Tiki Bar in Your Backyard

This instructable shows how I made my backyard tiki bar. This is an updated version of the bar with many new features.

This build was extremely spontaneous and unplanned, and I did not decide on turning it in to an intsructable until about half way through the process. I made a lot of mistakes so hopefully you don't make the same. I attempted to do it for as cheap as possible and it ended up being around $1,500-$2000 CAD. Feel free to leave questions and suggestions.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


For this project I used a mitre saw, a drill, a tape measure, a pencil, a level, and a hand/hack saw. Some other useful (but not mandatory) tools include a ladder, a bandsaw, and clamps.


Almost all of the materials used were purchased from Home Depot.

Lots of screws ranging from 1/2 inch to 2&1/2 inches in length

14 2x4x8's

1 2x2x8

4 4x4x8's

8 1x6x8's

7 1x2x8's

1 1x6x10

12 1x6x6

scrap 2/4's for angular supports (approx 10 ft in length)

lots of 90degree brackets for securing 2x4's

Brackets for holding floor supports

Stain and Clear Gloss finish

3/4x4x8 sheet of finished plywood


I purchased the bamboo fencing and the thatch for the roof from a bamboo specialty store

** I used regular wood but I would highly recommend spending the extra money and using pressure treated (especially for the inner and outer decks) and using something for waterproofing

Step 2: The Frame

I hadn't planned on making an instructable when I first started this project, so there are few photos of this step, however it is fairly straight forward.

I wanted my bar to be an 8foot x 8foot square from end to end. I stared by building each of the 4 sides flat on the ground. Each of the 4x4's are connected at the top by a single 2x4 (of length 7 feet 5 inches to account for each 4x4) and at the bottom by 2 2x4's on top of each other (as shown in the picture). On the two sides where I planned to have the bar I screwed in a 2x4 at 45 inches high. I also attached the supports I made for the roof at this point, so that I wouldn't have to do it while it was high up. I used the 2x2's to create a triangle shape and screwed it into the top of the 4x4's as shown. I did this for the 2 sides where i planned to have the bar. I then got my brother and father to help me hold up the frame while I drilled it all together

Step 3: Angle Supports

I did this step after I assembled the square upright. I strongly recommend doing this step BEFORE you assemble the square as it provides much more support and will make your job much easier. For this step, the mitre saw was used to cut 45 degree angles on 2x4's of various lengths in order to provide lateral support for the frame and for the counters. The pictures do a fairly good visual explanation. This part is key to a sturdy structure.

Step 4: Roof

This step can be done at any point in the build, and may even be best to do last.

I purchased a 20 foot roll of thatch for around $100 from a specialty bamboo store. Do not cut corners with the roof as it can make or break the appearance of the bar.

I draped the thatch around the triangles I had cut for it to rest on and hung it in place with screws along the 2x4's. It sagged too much so I had to purchase 4 1x2x8's and attach them to the triangles for support as shown. After about a year (and a harsh winter) these started to bend heavily so I unscrewed them and re-drilled them in on the other side.

I cut a a piece of old awning canvas to 16'x8' and draped it over the top and one side of the bar. I used some extra 2x2's to support the middle of it. This made the inside feel much more protected and useable, I highly recommend doing this.

Step 5:

I made many mistakes when it came to the bamboo I wanted to line the outside of the bar with.

In the photos, it shows the deck in place before the bamboo was put in place. DO NOT DO THIS. I originally purchased a ton of individual sticks of bamboo and tried to insert them in between two pieces of wood to create a wall. This looked terrible. I ended up going to a specialty bamboo fencing store and buying an 8 foot by 8 foot bamboo fence that was made of thick bamboo and already strung together by wires. I then cut it in half with a circular saw to make two separate 4 foot by 8 foot pieces, perfect for either side of the bar. This was by far the most expensive part, costing me $200, but it was definitely worth it as it makes the bar look authentic. I used a 1x2x8 across the top, to hold the bamboo in place.

Step 6: Outer Deck

Unfortunately I do not have any build photos of the deck wrapped around both sides, but if you look at the photos of the finished product you will be able to see it.

