idea if you’re planning to hang out at your outdoor pub all night. Take a look at more garden fire pit inspiration here.
10. Posh pavilion bar
A luxury garden cabin is the perfect grown-up retreat for a cocktail or two. This beautiful pavilion would be ideal, with the unusual-yet-elegant design lending itself to many different styles.
11. Outdoor kitchen and bar
If you love hosting and you love being outside, this has got to be the framework of the ultimate party setting. Outdoor kitchens are such a great way to enjoy your garden, and the bar area encourages your guests to hang out and have a drink while you cook.
12. Garden bar and hot tub area
Why should you and your guests have to choose between hanging in the hot tub or enjoying a beverage at the bar? This cabin is the perfect social space for enjoying the outdoors to the fullest. Non-bathers can be sipping away on the stools, while those in the tub can grab a cool soft drink to keep themselves hydrated. Take a look at more garden hot tub ideas if you’re thinking about getting one of these lavish additions to your garden.
13. Covered garden bar areas
With a sturdy roof and sides, you’ll be able to enjoy your garden bar year-round. These thick wooden beams and stone counter tops really give this garden bar a luxurious feel, and the pizza oven (hidden a bit behind the tree) turns it into a multi-functional, family-friendly space.
Accessories and Decor for Your Garden Pub
Anyone can serve drinks from their shed, but it’s the finishing touches that make it feel more like a bar or pub. Depending on the style of garden bar ideas you’re aiming for, try adding some of these fun accessories before you start pouring.
14. Potted plants
Adding plants and flowers to your bar area is the best way to make it blend in with the rest of your garden. By staining the wood the same colour as the fence and adding just three small pots, this garden bar is in perfect harmony with its surroundings.
15. Neon lighting
Real neon light is crazy expensive, but you can now get LED versions that are much more budget-friendly. As you can see, they still have the same effect! This home-bar proprietor has the right idea with the patio heater, too – gotta stay toasty!
16. Fairy lights
These pretty string lights are the perfect way to make your humble garden bar feel a little more magical once the sun sets. Wrapping the fairy lights around the bar structure makes it a proper focal point in the garden – exactly what you want when you’re trying to recreate the ambience of a night out!
17. Brass ornaments
Prefer more of a classic English pub style? Then traditional brass medallions are a must-have. These little ones are perfect for a pint-sized home pub. Look out for second-hand ones in charity shops, or on eBay. While you’re there, look for drinks mats and spill trays to complete the look!
18. A welcome sign (and a name to put on it)
If you’re building your own garden bar, it’s only right that you give it a proper name and slap that name on a sign. Modern English pub names often use a playful pun or innuendo (“The Tipsy Cow”), but you might want to name your bar after your family (“The Smith Arms”), mention its small size (“The Pint-Sized Patio Pub”) or even with a reference to the unusual circumstances that inspired its creation!
Ultimately, building your own mini pub or garden bar is about creating a fun space that reflects your personality, where you can relax and socialise. Even if you’re limited by size or budget, when it comes to styling your bar, it’s your opportunity to be as creative and unique as you like. Even better: it’s your garden, which means you choose which idiots you want drinking there, and always have final say on the playlist.
Hopefully these suggestions have given you plenty of design inspiration. Which of these are your favourite garden bar ideas? Let us know!