How Much Does A Cocktail Pool Cost?

cocktail pool in backyard next to patio and small turf putting green

The pool of your dreams is not always a grand infinity edge on a mountaintop.  Even if it is, sometimes it’s not practical even when you have the view to support it. The best pools are the ones you will use regularly.  If you have looked into pools for a while you probably have heard about the cocktail pool concept.  So what is a cocktail pool, and how much does a cocktail pool cost?

How Much Does A Cocktail Pool Cost?

All in you should expect somewhere in the $100,000 to $250,000 range for a reasonably nice cocktail pool with patio space.  The large range is due to the fact that you can’t simply price a pool based on size. There are plenty of other cost factors that will skew the price you pay for your cocktail pool.

Cocktail Pool Cost Factors

  • Size
  • Amount of bench space
  • Plaster, tile, coping selections
  • Amount of patio space
  • Geography of pool
  • Water feature

Building in benches around the perimeter of the swimming area adds to the cocktail pool cost. As does raising up the cocktail pool itself to improve conversation and aesthetics. The finishes and the patio surface are going to impact the cost of the pool beyond minor size changes one way or another.  Additionally, just like building a home, there are huge geographical differences in construction costs. This means that in some places it maybe less expensive than the range above, but in others the higher end may be closer to the starting point.

What Is A Cocktail Pool?

A cocktail pool can mean different things to different people, so keep in mind this definition is my opinion based on 20 years as a pool designer.  A cocktail pool is a small swimming pool that is not too deep and has plenty of seating around the perimeter.  There should be defined and easy to use conversation areas where you’re not too far away from the person you want to talk to, but not too close to be uncomfortable.  In a cocktail pool you should be able to stand up throughout it while holding a drink comfortably.  This means you really ought not to be much deeper than 4’ anywhere in the pool.

The typical cocktail pool will be roughly between 15’ and 25’ in length and 10’ and 15’ in width.  They would be considered small pools.  Cocktail pool costs start on the lower end of the general pool price ranges you get from builders.  However, just because the pool is small doesn’t mean you won’t quickly spend money building in the features you want.

cocktail pool cost display in small backyard with large patio space

Cocktail Pool Design Ideas

Additionally, you may consider raising the whole pool up out of the ground 18” – 24” or so to give you a better conversation level with people sitting on the patio around the pool.  By raising the pool up it’ll make the cocktail pool cost more since you’ll need to finish the exterior of the pool structure, but by raising up the pool you bring those seated on pool benches closer to those sitting in chairs on the pool deck, allowing for conversations and integration between those swimming and those dry on the patio.

Keep in mind when designing your cocktail pool that you may have some slightly inebriated people exiting and entering the pool.  It’s a good idea to have lower riser heights than normal in a cocktail pool if space allows. This means adding more steps than your typical pool, and possibly a handrail if you can work it into your design.  For reference, riser heights on pool stairs are often 12” high, where the typical staircase in your house is closer to a 7” riser.  Building your pool stairs closer to what you’d expect in the house will be safer for your guests.

cocktail pool cost display in tiny shaded backyard with wooden fence

Like any pool, you will want a good heating system. Depending on where you live, possibly consider a cooling system.  You should think about sound and how you’ll get music into the pool area.  You will want to consider disinfection and how you can make the water pleasant to swim in at all times.  You’ll need to factor in how to light the pool for safety and enjoyment, avoiding unnecessary glare and shadow areas.  You’ll need to decide whether a water feature is right for your cocktail pool, and what the noise level will be.  All these features add to a cocktail pool cost.

Cocktail Pool Cost Summary

A cocktail pool cost will tally anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000. This cost is dramatically affected by the features and finishes you select. Another big factor is the geographical area that you’re in. The average cost of an inground pool can vary by $75,000 depending on what region of the country you reside. Cocktail pools are usually smaller than normal inground pools, but that does not necessarily mean their cost is lower.