Building a Tiki Bar

Written by trish jackson
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Building a Tiki Bar
A tiki bar creates Pacific Island ambience. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

A tiki bar is a popular entertainment feature. Although they are usually located in the backyard beside the pool, they can also be found on a patio or even inside your home. Tiki bar designs differ but they usually feature a thatched palm leaf roof and Pacific Island-type decor. A tiki bar may be a permanent pole shelter outside or a prefabricated bar counter and shelves with a set of bar stools which can be moved around and set up outdoors or in any room in your home.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Apply for a building permit if there are to be structural changes to your home or a new permanent building in your yard. Your local city or county planning and zoning department will tell you what kind of structures are allowed in your neighbourhood and assist you with your application and building codes. Failure to obtain a permit may result in a fine. You should not require a permit for a free-standing movable tiki bar.

  2. 2

    Draw your design and purchase the materials. Decide on the dimensions, the materials and flooring. The upright posts and cross beams will look more authentic if you use rustic or bamboo poles, and the roof should be covered with palm leaves both of which are available at tiki bar retailers. If you prefer, use treated 4-by-4 lumber posts and 2-by-4 beams. The roof can be made from metal or fibreglass sheets to keep out the elements with a thatch covering. The bar can stand on your existing pool deck or patio floor or you can pour a concrete floor, or just opt for an earth floor.

  3. 3

    Auger or dig corner post holes to your local building code approved depth. Wedge the posts into them using braces made from scrap wood to get them exactly plumb and square. Use a carpenter's level to assure the position. Pour concrete into the holes and allow to dry for 48 hours. If you planned a concrete floor, you may also want to throw it at this time. Set up the forms and fill them with scrap metal or rebar first. If you are building a prefabricated free-standing tiki bar omit this step.

  4. 4

    Build the bar counter. It will support the upright posts in a free-standing tiki bar. A square bar around the perimeter of your building will allow for the most seating, but a prefabricated bar is usually rectangular and smaller with seating at the front to make it easy to move around. Bamboo is commonly used for tiki bar counters but you can use lumber or even have a wooden counter with metal or fibreglass roofing on the sides.

  5. 5

    Saw off and shorten the top of the rear posts so the rain will run off at the back of an outdoor structure. Bolt the horizontal beams to the top of the upright posts. Add the rafters across the beams. Install your roof and secure it. Overlay with thatched palm leaves. They may come with instructions when you purchase them or you can just lay them in your own design. The thatching on tiki bars is not typically perfect.

  6. 6

    Paint the wood with weatherproof varnish or polyurethane, add island style rustic stools and decorate with tropical plants and tiki torches - but keep them away from the thatched palm leaves.

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