11 Enviable Outdoor Kitchens and Backyard Bars

The kitchen is the heart of the home, so we're bringing it outside for a stylish al fresco dining experience.
Photo by Douglas Friedman

For the Napa Valley country escape of a San Francisco–based family fond of alfresco cooking and entertaining, John Hurley, of HurleyHafen, designed an outdoor kitchen that “flows seamlessly with the indoor one,” Hurley says. His secret: “It’s separated only by a pocketing glass door system that disappears into the wall.”

“The kitchen is always the heart of any home — the one place where everyone inevitably seems to congregate,” adds Justin Hafen. The wood-burning pizza oven was imported from Italy and works in tandem with a 48-inch grill, sink and under-counter refrigerators.

Kelly Ferm
Photo courtesy of Kelly Ferm

At a Claremont, California, home with Tuscan flare, Kelly Ferm gave as much thought to the detail of the outdoor kitchen as the indoor one. “The counter has a beautiful exotic marble playing on the color palette,” she points out, “and the custom handmade Tabarka Studio tiles emphasize the warmth of the space.”

For an authentic European feel, Ferm picked up an antique dining table in Provence to place under the vintage chandelier.

Todhunter Earle Interiors
Photo by Ray Main

“In this vacation home located in Sardinia, Italy, we wanted to create an outdoor eating area and kitchen that would be comfortable, informal, practical and sociable,” says Emily Todhunter, cofounder of Todhunter Earle Interiors. “The idea was to be able to eat lunch in the shade or sit and have drinks on beautiful benches. The whole feel is rustic and weathered. The pizza oven not only is great for cooking pizza but also provides a cozy warm element on cooler evenings.”

Summer Thornton Design

Summer Thornton Design
Photo by Brantley Photography

Summer Thornton designed this Naples, Florida, lanai to be as comfortable and cozy as a living room. A soft coastal palette unites the Kingsley Bate seating, antique table and Urban Electric Co. lighting. “Since the home is in Florida, we wanted to encourage the homeowners and their guests to enjoy the outdoors. There’s a pool a few steps past the archways, so this was the perfect place for a casual meal after taking a dip.”

Alexander Design
Photo by Jennifer Crawley

Tasked with transforming a long, narrow outdoor space into an alfresco oasis at a Brentwood, California, Mediterranean-style house, Vanessa Alexander headed to the East Coast for inspiration. “I used reclaimed decking from Coney Island, to add soul and history, and employed indoor materials to make the outdoor area feel like an extension of the inside of the house.”

The home’s owner, a New Jersey native, wanted it to have a touch of the style of his two favorite hotels, the Greenwich in New York and Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, so Alexander spiffed up the outdoor dining area with wire chairs surrounding a custom concrete table.

Dan Scotti Design
Photo by Peter Murdock

For the alfresco area of the Los Angeles home of model and actress Molly Sims and her husband, film producer Scott Stuber, Dan Scotti kept his clients’ lifestyle in mind. They “entertain frequently,” he explains, “so this space had to be highly functional as well as beautiful. The outdoor kitchen does double duty as a full bar, with wraparound seating that allows their guests to enjoy amazing canyon views.” Scotti painted the bar’s brick base white and used bluestone for the countertop to complement the house’s exterior masonry and garden walls.

Assure Interiors
Photo by Mark Roskams

“In a waterfront home in Miami, Florida, our goal was to incorporate the surroundings and create a modern style with a tropical flair that can be enjoyed year-round,” says Carola Pimentel, of Assure Interiors. “The countertops and backsplash were chosen because of the client’s love for shells as well as durability.”

Furnished with an Artefacto coffee table surrounded by Restoration Hardware seating, this outdoor space is a beautiful extension of the house’s interiors.

Tineke Triggs Artistic Designs For Living
Photo by Laura Hull

In honor of the homeowners’ Southern roots, Tineke Triggs added a classic Dixie wraparound covered porch to this Northern California house. “The design lends itself to an atmosphere where one might sip an iced tea or lemonade on a hot day while sitting around with family and friends having barbecue. We wanted everything to feel as if it had dropped out of the sky straight from the Carolinas.”

Sofia Aspe Interiorismo
Photo by Alfonso de Bejár

On Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Sofía Aspe designed a beach house in a bold black-and-white palette with a healthy dose of texture. “The bar’s backdrop was inspired by the Maya Cross, which posed a challenge when trying to create the round shape.”

Black Studio davidpompa mud pendants, DECK bar stools and RH Modern armchairs upholstered in Perennials fabric combine for an updated coastal look. “My main objective was to design a home that is both beautiful and functional,” Aspe says.

Suzanne Kasler

Suzanne Kasler
Photo by Thibault Jeanson

“Everything about this home in Sirikoi, Kenya, was inspired by the surroundings,” Suzanne Kalser says. “We mixed new pieces from the United States with English antiques and local art, carved stools and handwoven textiles.”

Kalser chose furniture that will stand up to the elements, like the pair of wicker sofas and the chunky wooden coffee table she found at the outdoor market in the Nairobi suburb of Karen. “The patio is sheltered by the palm-thatch roof and completely opens on three sides,” Kasler notes, “which makes it a great spot to sit and watch the wildlife.”

Briggs Edward Solomon

Photo by Björn Wallander

The infinity pool may take center field in baseball star Alex Rodriguez’s Coral Gables, Florida, backyard, but the barbecue cabana designed by Briggs Edward Solomon is a heavy hitter in its own right. The covered free-standing bar and James Perse furniture provide A-Rod with a perfect place for entertaining.

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