All of my built to last Tiki Bars are constructed starting with solid wood framing that is fully sealed with multiple coats of exterior solid body stain. The shelving is an exterior rated plywood that is also coated with exterior stain, plus it is top coated with clear acrylic for maximum scuff resistance and color retention. Unless otherwise special requested, the rustic cabinet doors are finished with either stain, shellac, or metallic enamel, then top coated with either oil based spar or poly urethane, whichever is most appropriate for your bar location (light color metallic finishes are top coated with water-based spar to avoid darkening of the color). On bars up to 4' wide, the bar tops are removable, so the bar will fit through a doorway of 33" minimum width. Natural wood finish bar tops are a hardwood plywood (typically birch or poplar for the grain character) and typically have a French Polish amber shellac finish that adds depth and a prism like effect to the knots and grain pattern. They are then top coated with multiple coats of either floor rated polyurethane or marine spar urethane depending on the amount of direct UV rays it is expected to receive. Metallic finishes are enamel that is either top coated with poly or spar for darker colors where the slight ambering of the oil base in the urethane doesn't affect the color (typically copper, gold, or bronze). Lighter colors, like silver and stainless, have water based urethane. The undersides are sealed with exterior solid body stain. All can also be top coated with bar and tabletop epoxy upon request at an additional cost). Granite appearance finishes and exotic stone epoxy resin tops are also available upon request. For custom built bars you may also request alternate top materials, finishes, and styles. Stemming from a collaboration with Tiki Nautica in Tarpon Springs, FL., to go on their tiki cruise boats that operate in the Gulf of Mexico, I also now offer a tiki bar that is made 100% out of PVC. More info regarding this bar option can be found at the bottom of the Tiki Sized page.
While natural bamboo is an option for the narrower 1" cladding that covers the bulk of the front and side bar faces, for purposes of straightness, a lifetime of no splitting or warping, durability, and the ability to not loosen and become wobbly after many thermal expansion and contraction cycles, the 3" whole log legs, 1.5" and 2" upper and bottom trim pieces, and the shaped, curved pieces on round bars are made from my handcrafted PVC bamboo. As natural bamboo also doesn't grow with orderly growth node rings, all bars with rings spaced in a pattern, by necessity, must be made using faux bamboo. A brief discussion of natural and faux bamboo is below.
I offer the option of having the bar clad with natural bamboo for those who like the bends, lumps, bumps, and extra character of real bamboo. I split the bamboo in half to deter future splitting, although future splitting on some pieces may still occur, depending on the amount of direct UV exposure it receives. It may also tend to gray over time from weather exposure, especially direct UV. For maximum durability and color retention, (unless otherwise requested because you want it to naturally fade to a weathered gray appearance), I finish it with an acrylic deck stain + 2 coats of traditional amber shellac and 2 coats of marine spar urethane. Because of bamboo's natural crookedness, I also stain the plywood behind it a matching color for a non-eye-catching flow. Since it is less expensive due to the reduced labor time compared to making the PVC bamboo, there is a discount offered for bars made using this option. For a visual aid, the bar below has natural bamboo for the narrow 1" wide vertical cladding on the face of the bar, and it has PVC bamboo for the 2" trim under the bar top, the 2" corner leg posts, 2"bottom trim, and on the footrail.
I knew it was durable, but even I was amazed when on April 6, 2022 a freak, baseball size, hail event occurred in the lovely town of Avon Park. I was preparing a Hollywood Tiki for delivery. Thankfully I hadn't brought out the bar top and attached it yet, but the finished frame portion of the bar was outside, with the footrail attached, and front facing the 40mph storm wind direction. In the aftermath, the town looked like a war zone, dented to bupkus, smashed windshield vehicles everywhere, and one Hollywood Tiki Bar without a scratch on its PVC bamboo. A little more expensive because of the added material cost and the extra time to make it, but if you want "bamboo" that won't split, warp or gray, and can handle even a party that gets out of hand, it's the way to go. As you can see from the photo above, it's indistinguishable from the natural bamboo. I can add as many or few "beauty marks" before finishing as you'd like, depending on the amount of character you prefer. If it does take a thwack from a sharp object and get a ding, simply touch it up with a brown marker and no one will be the wiser.
Depending on the amount of mobility you desire, surface that the bar will be placed on, or if you'd like the bar actually standing on the legs, I have options available. If you opt to have the bar stand on the legs, I ship the bar with temporary medium duty wheels that slip inside the legs for transport and positioning the bar, then can be slipped out once the bar is positioned. If the time comes when you want to move it again you can put them back in. Ideally, with this option, the surface the bar will be located on should be level to ensure that all of the legs rest on the ground. However, you could also shim any legs that weren't fully resting on the ground.
If you'd like the patio bar to be easily moved, and it will be located on an even surface, the 2" heavy duty wheels with locking levers are the best option and provide the most ease of use, as you can just simply engage or disengage the locking levers as needed.
If you'd like mobility, but the bar will be located on a surface that might be less than perfectly level, like patio pavers or a deck, the heavy-duty wheels with leveling legs is the best option. These are a little more difficult to use then the locking levers, as they require getting down and wrenching each foot leg down when positioned and up again when you want to move it, but they provide rock solid stability and even weight distribution to the frame on uneven surfaces.
Hopefully the visual aid below will help clarify this for you. The top left photo is a side by side of locking lever and leveling leg wheels. Top right is the temporary/removable leg insert wheels on a Cooler Tiki bar designed to stand on the legs when in use. Center is permanent leveling leg wheels mounted inside the legs of the V 40 model. Bottom is locking lever wheels mounted to the bottom of the frame of a Hollywood Tiki bar.
Do you want to have it made in the shade with all the tropical ambiance of the thatch look, but don't have the space or desire for a tiki hut? I offer the option of installing an umbrella ring with cap onto the bar top and a mounting bracket inside the bar, so you can kick back and enjoy some tiki time under the patio umbrella or palapa of your choice.
Even though all my bars are fully sealed, and all bamboo and bar tops are top coated with multiple coats of marine spar urethane, epoxy resin or other exterior clear coat, there is no exterior finish that will not eventually fade and degrade from constant UV and weather exposure. If your bar is will be located outside and not under a tiki hut, pergola, or awning of some kind, it is HIGHLY recommended that, for the long-term stability, vibrancy and color retention of the finishes, the bar should be covered when not in use. Preferably with a marine vinyl or equivalent outdoor fabric cover. Below are pictures of a Cooler Tiki with a custom-made cover on it that I purchased for about $180. (The fold wrinkles flatten out in a while). Contact me if this is something you would like more info about.