How to Turn Your Deck Railing into an Outdoor Bar

July 17, 2018

How to Turn Your Deck Railing into an Outdoor Bar

If you love to entertain and spend your summer evenings hosting BBQs and outdoor get-togethers with friends and family, then a bar area may be the perfect thing to add to your deck!

Even if your deck space is limited, you can install a railing bar that will wow your guests without taking away a lot of patio real estate. With some special hardware, a plank of cedar and a good wood stain, you can create the bar of your dreams.

Many of us want to increase our seating capacity for parties or backyard barbecues, but are limited by a small balcony or an awkward deck that simply serves to direct guests to the sliding door. These spaces are a little too narrow to add additional tables or chairs without interfering with foot traffic.

What if this unusable space could be transformed into something new? Turn a section of a wooden deck railing into a bar top that only takes up about 10” of space. Add a few bar stools underneath and you have a serene place to enjoy a drink overlooking your beautiful backyard or surrounding woodlands.

Three Elements to Consider When Purchasing a Rail Bracket

Before you run out and buy any deck railing bracket though, there are three considerations you may want to take into account.


You can purchase lumber and fabricate your own bar if you have the woodworking skills and tools, or to make it quick and easy, we recommend Kulshan DIY deck railing bar brackets. A single screw mounts the bracket to any 2" x 2" wooden baluster post. Then add a stained cedar plank for the bar top. That’s really all there is to transforming your deck railing into a bar. If you’re extremely crafty, you can get very fancy with the bar top. Try using different species of wood to create various inlay designs in the cedar plank. Stick some old pennies or bottle caps to the top with liquid epoxy or add ceramic tiles for a Tuscan theme.


It’s important to make sure you use good quality hardware. If you opt for cheap hardware, you’ll find that the hardware fails long before the lumber even shows signs of weathering. This is not to mention that corroding hardware could make your bar area unsafe and unattractive. Kulshan hardware is incredibly tough (steel with a tough powder coat finish) and stylish, too. These brackets add to the finished look of you railing deck bar.

Whatever surface you choose, it must tolerate exposure to the elements. An outdoor bar is going to be exposed to the changing climate, even if there is some sort of roof or structure overhead. Wind, rain, humidity – they are going to affect the longevity of the components you install. Choose materials that can withstand being outside, will continue to look great over time, resisting abuse and corrosion from water and humidity.


Lastly, it’s important to plan for plenty of counter space when designing your outdoor bar. Your options are flexible in terms of length, but you should allow for about three feet of length per person. This allows for additional places for people to sit and gives them the perfect bar ledge for drinks and plates. You’re going to want to have room to place glasses, napkins, mixers, and other bar necessities. To make entertaining easier and enjoyable the bar can moonlight as a buffet during outdoor get togethers. The narrow design takes up minimal floor space while offering enough surface area for serving dishes and some decorative décor.


Adding a railing bar is a great way to extend your living space to the backyard, especially if you and your family like to entertain on summer nights. Spend some time planning the location before installing. This will help to give you a great usable space that can withstand the outdoor elements and work efficiently.

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