Transform Your Pool With a Swim-Up Bar

Three drinks poolside

You don’t have to travel to an exclusive resort to get the luxurious experience of a swim-up bar. Instead, consider putting one in your own backyard pool. Not only will you up the fun factor, your guests will appreciate not having to leave the water to get a drink. Before you build that bar, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Focus on the Features

There are many different kinds of swim-up bars. From tiki themes to sleek, modern lines, you’ll want to take some time to create one that fits perfectly with your current poolscape design. Features for the bar area include a small built-in refrigerator, an outdoor BBQ and, of course, lots of counter space for food and drinks. It’s also a good idea to create some shade for the bar, such as a permanent wooden roof, lightweight canopy or large umbrella. Some added shade will make your bar that much more welcoming.

Set your Specifications

The best swim-up bars are accessible from both inside and outside the pool to accommodate both swimmers and guests on land. So, when planning your bar, you’ll need a sunken space for the part that will be outside of the pool, and you’ll need to keep in mind that the bar itself is best situated at the shallow end of the pool, in about three feet of water.

In order for people to sit at the bar while in the water, the counter needs to be about 6–8 inches above the top edge of the pool. Meanwhile, the dry side of the bar should be about 30–36 inches above the sunken ground. The counter should extend about six inches over the water and be about 10 feet long. This allows 3–4 bar stools to fit along the counter.

The specifications for bar stools are just as important as those for the countertop. The bar stools need to be short enough that people can remain partially submerged when they sit down, but the stools should also be tall enough to allow them to reach the bar. A good rule of thumb is to put bar stools about 15 inches below the surface of the water. Additionally, the diameter of the bar stools should be at least 15 inches, with about 18 inches between each stool.

Another important detail to consider when choosing bar stools is their composition material. Granite is a popular choice due to how smooth and durable it is. There are a number of options to fit your particular lounging needs.

Find Some Inspiration

It can be hard to picture the perfect swim-up bar from measurements alone, so draw inspiration from photos of bars that fit what you have in mind. As swim-up bars become more and more popular, finding an inspiring one shouldn’t be too hard. Try looking at resorts’ websites online; you may even want to do a field test by visiting one in person! Whatever you decide to do, adding a swim-up bar is an added benefit to pool ownership.