Updated 3-28-28

Published reports  abound on the best resort swim-up bars one can enjoy when traveling the world — be it by Conde Nash Traveler, HGTV, TripAdvisor, Men’s Journal, etc. As for a more home grown, consider Michigan’s First Swim Up Bar opening to the public this fall.

But do we really have to travel overseas or even to Michigan? How about one in our own backyard?


What Is a Swim-up Bar?

Swim-Up Bar

Swim-Up Bar

For the uninitiated, a traditional swim-up bar is a regular bar with a “wet side” and “dry side” which allows guests to swim-up and ask for a drink without having to leave the pool.

Standard swim-up bars consist of (1) a regular bar with countertop along the edge of your pool, (2) submerged and fixed bar stools in a more shallow part of the pool, (3) and a custom workstation on the swim-up bar’s “dry side.” 



Why does this pool amenity remain so popular?

Riviera Maya Caribbean Resort

Riviera Maya Caribbean Resort


“Swim up bars remind people of their Caribbean and other exotic vacations where they could stay in the pool or on the beach, order and enjoy their piña coladas,” says Dave Stockwell.

“They are also great spots for swimmers and sunbathers to meet up and talk, without the swimmers having to get out of the pool or the backyard strollers to get wet.”



Doing Double-Duty

Deck and Patio Swim-up Bar

Deck and Patio Swim-up Bar

“If swim-up bars are designed well,” adds Dave, “they can also be used as a dry bar — that is they can be enjoyed solely from its other side.”

In fact, Deck and Patio specializes in creating bars that do just that — do double duty as a dry bar and swim-up. Take, for example, this stunning bar shown here. 

It’s really enjoyable to swim up to this 38-foot “swim-up bar”with submerged barstools.

“The key is each swim-up bar should be unique, designed and custom-made for each project,” says Dave. “Whether it’s the bar’s counter-top, any necessary retaining walls, masonry work, in-pool stools, electrical and plumbing work, it takes skill and experience to ensure it’s perfectly functional, safe, and beautiful.”

Note: As you can see from this Deck and Patio swim-up, it’s also a dry bar on the other side.


Swim-Up Bars Shade Structures

While not necessary, a shade structure with the swim-up bar is frequently requested. As a licensed contractor, Deck and Patio is well known across Long Island for award-winning design and custom building.

Some shade structure options are:


Shade Structures

Shade Structures


— shade pergolas, 

— trellises, 

— gazebos and 

— pavilions. 




A shade structure should blend harmoniously with other elements in your yard and can include everything from an outdoor kitchen, pizza oven, fireplace,” says Dave. “With such additions, your guests can enjoy dining, as well as drinks, from your swim-up bar.” 

The main point, of course, is to have sufficient sun protection in that part of your yard and pool.


Lagoon-style Swimming Pools:

Lagoon-style Swimming Pools:

In addition to a dramatic waterfall area, a stunning Cambridge paver patio and water slide, these clients wanted a swim-up bar with in-pool stools, and Tiki umbrellas. 

Landscaping: Throughout this backyard retreat, smaller groups of boulders were fitted with plantings for natural and attractive retaining areas.

The photo below shows the other side of the swim up bar with examples of the landscaped boulders and plants.


True Backyard Retreat

True Backyard Retreat

“With True Blue Swimming Pool’s beautiful pool, the clients got what everything they wanted, a full oasis that “wows,” says Dave.


Deck and Patio Swim-Up Bar


Today’s Feature Photo at Top of Page: This is an example of combining many elements — use landscaping, a swim-up bar, pool waterfalls, natural retaining wall, shade structure,  etc. — to create a true enticing backyard resort.