10 ways to serve drinks at your next outdoor party

Send out an evite, pull out your favorite cocktail napkins, and crank up the music. We think it’s time to throw a backyard party! The first order of business? Set up the bar — or at least figure out where you’re going to serve the drinks. After all, it’s the first place people gravitate towards when they come over. We’ve got 10 ideas for setting up a drink station … and no, it doesn’t include a plastic cooler on the back porch.

Fill a French Zinc Dough Bowl with ice and drinks for an impromptu bar

1. Use a Beverage Stand or Raised Planter

We typically use our French Zinc Dough Bowl as a planter or potting stand, but for entertaining, it makes a perfect beverage stand or chic spot for chilling wine! Our Hayden Beverage Stand is another great option.

Use an outdoor console table in your dining space to serve as a buffet at dinner or bar during a party

2. Use an Outdoor Console Table as a Bar

It’s funny how we outfit our indoor spaces with so much thought, but when the focus moves outdoors, we aren’t sure how to complete the space. A console table is a no-brainer in your dining room, so why not have one outside too? It’s perfect for serving drinks when you’re having a party!

A big tray for bringing drinks outside to your outdoor living space

3. An Outdoor Tray is a Must-Have

If you’re casually entertaining in your outdoor living room, use a tray to bring glassware and drinks outside. The galvanized finish on this outdoor safe tray feels unexpected and fun, and if you leave it on your patio, it won’t mind!

A tall Bakers Rack from Ballard Designs for serving drinks

4. An Outdoor Bakers Rack

A tall storage piece can be a huge help in an outdoor space, especially if you have certain entertaining favorites you only use when you’re outside. Our Ceylon Bakers Rack perfectly fills a space just outside French Doors, can store all sorts of necessities like garden tools, outdoor accessories, and even plants, but if you’re having a party, it’s easy to set up as a bar!

Pull an outdoor bar cart up to your dining space for extra surface area, and wheel it over to your outdoor living room when you're munching on appetizers

5. Pull Up a Bar Cart

We love an outdoor bar cart with wheels because it can move from outdoor room to outdoor room as your party does. During cocktail hour, park it next to your outdoor living room, and as the party progresses to the dinner table, bring the drinks with you! In this space, we used Suzanne Kasler’s Directoire Bar Cart.

Use a folding table with a long table cloth to set up a bar

6. Need A Last Minute Serving Space?

When you’re in a pinch, a folding table and a long tablecloth can be a lifesaver. We used our Edie Block Print Tablecloth in Indigo. It’s easy to set up at the last minute, doesn’t take up any space when not in use, and with a new tablecloth, you can switch up the look to suit your party theme!

A beverage tub is great for chilling wine at an outdoor party

7. Don’t Sweat It — Use a Beverage Tub

No need to worry about where the drinks will go, our Avalon Double Walled Beverage Tub is the perfect solution. It’s big enough to hold several bottles of wine and beer, and it’s sturdy construction means it won’t sweat on your tablecloth!

A garden or potting bench can be dressed up during an outdoor party

8. Dress Up Your Potting Bench in Its Finest

If you already have a potting bench, we suggest dressing it up for your next party with all the barware and drinks! We used our Willow Potting Station, but any garden bench will do. Clean it up with a flower arrangement, glassware, a beverage tub with drinks, and your guests will know what to do!

Upgrade your party from a beaten up cooler on the back deck to a chic beverage trough

9. Upgrade Your Plastic Cooler to a Beverage Trough

If you’re no longer in college, then quit using the plastic cooler you bought your freshman year. It doesn’t cut it for parties anymore! Instead, we suggest a beverage trough. Our Farm Trough Beverage Tub can be placed on a dining table, coffee table, or even on the ground for a more stylish way to serve drinks at your next get together.

Our Striped Towel Cabana can multi-task as a bar when you're having a pool party!

10. Up The Drama with a Tented Bar

Our striped Towel Cabana is great to keep poolside so all your necessities are handy, but when you’re hosting friends, give it a makeover with drinks, ice, glassware, and any other refreshments you like to keep on hand. With this dramatic focal point, your guests will never have to ask, ‘where’s the bar?’

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery.

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments!