How to Build an Outdoor Tiki Bar
Who doesn’t love the thought of an island vacation? The sound of crashing waves, drinks with those cute little umbrellas, and of course, a Tiki Bar. But even if a tropical island vacation is beyond your budget, you can still enjoy that tropical feel by building your own Tiki Bar.
Here is a basic step-by-step plan for a simple lean-to type bar:
Step 1: Assemble the Base
Because this Tiki Bar is a lean-to, you’ll want to choose a location adjacent to another building.
Dig a rectangular area approximately eight by six feet and three inches deep, and then fill with two inches of pea gravel to level.
Use four treated 4x4s to construct an eight by six-foot frame, making sure it’s square. Beginning in the center, attach five 2x4s at 16-inch intervals to the frame, using three-inch deck screws. Check for level and square.
Secure twelve 1” x 6” x 8’ treated deck boards to the frame with 1¾-inch deck screws. Be sure to leave about a quarter-inch gap between the boards to allow for drainage. If you plan to stain or paint the floor, you’ll want to do that at this point.
Step 2: Frame the Walls
Use three 4x4s fastened together with corner brackets and lag bolts for each of the back and front wall frames. The height of the walls will be determined by the pitch you want on your roof. Your front wall should be shorter than your back wall.
Enlist a helper to raise the walls and toenail the 4x4s in place at the corners of the floor using three-inch deck screws. Attach the back wall to the building.
Add a fifth 4” x 4” x 42” post to one of the sides, and toenail it into the floor with three-inch deck screws like you did with the corner posts so it will be 24 inches out from the corner. This will support the bar and create an opening so you can go in and out once you close in the sides.
Join the front and back walls at the top on each side, using a 2×4 secured to the outside with a bracket and lag bolts.
Step 3: Construct the Rafters
You’ll need seven 2” x 4” x 9’ boards for the rafters. Cut a bird’s mouth notch in each board so that it will rest securely on the front wall frame. You can attach the boards to the back wall frame with metal hangers.
Secure the rafters to the wall frames at 16-inch intervals, beginning in the center.
Step 4: Build the Counter
Your counter should be approximately 42 inches, the standard height. Use 2x4s to frame in the counter, then create a base by attaching two 2x4s that are 24 inches apart across the vertical boards. For extra support, nail 42-inch vertical boards to the base at 32-inch intervals. Be sure to finish the interior of the counter to house any shelves or appliances you might want to include.
Finish the face of the bar with bamboo panels fastened to the frame using finishing nails.
Step 5: Raise the Roof
Staple heavy-duty plastic sheeting over the roof structure, then attach thatching to the rafters with heavy-duty staples, making sure to work from bottom to top and overlapping as you go. Trim any excess.
Step 6: Mount the Countertop
Cut a piece of 4’ x 8’ x ½” plywood in half so you have a 2’ x 8’ length for the countertop. Stain and seal the board, and then install it on top of the counter frame. You can edge the bar with a piece of split bamboo for a themed gutter and a finished look.
You can also tile the countertop if you prefer a more durable surface.
TIP: To make the job easier and faster, you may want to rent equipment to help move lumber and heavy materials. Just remember: Power equipment is responsible for 34,000 serious injuries each year, so make sure you have proper training before using it.
Once your bar is complete, it’s time to give it a tropical feel. Add details such as fishnets, seashells or colorful lanterns. Stock it with a blender and the fixings for your favorite fruity, frozen drinks — and make sure you don’t forget the little umbrellas.
By: Megan Wild
About the Author: Megan Wild is a home improvement author who is gearing up her yard for the summer. When she’s not fixing up an old item for her home, you can find her tweeting design inspiration on Twitter.