dhny interior design bridgehampton outdoor bar tips style essentials

is it too soon to start planning summer soirées, extravagant brunches, and an outdoor bar that caters to our every whim? i don’t think so either. (this is why we’re friends.)

whether you’re here in the city or you have already skipped off your summer residence — bridgehampton, westchester, 30a — now is the perfect time to set our sights on all that the upcoming season has to offer.

for me, this means setting up an outdoor bar that gets the party started, whether it’s a party of one, two, or a fair few.

today, i’m sharing my best tips for creating an outdoor bar and entertaining space, along with dhny’s favorite picks for bar essentials. just add your favorite spirit, and you’re ready to splash into summer.

designate an outdoor bar area… or two

when creating a bar area, i suggest having ample table or counter space, especially one that is away from furniture groupings and clear of major walkways. you want guests to be able to help themselves and liquor up without commandeering the whole space. (the same goes for your edible offerings: hors d’oeuvres, tapas, charcuterie boards…)

if you have a wet bar outside — which is likely the case if you’ve worked with us! — you already have the perfect space to serve libations. if not, you know what to do.

outdoor bar area table grill counter space charcuterie board and wine summer dhny hamptons

stock that beautiful outdoor bar!

you knew i couldn’t leave this one off the list, right? while you can certainly round up all your bar staples — hendrick’s, belvedere, deanston (my personal favorite), st. germain, etc. — you can also keep it minimal. designate a cocktail or two, prep the bar for it, and guests will be sure to enjoy the solidarity of mixing up the “house specialty” together.

of course, having wine as an always accessible option ensures no one is disappointed… or has an empty glass. 😉

the a-list:

a. sylvester & co. “open here” bottle opener / i can’t tell you which beverages to choose (it’s a personal choice), but i do know this… every outdoor bar needs one of these!

secure yourself some shatterproof glassware

i know we’re all adults here, but a shattered champagne flute or rocks glass will screech your party to a halt faster than running out of booze. that’s fast. however, drinking wine out of a glass that feels like plastic does not an elegant soirée make. fortunately, there are several shatterproof options these days that both look and feel classy when dining al fresco.

the a-list:

b. williams-sonoma sol stemware collection / here are the shatterproof, fanciful beauties i was telling you about. look great and super durable. you can now drink poolside without fear. you’re welcome. 😉

trays, trays… and more trays.

never underestimate the power of an elegant tray! i’m not overstating the situation when i say that anything set on a tray immediately looks more inviting. there’s an intentionality and classiness to it that i find irresistible. you could use a tray to corral liquor bottles, garnishes, and a cocktail shaker. another for serving or for cutlery. you get the idea.

bar essentials tray for liquor on bar cart dhny 30atwo trays showing off their range of natural talents

the a-list:

c. crate & barrel grant grey serving tray / a place for everything and everything in its place. i love the sleek, simple look of this tray. it coordinates well with any style of outdoor decor, elevates elegance, and is functional with two easy handles. i’m in.

d. sylvester & co. water hyacinth tray / for a more coastal look, i love the natural, organic feel of this tray. since it’s woven and doesn’t have a completely flat base, i wouldn’t suggest using this type of tray to serve drinks. it would be better for holding cutlery, beverage napkins, or even as a display piece for tabletop greenery.

keep beverages perpetually chilled

i have an irrational but very real fear of lukewarm rosé. it has crossed my palate too many times to not merit a vigilant eye on how beverages are being chilled. (and if your menu includes veuve clicquot, you know anything less than ice-cold is a sin!)

i’ve found a few solutions for glacial results, including wine insulators and chillers. maybe even two or three, so you can swap them out when one reaches ambient temperature. for serve-yourself drinks, a beverage trough with oft-replenished ice is a must.

the a-list:

e. vinglacé graphite wine insulator / my go-to choice for crisp, refreshing rosé at the perfect temperature. it’s also condensation-free, which means the bottle won’t leave rings on your wood table… or slip out of your grasp after you’ve had a few.

f. crate & barrel bash beverage tub / this hand-hammered aluminum beverage tub finished in graphite has a classic yet rustic look that would fit in with a modern, contemporary, or coastal ambiance.

quartz top deanston whiskey orange ginger brass cocktail shaker rocks glass dhny bridgehampton designer

the final touches on your outdoor bar

last but not least, the final essentials — items that are easily overlooked but super important to a bar (and event) that is a smashing success…

g. sylvester & co. beverage napkins / personalized or kitschy beverage napkins add a touch of humor to your stylish party (yes, even a party of one or two), helping the event feel relaxed, conversational, and easy. i would get this one, or this one.

h. essential oil outdoor incense mosquito repellent / while batting away mosquitoes may bring new moves to your dance floor (ha), i’m pretty sure we can all agree that these pests cramp our style… and so do the harsh fumes of citronella. by contrast, these essential oil infused repellents fill the air with lemongrass, orange & sage… tea tree, lavender & neem… or sage, coffee, cinnamon & cedarwood. much better.

i. crate & barrel globe string lights / okay, i know that your bar doesn’t need them to be a thriving destination, but if you’re hosting a soirée, you’ll want some mood lighting once the sun sets. these globe string lights add the perfect touch of summer magic to the air… can you feel it?

Get the Look - Darci Hether - Outdoor Bar Essentials

usually, this is when i tell you that dhny would love to help design your home for years of elevated living (and we would), but i think this time, i’ll flip the invitation around…

whenever your outdoor bar is stocked, styled, and ready, i’d be happy to accept your invitation to come over. see you then! 😉

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all non-product photos by the amazing emily gilbert photography