The swim-up bar has remained one of the most sought-after pool features for more than sixty-eight years. Once exclusive to grand hotels and the elite, it’s now a coveted addition to residential homes. Many homeowners with pools opt for an in-pool table and bar stools, while others go all out with a complete swim-up bar equipped with an elaborate kitchen, grill, sink, and refrigerator. Welcome to the new era of the swim-up bar.

Homeowners aspire to create a resort-like ambiance in their backyard, perfect for entertaining, unwinding, and allowing kids to enjoy pool time. While some believe it’s only suitable for large backyards, there are ways to incorporate swim-up bars in various backyard sizes.

Designing a swim-up bar involves balancing beauty, functionality, and practicality, with space being critical. Pool experts can offer valuable insights at the design stage regarding total square footage, size, and shape allocation for both the pool and the surrounding area.

Key Features of a Swim-Up Bar:

  • Typically accommodates two to five barstools, with the seat positioned below the waterline for a unique experience.
  • The countertop serves as a focal point, often adorned with mosaic tiles or stone in bold colors to enhance the aesthetic appeal.
  • An adjacent cabinet area provides storage for beverages and cups, while considerations for an outdoor kitchen with a pavilion can complete the setup.

Design Expert Recommendations:

  • Swim-up bars are best suited for shallow areas with heights ranging from 36 to 42 inches.
  • Comfortable seat height ensures partial immersion in water while sitting.
  • The countertop should be elevated 6 inches above the pool’s edge, allowing sufficient knee room for seated guests.
  • The strategic layout enables easy access to food and drinks for guests outside the pool, while ample cabinet space ensures storage convenience.

Advantages of Having a Swim-Up Bar:

  • Creates a resort-like ambiance in the backyard, perfect for entertaining guests.
  • Enhances the relaxing atmosphere and saves patio space.
  • Offers convenience for serving meals and snacks to children without leaving the pool.
  • Ideal for optimizing space, particularly in smaller to medium-sized backyards.


  • Barstools can make cleaning difficult with your standard in-pool cleaner. Including an in-floor cleaning system when building your pool is highly recommended if you plan to have these features. Typical pool cleaners have difficulty keeping the area clean in and around the stools. 
  • Barstools do take up swim space for those requiring a small pool footprint. 

Consulting an expert designer is paramount to crafting the pool of your dreams. Establishing a budget and outlining desired amenities streamline the design process, ensuring every aspect aligns with your vision. Elevate your backyard paradise with Emerald Custom Pools, the top-rated pool builder in DFW. Explore more about Emerald Custom Pools by clicking the link HERE.

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