How to Buy Outdoor Sinks & Bar Centers
Who wants to imagine a glamorous cocktail party or soiree thrown and hosted in their own backyard when they can wonder about faucets instead? We know speed racks filled to the brim with rare vintage liquors are exciting — but, you know what’s also exciting? A copper sink. Stay with us on this one: introduce a germ, any germ you know, to that sink. Hope you weren’t close, because it’s dead now. Sure, soaking up applause while you pour out 6 cocktails in a seamless line makes an exhilarating daydream, but have you met a pre-rinse faucet? Those things are wild.
Here’s a sexy phrase for you: licensed plumber. Confused? Just grab your nearest Merriam-Webster thesaurus — because synonyms include “security,” “safety,” and “knowing your water and drainage lines won’t spring a leak a year down the line.” These guys will know exactly what codes apply to your project. Let them handle the hassle of construction so you won’t have to! Speaking of hassles, why burn hours researching sinks when, guess what, we already did?
What Kind of Sink is Right for Your Outdoor Bar or Kitchen?
Outdoor Kitchen Sinks
- Commonly in single or double basin configurations
- Feature large drains that move ample water quickly
- Great for washing dishes, filling large pots of water
- Note: they take up a fair amount of counter space
Picture any sink. Congrats! It was probably this one. Basic kitchen sinks make it all happen: lots of water coming, lots of water going... what more could you want? What, a 3.5-inch drain? Oddly specific, but you’re in luck! If you’re open to hooking the drain up to your home’s waste water system, most sinks can supply your home bar with garbage disposal. Isn’t that neat?
Outdoor Bar Sinks
- Designed smaller with single basins
- Some offer insulated lining, perfect for holding ice
- Great for washing hands, fruits and veggies, prepping food
- Note: they’re much smaller and move less water
If this is you right now — “My precious counter space? Never!” — then we’ve got some great news. Outdoor bar sinks take up much less room! And they can be installed pretty much anywhere in the countertop. If all you really want is a sink station to slice up citrus for the garnishes and wash your hands, then an outdoor wet bar will make a fantastic cocktail center.
Outdoor Wet Bars and Sink Stations
- Instantly make that outdoor island an outdoor bar
- Generally made from 304 commercial stainless steel
- Matches most outdoor kitchen components
- Note: not all outdoor sink stations contain all features
While sinks are great and all, a dedicated bar center is a major upgrade — in one fell swoop, they singlehandedly transform an outdoor island into an outdoor bar. Although models vary, you can expect between “some” and “all” of the following: a convenient sink, a condiment holder, ice bin cooler, cutting board, speed rail, and bottle opener.
Outdoor Utility Sinks
- Designed as one huge single basin
- Excellent for cleaning game or fish
- Meant for filling large containers, cleaning larger pots
- Note: eats lots of space for a pretty utilitarian role
Ah, the utility sink — our honorable mention for those who just need a deep, bulky, heavy-duty sink. Usually found in laundry rooms or utility rooms, they do have their uses. Are you a game hunter? Love to bring a handful of fishing pals out on the boat to personally rewrite the local fish census? Because a utility sink will chew up counter space, but it’ll spit out gigantic cleaning functionality.
Outdoor Sink Styles
- Hides the sink lip out of sight
- Encourages mixing and matching sinks to faucets
- Note: must be added during countertop installation
If you really have it out for the sink lip (or you’re very particular about clean lines), you’ll probably want an undermount sink. This design mounts beneath the countertop with special brackets, hence the name. They also usually don’t include precut faucet holes — typically, those are deck-mounted to the top of the countertop. That’s actually a perk: it means you can settle on just about any faucet you want.
- Highly flexible countertop placement
- No feisty brackets or mounting gear to deal with
- Note: keep drainage pipes and vertical supports in mind
These aren’t your relatives or coworkers at inopportune times — they’re sinks designed to install straight down! Suspended by a rim resting atop your countertop, this style relies on gravity. You’ll need to be more discerning at the hardware store; your faucet must be matched to pre-cut holes. However, the entire countertop (minus those supporting vertical panels) is open real estate!
