Tiki Bar

How does sipping a yummy tropical cocktail in your own exotic paradise bar lit by bamboo lamps while watching the sun go down sound? Pretty good? Well you might find it difficult to take an immediate vacation to the South Pacific whenever you feel like it, but it is possible to have the next best thing on hand - a tiki bar.

Tiki bars were first popularized as a celebration of the laid back and friendly Polynesian lifestyle. Something which is pretty appealing in our hectic times. There's no need to live on a beach or have a huge pool to own one either. If you have a bit of space in a backyard or a patio, a tiki bar is an ideal way to capture a bit of outdoor or resort living without having to travel.

What is a Tiki Bar?

One word sums it up - tropical. The bar itself is made from wood and thatch and decorated with things like native masks and carvings, tropical fabrics, torches, bamboo, plants, palm tree references and anything else that gives a South Pacific theme. If you have the space and the ambition, you can have features like indoor fountains, waterfalls or even co-opt a pool as a lagoon, though you can still build a great bar in even a small space. If you don't have space outside, it's quite simple to build one inside like any other home bar design.

TTraditionally tiki bars are the home of sophisticated cocktails, often based on rum like the mai tai or the zombie. Many have their own house speciality drinks, with carefully guarded recipes. If rum and cocktails are not your thing though, fear not, you can still build a tiki bar for ambiance and stick to your favorite tipple.

Sounds like it might be complicated and expensive?

No! If you don't fancy DIY, then Amazon has some pretty reasonably priced bars for sale (see the widget on the right).

However, if you can do a little bit of DIY, tiki bars are pretty easy to put up and there are plenty of designs available. One of the best known tiki bar experts is Tiki Kev whose signature bars have been installed throughout the US. Kev has recently written a step by step guide which shows how to build a $5,000 bar for a fraction of the cost by doing it yourself. The guide even includes email and phone access to Tiki Kev if you want to ask questions or tailor your bar to your liking. Kev's website has more information about his book and some examples of what people have built using it (and their thoughts about the guide). If you want to check it out (which I'd recommend you do) you can find it here.