During the summer we love nothing more than hosting garden parties, and what do parties need? A bar of course! Last year we created a bar from pallets for our Tiki Bar, read more about out Tiki Party here. This year we are using an old potting beach to create a rustic bar for a series of summer parties we are having. Here our our key tips for an al fresco bar:
Think about what you are going to serve and make sure everything is accessible. When hosting we normally offer up a signature cocktail, wine, beer and soft drinks. This makes life much more simple than trying to go for a full service bar. We have taken to using drinks dispensers for our cocktails, it means you can make lots in advance and people can then just help themselves. It is good to make sure you have a space to store extra bottle of mixers so you can get to them quickly. You don’t want to be running back inside every five minutes. Also think about rubbish, we used barrel planter to collect used bottle, it kept to the theme but was also practical.
Over estimate on how many glasses you might need. We always wash and polish with a dry tea towel before any party to make sure they sparkle. When you have an outside bar you might get falling leaves and suchlike so you may wish to store glasses upside down, and keep a cloth to hand to wipe down if necessary.
Ice and Accompaniments
Nothing worse than warm drinks on a summer’s day, it is pretty obviously but make sure you keep your drinks cool in an ice bucket. If you don’t have one to hand improvise, a wheelbarrow works well for al fresco bar’s beer bucket. You will also need a separate supply for putting in drinks. If you need them for your cocktails, an abundance of lemons and limes in a glass vase work as decor as well as for drinks! The same goes if you need pots of mint.
A bar makes a big impression, and takes an ordinary garden party to the next level. Consider decorating with bunting or some fairy lights. We used some Union Jack bunting to give a patriotic summer fete feel (it is The Queens 90th Birthday this year after all!) Bring any interior decor outside that might help, including houseplants, lanterns and vases. For our rustic garden bar we styled the potting bench with a collection of things found about the garden. We then made sure we had plenty of pots of herbs to soften the look.
So there you go, that is how we created our al fresco bar. A collection of found items and improvisation, we think it worked very well but we’d love to know your thoughts, let us know in the comments.