- Otherwise known as “apron sinks”
- Eye-catching design while perfect for large loads
- Note: must sit flush with front edge of the island
You pause. You turn. There it is, perched invitingly — a farmhouse sink. Flush with the island front, that sleek, classy wall protrudes through the surface. Sure, it consumes valuable countertop real estate. Do you care? Of course not. Those tasteful lines, that voluminous basin… imagine how many large pots and pans it’ll hold. It could beckon for attention. But it doesn’t need to. It already commands it.
- Offered in single or double basin designs
- Come in a variety of materials, sizes, and finish options
- Note: mounting style still dictates faucet requirements
Can’t decide between a drop-in or undermount sink? Crazy idea here: why should you have to? Who died and made that a law? Demand the best of both worlds in your sink installation. Don’t want to deal with matching faucets to holes? Just undermount it. Feel like mixing up the combination? Drop it in from above. You already compromise on so much — your sink is different.
Outdoor Faucet Styles
You might know these as “gooseneck faucets” (although, they’re less likely to snatch a sandwich out of your hands, honk at your parents, or overthrow your lawn). Usually cast from metals such as stainless steel or brass, these designs incorporate a high arch spout that often swivels from side to side — any double-basin sink will love this feature. Some manufacturers include a deck-mounted pull-out sprayer with separate attached cast spout faucet. Goose repellant sold separately.
Ever seen an industrial dishwashing sprayer in a restaurant and thought, “I’m getting together a crew to pull an Ocean’s Eleven on this thing?” Now you can have one — without the rigamarole of fleeing Johnny Law! They’re designed very tall, often with a spring-held hose for incredible maneuverability. Featuring a wide spout arc, high spray force, and multiple strength settings, these are perfect for large sinks full of dishes and pots — or washing down disguises after thrillingly mundane heists.
Sometimes, when faced with cleaning a large pot in a small sink, you just need physics to let you have this one thing. While mad scientists and British time travelers are still hard at work making things bigger on the inside, you can always try a pot-filler faucet — which “unfolds” to fit generously-sized cookware. Comprised of swivel-jointed segments that expand or collapse to reach across your countertop, pot-fillers should be a consideration in any kitchen with limited space.
Marvel at the cutting-edge advances of space-age accordion technology! Pull-down faucets expand into beautiful, spiraled wonders during use — and otherwise retract into a virtually seamless, single piece. Featuring adjustable spray intensities and varying length for your needs, these hoses even defend you from the sinking humiliation of a spoon bouncing a small stream of water into a torrential blast.
It’s not fair to call this one a faucet, because it’s really a tactical challenger in any water gun fight. Sure, it functions as a perfectly fine faucet… until you take it by the straight spout. Suddenly, you’re wielding the handle of a corded water sprayer, with an even longer hose than a pull-down faucet — and the swivel base gives you one of the largest areas of available spraying. Enjoy finer control, less splash, and toppling the nearest water fight champion.
Outdoor Sink & Faucet Materials
Stainless Steel Sinks & Faucets
- Complements other stainless steel in your kitchen
- Cleans like a dream with simply a hot, soapy sponge
- 304 stainless steel is unparalleled for outdoor longevity
- Note: the metal may discolor over time if not cleaned often
Why knock a classic? We love stainless steel because the metal stays consistent over time: it’s highly resistant to acidic foods, abrasive cleaners, and environmental weathering. If there’s anything to hate about that, we haven’t found it. Thanks to the high chrome content, stainless steel stays looking shiny and new for longer — even in the dreaded outdoors!
Copper Sinks & Faucets
- Aesthetic warmth and traditional styling
- Gracefully aging natural patina that self-heals scratches
- Effectively the waking nightmare of bacteria everywhere
- Note: not quite as easy to match as stainless steel
Slap some sunshades on it and call it the Germinator. Copper has it out for germs — it kills most on contact, and completely eliminates nearly all harmful bacteria after a few hours. Suffice to say, copper’s natural antibacterial properties make your sink more hygienic and a great food prep area. Sure, this all goes a long way for food safety, but it also kisses those off-putting smells goodbye!
