Spring has sprung and it’s time to look forward to dining al fresco on the patio or deck. If your outdoor space isn’t large, you can still incorporate a dining set if you choose high-top tables and chairs.
This type of set is great for smaller spaces because it takes up less space yet feels comfortable because it’s taller than usual. And, even if your outdoor area is expansive, high top tables and chairs can be the answer to the challenge of creating a more intimate gathering space or an area styled for entertaining. The taller profile is much like a bar area or pub, so if you’re hosting a crowd, the tables are perfect.
What Kind of Outdoor Bar Table is Best?
As you can imagine, the options for an outdoor high top table and chairs vary widely, including the types of materials they are made from. While much of your choice will be driven by personal preference and style, there are a number of other things to consider before you go shopping:
It’s Made for the Outdoors
No matter the style, you want your high top table and chairs to stand up to the weather where you live. Each type of material will offer up different degrees of durability and have its own pros and cons. It’s key to think about where you will put the bar set. Will it be exposed to the elements all the time or will it be under cover? Is the environment very wet or do you live near the ocean where salt in the air is a consideration?
Pick the Right Material
Here we run down the most common materials you’ll find when shopping for a high top table and chairs, along with some of the pros and cons of each one.
- Wood — This is the classic choice for outdoor furniture, especially in seaside locales. Wood makes for a sturdy set and can be low maintenance. Pay attention to the type of wood used; the best outdoor choices, like teak, have enough natural oils to stand up to sun and rain. You can let them weather to a natural silver gray and they will be virtually maintenance free. If you like the look of the original brown coloring, you’ll have to oil them periodically to maintain it. In any case, you’ll want to make sure the wood is rot resistant. Some types of wood may require regular sealing or staining to maintain their appearance or color.
- Metal – The tables have typically been very traditional in appearance, but newer styles can be quite contemporary. Also, these types of table were often made from wrought iron, which made them very heavy. New models are often made from cast aluminum, that has a powder coating. This means they are still very sturdy with great stability in windy locations but lighter than iron. The powder coating is also more durable than regular painted surfaces and is very resistant to weathering.
- Plastic or PVC – In general, plastic patio furniture is inexpensive, lightweight and almost maintenance free. While that all may sound good, it may be lacking in style, stability or longevity, plus, plastic can mildew if constant exposed to moisture.
- Poly lumber – Essentially this is also plastic, but it has some major differences that make it more attractive from a few perspectives. First, it looks like lumber and has good weight for sturdiness, but it is made from high-density polyethylene that comes from post-consumer waste like milk and detergent bottles. It’s easily cleaned and does not need to be painted, stained or waterproofed. (It’s the same type of material now used for many a backyard deck.) Needless to say, it won’t rot, stands up to weather and lasts longer than wood.
- Rattan or wicker – A high top table and chairs made from rattan or wicker is the ultimate in breezy, casual furniture with a tropical feel. The term wicker actually refers to the woven style of the furniture, not the material, so with these styles, it’s critical to determine if it is made from PVC or a natural material. Sets made from PVC are weather resistant and can be exposed to the elements, which those made from natural materials must be under cover and cannot sit out in the rain.
How Big Should My Table Be?
High top or not, unless you have a large wide-open space, your table size will be determined by its placement and not necessarily by the number of people in your family. The set has to fit on your patio or deck with enough room for the chairs to pull out and for people to walk around it. Before choosing a set, measure the dimensions of the space. You’ll want to have at least three feet of clearance all the way around the table, whether that’s from the side of the deck or other furniture groupings.
If you have a particular number of people that you want to seat on a regular basis, a good general measurement is to allow 18 to 24 inches of space for each person and 6 to 12 inches between them.
With regard to height, high top tables vary, so if you’re not purchasing a matched set, you’ll need to note the height of the table as well as the seat of the chairs. There has to be enough room for your knees when seated at the table, so allow for at least 12 inches at bar-height table, but a more generous 15 inches will be extra comfortable without being too much.
What Shape Should I Choose?
While high top tables and chairs were traditionally bar-style sets, now they are available in all shapes and sizes. If you have a smaller space, round or square tables may be the best choice as they generally take up less room, with bistro styles being the most compact and ideal for two people. Sets that have a rectangular and oval tables need more space, but are obviously well suited for larger families.
Make Sure the Chairs are Comfortable
Whether you are choosing a matched set or putting together your own combinations, don’t sacrifice comfort for style when it comes to the chairs. The coolest chair in the world is no good if it’s not comfortable and that is especially true for outdoor furniture. You, your family and friends will want to linger around the table! If your chairs are made of durable but hard materials like metal, make sure that your budget includes purchasing weather-resistant cushions if they are not included with the set.
