How To Build an Outdoor Bar: Making Your Own Tiki Bar on a Budget

how to build an outdoor bar

An outdoor bar is a luxury that occupies many backyards all over the world.

Building your own might seem like a costly challenge. After paying for all of the lumber, nails, accessories, and additional tools you don’t have, you still have a whole journey ahead of you.

Surprisingly, building your own backyard tiki bar does not have to be expensive or hard. It is very possible to build your own fully-enclosed weatherproof tiki bar for under $500.

In this article, we’ll be going over 5 styles of outdoor bars. Each of them are unique in there own sense. I tried to pick an assortment of bars with different variations to hopefully accustom to your taste.

Today you will learn:

  • How much does it cost to build a bar?
  • 5 different outdoor bar plans
  • How to stock your outdoor bar


How much does it cost to build an outdoor bar?

The cost of an outdoor bar depends on many factors:

  • What materials/tools do you already have?
  • Are you building an enclosed bar or an out-in-the-open bar
  • What type of wood are you planning on using?

There’s a chance that you already have a lot of the materials and tools required to build a home bar. A lot of what you need can easily be found lying around the house.

Left over 2x4s and plywood always comes in handy. If you work with what you already have, there’s a chance you can build your dream bar for free!

If you already have a workshop with basic tools such as saws, hammers, and nails, you’re pretty much covered. You won’t be needing any special or expensive tools to build a bar.

An important decision you have to make is what material you are going to use for your outdoor bar.

Every type of wood has its own advantages and disadvantages. The bars on this list will use a variety of wood. I recommend further researching a type of wood that will suit both the climate you live in and your budget.


5 Different Outdoor Bar Plans:

Here are 5 of the best outdoor bar plans I could find on the web. I tried my best to pick bars of many different styles and prices. Nothing on here will be super expensive. I even have one bar that you can build for almost nothing if you can find a place to get free pallets.


outdoor bar 1

Bar #1 – The Basic Outdoor Bar

I love this bar for how simplistic it is.

If you are looking for a basic bar with a clean design, this one is definitely worth considering. It has multiple shelves for storage and is light enough to move anywhere.

A part that you’ll love about this bar is that it’s inexpensive. This build calls for untreated fence pickets which are both food-safe(no harsh chemicals that will leak into food) and rot-resistant.

This bar project is relatively simple to follow. The publisher did an amazing job at providing highly detailed photos and easy-to-follow plans with exact measurements.


tiki bar 1

Bar #2 – The “Indiana Jones” Themed Bar

Unlike the last bar we went over, this one is fully enclosed. This bar takes plans for a basic garden shed and converts them to an awesome-looking tiki bar.

Even if you aren’t a fan of Indiana Jones, this bar looks pretty sweet and will add a unique touch to any backyard. If you don’t want to go as crazy with attention to detail as this guy went, no worries!. Without all of the decorations and aesthetics, the enclosed-bar will still look awesome!

I love all of the little details of this bar such as the “ancient” relics and framed black and white photos inside. To get inside this bar, you must pass through its saloon-style doors.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a free download for this build’s plan. I saw an article on Popular Mechanics by the same exact guy. There are some basic instructions and incomplete free plans there. It looks like the only way to get all of the measurements in to purchase the actual plan from Guizzo Media.


Outdoor bar 2

Bar #3 – The PALLET Bar!

I love this bar for how cheap it is to make.

It looks pretty nice gets the job done if you want the luxury of having an outdoor bar without paying a high price. As an added touch, the creator used light grey Italian tile for the top of the bar instead of plain wood.

This project reminded me of an awesome article I found on Life-Hacker that goes over some ways to acquire free shipping pallets. It talks about how although you can get pallets online for around 10 bucks a pop, you can get them for free from small businesses and independent stores who were just going to throw the pallets away anyway.

Overall, this build is easy and cheap. It’s a great weekend project that will be both fun and rewarding.


tiki bar

Bar #4 – DIY Network’s Tiki Bar

If you are looking to build an authentic-looking tiki bar, DIY network has just the project for you!

Complete with a thatched roof, this bar is ready to start serving mojitos on a hot summer’s day.You’ll notice the bamboo paneling on the side. It hides the plywood that this bar is constructed out of and makes a world of difference.

It will take around 2 days to finish this bar. There are plenty of high-resolution photos to make your life a bit easier and show you exactly what you need to do.

When you’re all done, you have a bar that looks like something you would order pre-made. I guarantee your friends will continually ask you “Where did you buy that?”


Outdoor Bar 3

Bar #5 – The Concrete and Beach-Glass Bar

If you know the basics of working with concrete, this build won’t be too hard. The creator got inspired to build this bar after reading the book ‘Concrete Countertops’ by Fu-Tang Chang. It might be worth buying since the author goes into great detail about the mixtures you’ll need to get nicely-colored concrete.

In this build, concrete colorant is used to create two separate mixtures to form the two different colored halves of the countertop. Beach-glass is completely optional but adds a great design to the countertop when it is all finished.

It’s worth noting that to get bar countertop smooth and shiny, you will have to get stone polishing tool with diamond polishing pads. The Makita Stone Polisher is recommended. You also might consider buying this assortment of diamond polishing pads for the Makita Stone Polisher.


Stocking your brand new outdoor bar!


I hope your new outdoor bar looks as amazing as the bar examples that I have recommended! There is one problem with your new bar. It is empty! You need alcohol!

The amount of money you spend on spirits will vary depending on the size of your bar. If you built a fully-enclosed bar complete with a fridge, you can go as crazy as spending over $500 on your booze. If you built an out-in-the-open bar where you won’t be keeping a lot of bottles, you can probably get away with spending less than $100.

If you are interested in learning more about stocking a home bar, I recommend that you read my detailed guide article called Stocking a Home Bar On a Budget.


Final Notes:

So there you have it!

I hope I have inspired you in some way, shape, or form to get cracking on your outdoor bar! Having an outdoor tiki bar is a luxury that doesn’t have to cost a whole lot of money.

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