Granite Composite Sinks
- Same sturdy granite feel, yet much more affordable
- Offered in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and finishes
- Highly resistant to heat, scratching, and stains
- Note: harder on dishware and incredibly heavy to install
Ever have the sinking feeling that you take your dishes for granite? Not anymore! As it turns out, blending natural stone and resin into an 80/20 mixture produces a remarkably durable material — and, oh boy, can it stand up to some serious abuse. The trade-off is that it nearly always requires professional installation, and that extra sturdiness will teach you to stay kind to your dishware.
- Excellent faucet material overall
- Another solid answer for older aesthetics
- Highly similar to copper in anti-rusting properties
- Note: patina attractiveness is a far harder sell here
For a metal repeatedly doused in running water, brass checks many of the boxes you’d want: for one, it won’t rust or corrode. It even takes a page from copper’s book (namely, the patina). Unfortunately, it should’ve sprung for the whole chapter — brass patinas are far less attractive. Ever wonder why modern brass faucets usually feature a brass inner core and an exterior section, like stainless steel or chrome? That’s why.
Outdoor Bar Accessories
While we understand the intensely gripping, edge-of-your-seat emotional roller coaster that is reading sinks and bar centers articles, we’re not done yet! You see, a sink or bar center does not an outdoor bar make. There are many other essential appliances to an outdoor bar — such as refrigeration appliances, storage components, those adorable little folding umbrellas, and a host of outdoor bar accessories meant to turn any outdoor island into a backyard speakeasy.
Ice Bin Coolers
Is any bar complete without one? Who wouldn’t want an enormous ice bucket to prepare for any cocktail party or Game Day beer challenge? With a central drain for water removal (keep that in mind during installation), it’ll even stay handy for storing those extra beer mugs and cocktail shakers.
Speed Rails & Bottle Openers
Keep the best liquors a pour away with a speed rail, hanging off your ice bin cooler or proudly mounted — just like that dedicated bottle opener. These make quite a difference to the budding mixologist, keeping mixers or liquors nearby while popping those bottle caps like a pro.
Built-In Blender Station
Putting in a great blender and giving it someplace nice to live is a game-changer for any bar. This puts frozen drinks at your fingertips: margaritas, pina coladas, slushes, and — for the designated drivers and the kids — frozen virgin drinks. Now your bartending’s gone fully inclusive. How’s that feel, champ?
Outdoor Bar Furniture
It doesn’t matter how great your original spin on the Mai Tai tastes if your guests are tired on their feet with nowhere to relax. What better finishing touch is there for any outdoor saloon than luxurious outdoor bar furniture? It’ll make all the difference to your speakeasy’s final look.
Bonus: Outdoor Sinks, Hot Running Water, and You
Chances are, you can think of a few reasons for your sink to pump water warmer than “cold to borderline freezing.” You should probably have a hot water strategy in mind. The easy answer is to simply connect to the interior hot water line and congratulate yourself — if said water line leaves your home well-insulated. It might be more practical to install a small, dedicated water heater. That’s one for that licensed plumber of yours (remember the thesaurus!) to answer.
Welcome to the end of the article! We certainly hope we successfully turned somewhat of a droll topic into something that entertained you (although, we’ll settle for that quiet, amused “exhaling through a nostril” thing). Speaking of boring things made better by other people, why not let our outdoor kitchen designers help handle the planning phases of your outdoor bar? Trust us — if it can delay or complicate an outdoor kitchen or bar design project, these folks have dealt with it. They are the knights, your project is Camelot, and the problem is a dragon. Let our knights slay your dragon!
Still have questions? Need help choosing the best bar equipment? Want another crazy ride through Sinks and Bar Centers Land? (Don’t worry, we’re workshopping the name.) If you answered any of these questions with “Yes, and hold on a second, did you just say you’re building a theme park about sinks and— “, then you’re in luck! Our talented, lovely, and fiendishly charismatic outdoor living experts are standing by. Give them a ring at 1-877-743-2269!
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