Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt built the first tiki bar in 1934 with a beach theme that included starfish, shells and nets. It was named Donn the Beachcomber Restaurant and gained popularity and fame quickly for its casual and fun atmosphere. "Tiki" is a term used to describe a joining of the American and Polynesian cultures to create a distinct appearance.
The construction of tiki bars includes a bamboo structure and a large variety of decorations that adorn the walls. Anything you can find on an island while beachcombing for items that washed ashore is the genre. The bar area is small, and there are bamboo bar stools for the patrons. The hut traditionally has a thatched roof for protection from the elements and may have bistro tables made of bamboo.
A tiki bar can have different foundations according to your taste. When you build your own tiki bar in the backyard, you can build it on a sand base to give the feel of a tropical island. Or, you may want to build the covered hut on a wooden base surrounded by sand for more stability and strength with extra seating available. You can either make your own design or order a kit to assemble your tiki bar quickly.
The thatched roof over a tiki bar lends itself to parties and gatherings while protecting you from the elements, so it can be enjoyed year-round. The bar items such as as liquor, mixers and glasses can remain in the bar area in the storage sections. Tiki torches also give a comfortable glow at night for visibility, and you can add citronella oil to them for defense against nighttime insects.
You can design your backyard tiki bar in any way you like and decorate it with carved masks, surfboards, seashells and fishing nets along with anchors and driftwood. Determine the size you want by the amount of space you would like to dedicate to your project. For ideas, you can visit tikibarplans.com/plans.html for plans to get you started on your island getaway at home. If you would rather buy a kit and assemble it at home, you can find many at online locations including tropicalgardeningfurniture.com.