The deck is simply 1x8x6's on top of vertical 2x4's cut to fit underneath. I screwed the deck into the 2x4's to keep it down (I recommend using nails to cut costs), and the front of it was covered with a 1x2x8. The 2x4's underneath were held in place using angled screws and angle brackets. I made the mistake of using regular wood because it was cheaper but I highly recommend using pressure treated wood and spacing the boards about a 1/8th of an inch to allow them to expand and contract. The inner board of the deck holds the bottom of the bamboo in place. The deck can be stained, however I decided to leave it and just cover it with one coat of the waterproofing lacquer used for the counter.

Step 7: Inner Deck

I made the mistake of not taking photos of this step, so I will do my best to explain.

All of the grass inside the bar died after being up for a year so I wanted to do something to cover up the mud. I got 3 8foot 2x4's and cut them so they fit between the bottom supports. I purchased some 2x4 brackets and fastened them to the inside of the bottom supports and then stuck the 2x4's in them so they went from one side to the other. This gave support for the deck. After the supports were in I laid the pressure treated 1x6x6's and screwed them in. I made sure to leave space between each board to allow for expansion. This upgrade really added to the bar and I highly recommend it.

Step 8: Bar Counter Structure

Here's where I really struggled. The counter looked great after I built it, but after sitting out all winter the whole thing cracked and separated and got destroyed. I spent hours gluing it back together and ended up buying new wood, staining it and waterproofing it, and creating inserts so that it sits on top of the old counter. Now when I'm done I take the tops off and store them so they stay in good shape.

I would recommend using a waterproofing substance for the wood and then using a pourable resin for the top so that it maintains rigidity (although this may get pricey). Here's how I made the original counter: For the counter I use a piece of 3/4 inch sanded plywood. The piece was cut in to two 2x8 feet pieces for each side of the bar. I used a hand saw to make cutouts for the 4x4's so I could slip it in to place. The counter hangs 8 inches over the edge which was taken into account when making the cutouts. One of the pieces was cut down to 90 inches to accommodate for the other piece. The counter was then screwed in place with a few screws and supported underneath with brackets and angled 2x4's as shown.

Step 9: Bar Counter Finish

Doing the counter this way left some un-pleasing seams and cuts. The seams were filled using wood epoxy which dried and filled the seam and didn't end up looking too bad.

The counter was then lightly sanded, wiped down, and stained with a regular indoor stain. After the stain had dried, multiple coats of a protective, clear, glossy coat were applied to make it feel and look morel like a counter, as well as weather proof it. **I would recommend using a pourable resin and waterproofing substance as stated in the previous step Smaller pieces of bamboo were drilled onto the edges of the table to create a "trim" and rope was wrapped around the 4x4's to hide the cutouts.

Step 10: Shelves

To cover up the gap left by the shortened counter top, a 1x6x10 was stained, lacquered, and inserted in to place at the same height as the counter along one of the back sides. This was supported on the other side by a recycled piece of angled 2x4 and in the middle using the same.

3 more 1x6x8's were stained and lacquered and inserted below the same way for more shelves. The canvas (not pictured) now goes up against the shelves and it looks great!

Step 11: Inner Counter

I needed somewhere to store stuff and somewhere to actually make drinks!

I used an old piece of plywood I had and reinforced it with a 2x4 going across the bottom. This left a gap underneath so I could still store things under the counter. I had to make cutouts where some support was for the main counter, and I ended up adding some angular supports under the counter so that I could stand on it if needed. I used some extra 1x6's to hide the supports and close off the side. I would recommend using nicer wood than I did as the cheap, unfinished plywood has become dirty and a home for bugs.

Step 12: Decorate

All thats left to do is decorate with Christmas lights, tiki torches, and other fun stuff. One of my buddies even made me a cool sign.

I would recommend spending the extra few dollars when it comes to building something like this as it pays out in the long run. I've had to spend hundreds of dollars replacing stuff I cheaped out on in the first place. This was a lot of fun to build and is a huge crowd pleaser. I hope I inspire/help at least one other person with this post, and feel free to ask any questions. Thanks!



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