Need Some Shade?
If your high-top table and chairs will be positioned in the full sun, you will want to consider an umbrella, for which the table needs a hole in the center. Not all tables and patio sets include an umbrella hole, so it’s important to check that before making your purchase. And, speaking of the umbrella, make sure that you choose one that is large enough to shade the whole table. You’ll also want to pick one made from weather-resistant material that’s heavy enough if it gets a little breezy: Cheaper models might not hold up well.
Regular outdoor dining sets are typically quite large and have a standard height of 28 to 30 inches. While those are designed for seated entertaining, high top tables and chairs offer the flexibility of being great for seating as well as a comfortable table height for adults who are standing.
Bar height tables are generally 40 to 42 inches high, which is taller than counter height (34 to 36 inches high) styles.
Matching sets of tables and chairs are manufactured with the correct amount of space for a person’s knees when seated at the table, but if you’re mixing and matching tables and chairs, you’ll want to allow at least 12 inches for bar-height tables. Experts recommend a slightly more generous 15 inches of clearance for counter height seating.
Since we’re talking about outdoor furniture, this can also be the time to have a little fun with your dining set. Loads of options exist with regard to styles and features. Chairs can have arms or be more like stools, which might work better in a very small space. The furnishings can be made from various types of metal, wood or plastic materials that resemble natural wicker. Based on the space you have available, be sure to choose something that’s comfortable, easy-care and reflects your personal entertaining style. Whether you’re having a solo coffee outside in the morning or hosting friends for dinner, you want to feel relaxed.
Check out these great outdoor high top table and chairs:
Durability and a long-lasting appearance are just a couple of the big positives of the Darlee Elisabeth 5-Piece Cast Aluminum Patio Bar Set. Made from cast aluminum, the pieces are rust-resistant and the antique bronze powder coating is more durable than regular painted surfaces. Buyers say the set is a real space-saver and stands up to strong winds. Beyond the sturdiness, this high top table and chair set has loads of style and works for any outdoor living space. The generous 42-inch table features a perforated pattern to keep rain from collecting on it and includes a central hole for an umbrella. Customers love that the pedestal base has a footrest, which is also found on the chairs. And speaking of the chairs, they have a very attractive floral motif on the seatback, giving them a refined look. The size of the table comfortably accommodates the four armchairs for dining and entertaining. Moisture-resistant polyester seat cushions in a sesame color are included with the five-piece bar-height set.
A great five-year residential warranty covers the furniture frame and the powder coat finish is backed by a three-year warranty. Even the polyester fabric cushions are warranted for one year, except for any fading due to chemicals or neglect. The Darlee Elisabeth 5-piece set has been praised as a great value for the price.
Bright, cheery and eco-friendly, Pawleys Island Sunrise 3-Piece Poly Lumber Patio Counter Height Bar Set is just the ticket for two. The counter-height set is made from Durawood poly lumber that stands up to all the elements that Mother Nature can throw at it, from the summer’s hot sun to heavy winds and snowy winters. Poly lumber is made from high-density polyethylene that comes from post-consumer like milk and detergent bottles. It’s the same type of material used for a lot of backyard decks, so it’s easily cleaned and does not need to be painted, stained or waterproofed.
The Pawleys Island Sunrise set is available in a bright red or blue, and adds a great splash of color to an outdoor living space. Ideal for smaller areas, the table is made for two at 26 by 18 inches. The chairs, made from the same poly lumber, feature both armrests and footrests, making them super comfortable. And unlike regular wood, the surfaces are smooth — no sharp edges or splinters! Even better, the pigment runs through the lumber, which helps prevent fading. The easy-care poly lumber, along with the fact that all original Pawleys Island patio furniture comes with a full lifetime warranty for residential customers, means that you’ll be relaxing and enjoying your sunset cocktails on it for many years.
Party animals take note: This is the outdoor piece you need. The Darlee Series 60 5-Piece Cast Aluminum Patio Party Bar Set is absolutely made for backyard entertaining. Just as guests are drawn to gather around a kitchen island, your friends will gravitate to this bar, whether you put it poolside or on a patio. The centerpiece is an 82-inch-long bar down in a lattice design that’s perfect for the outdoors. It has plenty of room for four seated guests and enough space to be the hub for serving your next party. Made from cast aluminum, the rust-resistant bar and stools are finished with an antique bronze powder coating that is far more durable than regular painted surfaces. Even with its ample size, the bar weighs less than a comparable set made from wrought iron. Moreover, inside, it features two full-length shelves that hold all your mixings, fixings and essential drink accessories. And, when the bar’s not being used, they’re totally out of sight.
