4 fun bar ideas to make your summer bash a hit

People grilling at a party.


Because summer is a fleeting season, you want to make the most of the fantastic weather and excess daylight while you still can. This is why many people throw backyard bashes. If you want to kick your party up a notch and save some time, consider incorporating a variety of “bars.” These are tables where ingredients are laid out for guests to combine at their leisure. Instead of assembling entrees and drinks yourself, you just have to spread the components and invite your friends to get creative. Once you’ve sent party invitations, consider these fun bar ideas:

1. Sangria bar
For the adults at the party, offer a sangria bar. You’ll need a few pitchers of the actual beverage and a variety of chopped fruits and herbs. You can offer a pitcher each of white and red sangria so guests can pick their favorite type.

As for the accouterment, here are some common ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes

Or, if you want to put a spin on a classic sangria, try combinations like strawberries and basil. Mint and lime bring a mojito touch to a wine beverage. You can leave signs suggesting tasty combos your friends and family can try if they so choose.

If your party is full of kids, consider making a batch of juice. This way, non-drinkers can mix and match fruit, too.

2. Burger or hotdog Bar
Gather your favorite condiments, buns and toppings, fire up the grill, and enjoy a burger or hotdog bar. A few days before the party, you can even make homemade, gourmet condiments, like chipotle mayo or garlic aioli – whatever you think will pair best with your protein.

Other classic toppings include:

  • Cheese
  • Giardiniera
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Chili

To ensure all of your guests can eat the food, consider adding a note in your invites asking friends to RSVP with dietary restrictions. That way, when they call to let you know whether they’ll come, they can also request veggie burgers, gluten-free buns or whatever other special dish they may need – the party will be much more fun if everyone can enjoy the food!

3. Ice cream bar
Backyard barbecues are a blast, but you want to keep your guests cool. One way is to provide a refreshing dessert: ice cream! Keeping with the bar theme, offer a variety of flavors and toppings, such as fruit, syrup, whipped cream and candy. As with your entree bar, asks guests to let you know about dietary restrictions. Of course, if you want to be proactive, consider buying coconut- or almond-milk ice cream. These tend to be safest, as they don’t contain major allergens, such as dairy and soy.

Additionally, your ice cream bar may be best served indoors. That way, dessert won’t melt before all of your guests get their double scoop.

4. Craft bar
For the little ones at your party, consider a craft bar. Kids can create a summer-themed piece of art by picking from a variety of materials, like glitter, sequins, construction paper and markers. For instance, have them make butterflies out of paper plates, decorating in whatever way they want. This activity gives the kids something fun to do and a craft to take home.