I have been in the market recently for a decent canopy and new table in an effort to improve my tailgating experience. The football in Denver might not be what it should be, but the parking lot is as good as it has ever been. Seriously, I would put our fan’s tailgating setups and hospitality up against anyone in the league’s. My good friend, and co-owner, Lee asked if I had seen one of the new ads that came up on our site. Of course, I hadn’t (sorry ad folks) because I rarely look at them but I am VERY happy that I clicked on this one.
The ad was for the Best of Times Bar, who happen to be a partner with the folks that we partner with for ads….so it’s family, yay! I noticed that they offer a free trial for the setup, so I shot them an email asking if I could be fortunate enough to get one in order to review. Thanks to Alex, I had my setup here in less than a full week, complete with a Denver Broncos wrap. The timing was perfect, because it was just in time for the Broncos and Chargers game this past weekend. The Best of Times Bar is basically a portable bar. Read that again boys and girls…A PORTABLE %$#*&@# BAR! The company touts being able to quickly assemble this bad boy in minutes and be on your way to making everyone in the parking lot drool. They are correct on both counts, but I will get to those later.
The setup is available in a few different packages. You can design your order to include the bar stools (do it) as well as a grill stand. In addition to the different wraps that they offer, you can get any of the 32 NFL teams, several NCAA teams, a NASCAR wrap for Dale Earnhardt Jr. or you can have a wrap custom made. But wait…there’s more! You can split the cost of the setup into payments to make it even more affordable! I was absolutely drooling when I saw the pictures, and felt like a kid on Christmas when I got to put this thing together. Upon receiving my setup, I couldn’t unbox it fast enough. I decided to set it up in my backyard for a trial run and really get a feel for how it works and see if it’s as easy as it seems. Who am I kidding…I set it up because I am a 37 year old child. But I digress, it’s exactly what it’s cracked up to be. I had it unboxed in a matter of 10 – 15 minutes and set up in about 5 – 10 minutes. Truthfully, I was going back and forth from directions to material so I could have cut the time down but it was still very fast. Here are some pictures from the initial set up using the default tan wrap they sent along with the Denver Broncos wrap.
After I had it set up, I decided to see how quickly I could swap out looks. If it took me 5 minutes to change everything out, I would be shocked. I completely transformed a bar that looked like it would be ideal for a patio BBQ or pool party into a full-fledged Denver Broncos tailgating center of glory. The umbrella, bar, grill stand and chairs were all completely different, and ended up looking like this:
The next step, and possibly just as important as setup, was the break down time. Sometimes mother nature won’t play nice, so being able to break down and pack up quickly is a bonus. Not to mention, you really maximize your tailgating time with not having to worry about setup and breakdown times. I was able to break it down and pack up the set in less than 5 minutes easily.
And now, for some of the details, the nitty gritty if you will. The bar was surprisingly solid. When I say that, I don’t mean that I was expecting some piece of cheaply constructed crap but I was curious and maybe a little skeptical with the quality of something portable like this. The folks from Best of Times Bar didn’t skimp on quality, I can say that with full confidence. The metal frames are extremely solid and well built. I was actually a little surprised at how heavy they are, and that is not a bad thing. The shelves and counter tops to both the bar and the grill table are made of material much like you would find on a lot of camping tables. It’s very sturdy, and light weight. There are notches for each piece to fit into the others as well as magnets to secure some pieces to the metal frame. On the bar counter tops and the grill table top there are locking levers that keep the counter tops attached to the frame. Such a small, but awesome addition that really lends to the engineering and design that went into this setup. I was also very pleased with the height of the bar. I am 6’3″ and it was just perfect for me but it’s also not so high that those who are not as tall as I am can do just fine with it.
The wraps are also extremely durable, and seem like they will do very well over time and through the elements. They fasten to the frame and grill table with velcro on the sides, top and bottom. I was also very impressed with the construction of the umbrella. It comes in 2 pieces and is extremely sturdy and well built. The umbrella locks in the open position and has a pin to keep it from closing unexpectedly. I also did not notice at any point that it was wobbling or causing any sort of imbalance with the bar itself. I say that with confidence as we really leaned on, ate on, drank on and used the bar for all it was worth at the game. Speaking of stability, the bar itself has feet that pull out to add more stability. The bar stools are also very well built. They are rated for 200 lbs but I can assure you, they work fine for people that weigh more than that. I am around 225, and I felt very comfortable on them. They are made of metal with a comfortable seat top and they also feature a locking pin so that they won’t collapse when they are open. The bar also includes a cooler which fits nicely into a shelf. You can zip it up, and it has an insert that keeps the sides stable and upright. We used the cooler and I have no complaints so far, it did it’s job and is made from very nice material both inside and out which seems very durable. We did use a grill on the grill table and I was pleased with the height of it. In other words, I wasn’t leaning over to cook (maybe some of you would like that…this isn’t that kinda’ party) and it also wasn’t so high that I would feel uncomfortable putting a hot grill on there. It is very stable, which is obviously a key for something you will put a grill on. It’s also built so that you could easily fit a propane tank inside or use it to store other things. I should make some reference points as well in terms of how much room it takes up broken down and all set up. I have a Nissan Xterra which isn’t a real large SUV, and I got all of this in the back and was able to get the rest of my tailgating needs in just fine. There is a travel bag with wheels available that really enhances the storage and portability of this setup as well. When fully set up, it is designed to take up no more than a parking stall and it worked out perfectly for us.
I was surprised at how many comments I had about the setup, it was clearly something that was different and drew people in to talk about it. I am keeping names out of this to protect the innocent but these are actual quotes from people this weekend:
“Wow man, you $%^&#$# win!”
“My God, is that a bar? You have a bar, with Broncos stuff on it? I want one!”
I heard at least 5 of these: “Wow, that is awesome!”
“That would be awesome at home!” (after I let them know you can get non-sports wraps for just such a thing) “Oh man, my wife is going to hate me”
No she won’t brother, well…maybe, but your friends will love you.
So, enough of my yakking, here are a few pros and cons along with my rating and a video I put together showing the basic setup of the bar.
- Very fast setup and breakdown
- Shelf space and counter top area
- Solid construction, very stable
- Durable material on the wraps, stools and cooler
- Comfortable and sturdy stools
- The surfaces are a little slick (more on that in a second)
- Room for some accessories (again, keep reading)
If you are in the market for a new setup, or just want to be the hit at any tailgate you go to…this is a must have. I haven’t even had the pleasure of using it for a BBQ at home yet but I know that will be a hit also, it’s just that slick of a product. I wanted something functional, and had no idea I would end up with something functional that had such a “wow” factor to it that people would ask where I got it. Depending on the setup you get, they could cost as much as just under $400 plus shipping and handling. It seems expensive, but if you break that up into 8 payments, it’s very affordable for any budget. Well worth the money in my opinion.
In the end, I give The Best of Times Bar a 5 out of 5
Check out their website at http://www.bestoftimesbar.com
Also be sure to follow them on Twitter @BestOfTimesBar