Four backless bar stools feature a swivel mechanism and are made from the same aluminum and powder coating as the bar. Darlee’s moisture-resistant polyester seat cushions in a sesame color are included with the 30-inch-high stools. As with Darlee’s other products, a generous five-year residential warranty covers the furniture frame and the powder coat finish is backed by a three-year warranty. Even the polyester fabric cushions are warranted for one year, except for any fading due to chemicals or neglect.
If you’ve only got the space for one set on your deck or patio, the Darlee Charleston 5 Piece Cast Aluminum Patio Bar Set With Swivel Bar Stools is a fabulous choice not only for its durability and size but for also its styling. The simply elegant lattice-patterned table is paired with chairs that have a tailed design accented with a leafy flourish. Both are made from the rust-resistant cast aluminum and antique bronze powder coating finish that Darlee is known for. In fact, their coating is more durable than standard painted surfaces. Neither material will weather over time. The table is a 40.5-inch bar height and includes a central hole to hold an umbrella if you want to add one.
The swivel chairs are super comfortable, especially with the seat and back cushions that are included, covered in Spicy Chili-colored moisture-resistant polyester. Comparable wrought iron types of tables and chairs are much heavier than this rust-resistant cast aluminum. Buyers love how well-built the set is as much as how beautiful it is. The size is ideal for family or casual dining, whether that’s a lunch or a cocktail hour with friends. A five-year residential warranty covers the furniture frame and the powder coat finish is backed by a three-year warranty. Even the polyester fabric cushions are warranted for one year, except for any fading due to chemicals or neglect.
For those who prefer outdoor furniture made from natural wood, Dartmoor’s 7 Piece Natural Shorea Patio Bar Set W/ 78 3/4 Inch Table By Oxford Garden is a versatile option you can enjoy for many years. The 78-inch length is good for larger spaces, but the 26.5-inch depth means it can still work on a narrow terrace or patio. The bar-height table and backless stools are made from solid natural Shorea wood, which resists rot and stands up to any weather. It’s similar to teak in that it contains natural oils to help it stand up to the elements. And, just like teak, you can choose to oil it to maintain the natural look or let it weather to a gray color.
Oxford Garden makes its wood furniture mortise and tenon construction and with stainless steel, rust-resistant hardware. Bracing at the bottom of the legs adds to the sturdiness of the table and a wooden plug at the center of the table can be removed to accommodate an umbrella. The stools also have bracing around the legs, with a slightly wider ledge at the front for a footrest. The slatted surface of both the table and stools lets rainwater run right through, meaning that an afternoon rainstorm won’t soak in or puddle up to ruin your evening backyard plans. Overall, this set has a more contemporary look thanks to the clean lines and the hint of a curve at the back of the stools. This patio bar set is protected by a 1-year warranty against structural failure, as well as wood rot and insect infestations.
Equally perfect as the centerpiece of a small space or in a larger outdoor area for an intimate gathering, the Compass Teak 5 Piece Patio Bar Set By Royal Teak Collection has natural beauty and durability. Crafted from teak, which is very hard and has a high oil content, the table and chairs resist rotting, bug, fungus, and the damaging effects of rain, sun, wind, or snow. The wood used for this set is also eco-friendly because it is plantation-grown and responsibly harvested. This size of patio set is ideal for casual meals, morning coffee and evening cocktails. It’s also the perfect table for outdoor entertaining and family games.
The table is bar height at 48 inches and has a slatted wood top so that rain runs right through and doesn’t puddle helping protect the wood and aid in drying. It is constructed with durable mortise-and-tenon joints along with stainless steel hardware that will help it last for many seasons. Slatted stools are braced at the bottom, creating a footrest and increasing stability. Left untreated, outdoor furniture made from teak will weather to a silvery gray, but it’s possible to maintain the original look with a little maintenance that involves oiling the pieces. This high-quality set from the Royal Teak Collection carries a three-year warranty against defects in material and workmanship in normal conditions.
7. Elisabeth 5 Piece Cast Aluminum Patio Swivel Bar Stool Set W/ 36 Inch Round Bar Height Table By Darlee
Classic style and durable construction make the Elisabeth 5 Piece Cast Aluminum Patio Swivel Bar Stool Set W/ 36 Inch Round Bar Height Table By Darlee a fabulous addition to any outdoor living space. Each piece is made from cast aluminum, which means that it is rust-resistant. The antique bronze powder coating is more durable than a standard painted surface and stands up to the elements better. Beyond the sturdiness, this high top table and chairs set has refined style and is the right size for a small patio or deck but also works in a larger area where you want to create more intimate gathering spaces. The 36-inch table features a perforated design in the top to keep rain from collecting on it and includes a central hole so that you can add an umbrella.
