Summer is here! Are you ready to start dinner out on your patio or porch? Create your own summer bar cart to make dining outdoors easy and fun!

DIY Summer Bar Cart

A true sign of summer for me is when we get our patio set up for the season! This step officially gets the ball rolling on summer grilling season. One thing I realized a few summer ago is that it’s a lot of work to actually eat al fresco. You have to gather up the grilling utensils, dig around for some paper plates, find all the condiments and utensils…you get the idea! I started to find the idea of eating outside more fun in theory than in reality! Then, last summer, I came up with a solution for my outdoor eating dilemma! I created a Outdoor Entertaining Bar Cart that was filled with all of our summertime dining essentials! So today, I’ll share this bar cart and give you some ideas for what to include in your summer dining station.

*Some affiliate links used.

Must Haves for Easy Summer Entertaining: Summer Bar Cart

 

Setting up an Outdoor Dining Station

I purchased this bar cart a few years ago for the exact purpose of organizing all of our patio supplies. I intended for the cart to be left out just during the summer. However,  I found so many uses for it year round that it has stayed out! (You can see my Popcorn Bar Cart HERE and our Halloween Bar Cart HERE).

Summer Bar Cart Makes Outdoor Dining Easy

A bar cart is not a necessity for a dining station — a picnic basket or a big bin would also work! The key is to have all the items you will need to eat outdoors in ONE SPOT, preferably near the door leading to your outdoor dining area! 

You could even use a  large party bin or a big cooler to store all of your items and then it doubles as beverage holder when you are entertaining!


Next, you have to decide where to keep the bar cart/bin. I prefer to keep our bar cart indoors because it is easier to keep clean. We have a lot of trees in our backyard with leaves that end up covering our patio. But you could certainly keep your cart or bin outdoors to make things even more accessible!

Our cart is set up right near our doors leading to our patio! It is so easy to grab our items off the cart on the way outside!

Organizing the Outdoor Dining Station

Now you will need to decide what to keep on the bar cart! This is the fun part! It’s necessary to think about what you use when you eat outside. Before I had a bar cart,  I just kept a bin with our plates and silverware near the door. Now, as time as gone on and I have a big cart, we keep a lot of items handy. It really makes it so easy to have a casual dinner outside or to host a bigger crowd.

Must Haves for Outdoor Entertaining

I like to have a lot of small bowls and platters handy. It is so much easier to grab from this bin then to dig around my cabinets for all of our serving pieces.  This SODA bin was from World Market a few years ago and I love it! Most of the other items in this bin have come from the dollar store and Target! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be stocked for summer entertaining!!

One of my favorite serving pieces are these burger baskets I got a few years ago. They are perfect for serving hot dogs and burgers to the kids! I found basket liners from Amazon for easy clean up.


I also love these roasting sticks I mentioned in a post last Fall. These are a must have for our frequent S’More making sessions!!


Our dining cart is filled with practical and fun items! Here is a complete list of items to consider for your summer dining set up:

 

Outdoor Dining Bar Cart Essentials

Disposable or Melamine Plates

Placemats

Serving Utensils

 Large Tray (to carry all of serving pieces)

Water Pitcher

Drinkware

Drink Coasters

Napkins

Bottle/Wine Openers

BBQ Tools

Bug Spray

Sun Tan Lotion

Citronella Candles

Salt and Pepper Containers

Roasting Sticks

Candles


Styling the Summer Dining Station

Finally, I added a few fun touches to our bar cart. This inexpensive Letterboard has come in very handy! The United States sign came from Target.

Summer Letterboard Ideas

Red White and Blue Summer Bar Cart

Letterboard//Bar Cart

There are so many directions you can take with styling a summer cart. Some of the same ideas I talked about in last week’s summer decor post could be used for a summer bar cart.

Summer Bar Cart Themes

Margarita/Summer Drinks

Tropical + Flamingo

Garden

Lemonade/Yellow Color Theme

 

So MANY fun ideas!!

