Being a tiki bar owner now for over 5 years I have learned things that I wish could have done and things that I would never do again. I would like to share with you my Opossum Poop and improvements to my tiki bar.
First I want to discuss a few things that I learned building my own outside bar. Outside, need I say more! The weather conditions in your area will determine the best way to construct your bar. Here are ideas you need to pay attention to if you are building an outside tiki bar.
Your Climate- If you live in an area which has warm summers and cold winters, then you’ll encounter the very same obstacles that I came against. Be certain you use treated wood for any surface that comes in contact with the ground. If you do not follow this rule then your tiki bar will soon shrink and crack. That’s the reason you have to use treated lumber; it shrinks less and will last much longer. Anytime you have wood that’s exposed to the weather you need to pay close attention to the sort of wood you use and proper treating of the wood after it’s installed.
Insects- I used white cedar logs for the construction of my roof construction because cedar is supposed to be less vulnerable to insect damage. Okay, throw that out the window, I went for three years with no insect problems until last year. I noticed wood dust and small chips lying on my bar . I thought it was coming out of thatch breaking or falling apart but to my surprise I had carpenter bees! After inspecting my white cedar logs I discovered holes around 3/8 inch bored in a few of my logs. I knew I needed to address this situation immediately and after doing some research I called an exterminator. A carpenter bee appears almost identical to a common bumble bee except no hair on abdomen and the men can’t sting. They love natural cedar! May sure you employ either wood preservative or a great Valspar varnish to your logs.
Bar Top- There are several diverse opinions about what to use on your bar top. It’s advised that you use marine plywood for the bar top, and for good reason. I used the next best thing I believed, oak plywood. The walnut plywood was fine for the first couple of years, applying about ten coats of marine varnish. This would be fine except the edges of the plywood are extremely tricky to seal. To solve my problem I applied glass tile into my tiki bar top using waterproof glue and grout. The marine plywood is extremely expensive but well worth the cost.
Palm Thatch- The life of your roof on the tiki bar will definitely be dependent on your weather. You can figure on replacing your thatch palms at least every 2 years. The only way which you can eliminate this problem is to buy high quality commercial synthetic thatch. The popularity of outdoor restaurants with tiki thatch roofs has developed a demand for this synthetic thatch. I just re-thatched my pub with sealed thatch that will provide you an additional two years of additional life.
Securing Your Bar- One thing I would like to mention here, is anchoring your bar down is a must item. I am fortunate enough that my pub is sitting on a concrete apron around my pool area. I used drop in concrete anchors to stop my pub from blowing over in high winds.