The four swiveling armchairs feature a very attractive floral motif on the seatback, adding a classic design flair. Moisture-resistant polyester seat cushions in a sesame color are included with the five-piece bar-height set. A generous five-year residential warranty covers the furniture frame and the powder coat finish is backed by a three-year warranty. Even the polyester fabric cushions are warranted for one year, except for any fading due to chemicals or neglect. Customers praise Darlee products as a great value for the price.
Why not give your outdoor space some luxurious tropical flair? The Blue Olive 3 Piece Wicker Patio Bar Set W/ Sunbrella Fabric By Tommy Bahama is a gorgeous set with a high-end look made from easy-care materials that leave you more time to chill with family and friends. The set is manufactured with a durable and rust-resistant cast aluminum frame that will provide many years of use. The quality frame of the Tommy Bahama collection is then covered with an all-weather wicker material in a stylish herringbone weave design, creating a very luxe look. An extra-durable 38-inch tabletop may look like it’s natural slate but is actually hand-finished Weatherstone, a fiberglass-embedded concrete material. Calling these roomy and comfortable seats barstools is almost misleading because they have all the features and comfort of an indoor armchair at bar height. The base of each swiveling chair has a footrest that is guarded with a protective cover. Cushions included with this set are plush and thick, with quality upholstery-like construction, edged with piping.
Covered in Sunbrella fabric, the cushions are also stuffed with the exclusive WeatherGuard fill that is water and mildew resistant. The two-seat set is ideal for spending time as a couple or relaxing with a friend in outdoor luxury. Tommy Bahama Outdoor Living products carry three-year warranties on all-weather woven wicker materials against defects in materials and workmanship. Finishes are also covered against peeling, cracking or blistering for three years. The Weatherstone tabletops have a one-year warranty.
Bar height sets are definitely very popular for outdoor spaces, but some people still prefer to be seated at a traditional table height. Fortunately, it’s possible to get the same bar-set vibe in a lower profile with the Darlee Florence 3 Piece Cast Aluminum Patio Bistro Set With Swivel Rockers. The bistro set for two is still ideal for spaces large and small. Both the 21-inch table and the chairs are made from Darlee’s signature rust-resistant cast aluminum and antique bronze powder coating finish. In fact, the powder coating is more durable than regular painted surfaces and neither the coating nor the frame will weather over time.
The compact table features an intricate medallion design that allows rain to run through, preventing puddles. The chairs have a classic Florentine flair thanks to the baroque swirls on the backrest. Best of all, the chairs rock as well as swivel, meaning you can spend hours chatting and rocking in the nice weather. Sesame-colored polyester cushions are moisture-resistant and durable. Buyers love the quality and durability of this bistro set, which will last for many seasons of fun and relaxation. A generous five-year residential warranty covers the furniture frame and the powder coat finish is backed by a three-year warranty. Even the polyester fabric cushions are warranted for one year, except for any fading due to chemicals or neglect.
10. Nautical 5 Piece Slate Gray Recycled Plastic Wood Patio Bar Set W/ 42 Inch Square Table By POLYWOOD
If easy care is a top priority for your outdoor furniture, the Polywood Nautical 5 Piece Slate Gray Recycled Plastic Wood Patio Bar Set W/ 42 Inch Square Table is the set you’ll want for your backyard or deck. The styling and slate gray color evoke a casual seaside atmosphere that will make any space more relaxing. The bar-height set is made from Polywood, which stands up to all the elements that Mother Nature sends its way: summer’s hot sun, heavy winds and snowy winters. Fade-resistant Polywood is a plastic lumber USA-made from recycled consumer plastics. It looks just like real wood but doesn’t require any special maintenance and is easy to clean, meaning you can spend your time grilling and having fun instead of keeping up your furniture: no painting, staining or waterproofing needed.
The square bar table is a generous size and the slatted constructions lets water run right through. It also has a central hold if you want to add an umbrella to the mix. The chairs have the same slatted style, a slightly angled back for extra comfort and a sturdy footrest.
Everything about this set adds up to a long-lasting, comfortable and maintenance-free design that’s the perfect addition to any outdoor living space. Polywood furniture carries a 20-year residential warranty covering material defects and that it will not splinter, crack, chip, peel, rot, or suffer structural damage from insect infestation. Workmanship defects are under warranty for the first 30 days after purchase.