 

Easy Outdoor Entertaining Ideas with a Bar Cart

 

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I usually modify our cart as the season goes along and I figure out what we use or need the most for our outdoor meals! This dining station was really a GAMECHANGER for us when it came to eating outside. It’s perfect for bigger scale entertaining but also when, most typically, it’s just our own family eating dinner!

Do you and your family like to eat outside all summer long?

Are you looking for more bar cart inspiration and ideas? Check out these posts!

How to Style a Fall Bar Cart

Halloween Bar Cart Inspiration

28 Comments

  1. susie liberatore on May 16, 2018 at 8:46 am

    HOW Fun this is!! I LOVE it… so cute

  2. Asma on May 16, 2018 at 8:49 am

    This is wonderful idea. I will try it this summer.

    • Jaclyn on May 17, 2018 at 6:42 am

      Be sure to let me know if you set one up! Happy Summer!

  3. Diana H on May 16, 2018 at 8:52 am

    I love the look of this cart and the color scheme. I’ve got An empty area in the corner under my patio in my backyard which would be perfect for one. I’ve been trying to figure out what to put there and something like this is perfect!

    • Jaclyn on May 17, 2018 at 6:42 am

      Yes-that sounds perfect! There are so many inexpensive bar carts on Amazon and even Homegoods and Marshalls!

  4. Holly Breton @ Pink Lady on May 16, 2018 at 10:44 am

    This is AWESOME- I think I am going to put one together- such an awesome idea and totally makes dining al fresco so much easier

    • Jaclyn on May 17, 2018 at 6:41 am

      It really does make outside eating easier! You’ll have to share pictures if you set one up!

  5. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups on May 16, 2018 at 11:02 am

    This is such a cute idea! I love eating outside when the weather is nice.

    • Jaclyn on May 17, 2018 at 6:40 am

      We love eating outside too…as long as the bees stay away:)

  6. Stephanie on May 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    This is awesome. We are getting a patio this summer and will absolutely need something like this!

    • Jaclyn on May 17, 2018 at 6:38 am

      Ohh fun!! You will have to share pictures of your new patio!

  7. ShootingStarsMag on May 16, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    I love that you change the bar cart depending on the season. This is such a fun idea! Thanks for sharing.

    -Lauren

    • Jaclyn on May 17, 2018 at 6:38 am

      Thanks Lauren–it’s a fun home decor item!

  8. Tanya on May 16, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    This is such a fun idea! I love the idea of a folding bar cart. PS. I bought some of the pineapple pillows you mentioned last week. Love them!

    • Jaclyn on May 17, 2018 at 6:38 am

      Your pillows look GREAT–good picks! Happy Summer!

  9. Katie on May 17, 2018 at 6:30 am

    This is such an adorable idea! I am already thinking about what theme I can use if I make one!

  10. Dara on May 17, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I would love that because it would give me something else to decorate! We don’t eat outside very often though and I’m not sure I’d have a spot for it. I like that crate that says soda!

  11. Julie on May 17, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    This is so cute! I love that it is decorative and functional.

  12. Dianna Mills on May 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Super cute AND practical!

  13. Kendall Swenson on May 17, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    These are great ideas! You have totally inspired me to do a bar cart this summer!

  14. Savvy Southern Chic on May 19, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Super cute! I have a vintage one I intend to redo. You picked some cute great dining accessories to go with it.

    • Jaclyn on May 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      A vintage cart sounds SO fun! Be sure to share yours when you have it all done!

  15. Breanna on May 19, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Ah! This made me so excited for summer cookouts, I can’t wait to try some of these super cute ideas!

    • Jaclyn on May 23, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Thank you! Summer is so much fun–love all the cookouts too!

  16. Phoebe on May 20, 2018 at 12:18 am

    That is really beautiful! I love the colors too, so perfect for the memorial day weekend.

    • Jaclyn on May 23, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks Phoebe! Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

  17. Jocelyn on May 21, 2018 at 7:20 am

    We are buying a house this fall… I can’t wait to do this!

    • Jaclyn on May 23, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Oh nice! You can start with a clean slate and get things organized from the beginning!

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