Designing an Outdoor Bar Cart

An outdoor bar is a must have luxury for the grilling and outdoor entertaining enthusiast. An outdoor bar can provide you with barbecue tools or provide counter space for food preparation. You can also store cold drinks, cups, plates and utensils. Consider using pressure treated lumber, cypress, teak, redwood, red cedar or exterior plywood to construct your cart. Use waterproof wood glue and brass screws for assembly. Install four casters for mobility, two of them locking and two non-locking.

Choosing a Body Design for the Cart

One of the first things to decide is whether you want the cart to be open to the air, or whether it would contain enclosed cabinet space. An open air cart costs less in materials, is easier to construct and is easier for you to access your equipment quickly. Cabinets with doors that close could help keep small items like napkins and paper cups from blowing away in the wind.

Tool Storage Solutions

Think of the kinds of things you need handy when you entertain outdoors. Attach a dowel rod to one side of the cart to give easy access to frequently used towels. Install a notched board at hip level to hold your barbecue utensils like tongs, forks, scrapers, brushes and so on. A wide and flat utensil drawer at the top of the cart can accommodate even more equipment, like oven mitts, can openers, spice bottles, and serving spoons.

Food Storage Solutions

Provide a space to keep foods and bottles cool by building in a lower shelf big enough to hold a camping cooler. An upper shelf, on the other hand, makes items like plates, napkins and cups easy to reach. A wine rack attached to the inside of the body of the cart keeps the bottles organized and safe.

Designing the Top Surface

For cooking easily outside, include a prep table with a cutting board surface. A butcher block top can be built in, but it may not be able to withstand being left outside to weather. An alternative would be to design the surface to include a space where a removable butcher block cutting board can be dropped in and removed easily to wash. Top the remaining counter serving space with 1/4 inch thick acrylic or plastic laminate for easy cleaning. Design the surface with a drop leaf counter extension that folds down to make the cart easier to store away.

Ideas for the Extreme Outdoor Cook

Install a small sink and waste water receptacle to give you a way to wash up while outdoors. Build in a small refrigerator if your porch or backyard is where you live most. Make sure to leave breathing space for it, and keep in mind that you would need access to electricity and the cart would no longer be able to be left outside.