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Cannibal Club

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Located in my backyard in Bakersfield, California. 1200 sq ft with 9 foot 1800 lb tiki fireplace, loft and full bar.

The pool is 3 levels with 3 waterfalls an outdoor kitchen with bbq, sink and fireplace. The kitchen gazebo also doubles as a bandstand.

All lighting is LED on photo cells.

Critiques,comments and ideas welcome.

[ Edited by: Hakalugi - Added image bb code and fixed orientation - 2018-12-09 21:26 ]

[ Edited by: Donovan 2018-12-10 01:30 ]


Hey Donovan! First, most of your pics here after I click on the link show up upside down! Might be me? I don't have the energy to turn my display around, maybe you could test? Second, from what I can see, WOW! How about some more detail on the story behind this, who made the fireplace and how, etc.! Looking forward to learning more.


Thank you for the kind words, W8N2Surf. Your project is amazing.
First of all thanks to Hakalugi for fixing my picture issues. I'm not a real computer savvy guy.

It is still under construction and has a long way to go. The wall coverings haven't even been started. What you see now was just rigged up for my wife's Christmas party.
I still have to complete behind the bar, install the dumbwaiter that transports drinks up to the loft, add much more lighting effects and hang a 10 foot outrigger canoe (from Oceanic Arts where I think I may have met you recently) from the ceiling. Not to mention literally miles of manila rope around all of the joints in the structure.

Other than the ongoing help of my wife and some great friends** putting up the main structure, it has been pretty much all me, including the fireplace. The fireplace alone took over 100 hours to build. I will eventually post pictures of it being built. It is a welded steel cage, wire mesh and 1800 lbs of concrete. (note the human skull gas fire logs from Amazon, of course)

I will post more photos as it progresses. We hope to have our grand opening this spring.

**Special thanks to Jake, Ryan, Dennis, Dan and Todd for which special tiki drinks will be named after in honor of their heroic efforts to get this thing built.

[ Edited by: Donovan 2018-12-10 02:02 ]

[ Edited by: Donovan 2018-12-10 06:19 ]


Damn these home tiki bar builds get better and better!

Cool spot, Love the fireplace!
Smart to use metal roof,let it rust no maintenance won't burn too.

Love yer music.


Man oh man. This is not just a backyard Tiki bar, but a complete Tiki party, event, and entertainment complex!! I think you need to have a name for your bar (which you do) but then a separate name for the whole place of which your bar is just part of! The three level pool (with that wading side area as well) is fantastic, the overlooking gazebo/kitchen/bandstand is great, and then the whole building itself! Yes on more pics on the fireplace build. Hard to see where the heat exhausts to. Lighted eyes are perfect. There is so much here, but as you said, so much more room for ever increasing detail. Keep posting more pics.

Yes, you probably met Commodore (Terry) the owner and builder of the Loma Kai, he's been there often enough. He's probably slated for a grand opening right around the same time as the Cannibal Club is.

[ Edited by: W8N2Surf 2018-12-10 05:13 ]

Holy cow, that is epic! Not so much a Tiki Bar as an entire Tiki Back Yard!

I'm jealous. :)


Thanks to all for the encouragement and feedback.

The roofing was chosen because our brutal summers here will quickly destroy any natural materials. A 50/50 mix of muriatic acid and water sprayed on and left for 30 minutes aged it nicely. (be sure to wear a respirator)

The fireplace has a steel firebox that is insulated using cat litter. It is vented out of the back with a 4" double wall pipe. The upper half houses the electrical and has two oven lights built in to the roof of the firebox to showcase the skull fire logs even when not burning.

Great suggestion about naming the entire locale....suggestions?

Love this site and love all of the fantastic work it showcases. Very inspiring.


On 2018-12-10 06:18, Donovan wrote:

Great suggestion about naming the entire locale....suggestions?

I actually think I have a good one for you. The overall site name needs to stay consistent with your bar name. So The Cannibal Club is located within a "Lost Island" type of name. Now, given your multi-layer pool with the shallow wading area, I believe Cannibal Club is located at "Donovan's Reef", a nod to the quintessential french polynesian John Wayne movie, 1963, filmed on Kauai. Gonna be tough to beat that one.



I think we may have a winner! That movie has always been a favorite of mine and thus the moniker. (you mean you guys aren't using your real names?)

I can't help but keep returning to your build and marveling at the authenticity. Freakin great job.


Very nice.

Critique? Yeah... I'm critical of the fact that it's not mine!

Otherwise, good job! I can see lots of room for adding more layers of Tiki ephemera, unless you're going for a more clean and minimal look. But it's pretty stunning as is!

Oh my
Lots of space to



Yes, more layers!! As you all know, these things are never quite finished. The "look" is important but the "feel" is what we really try to achieve. That's what escapism is all about.

Thank you for your input.

Hamo posted on Mon, Dec 10, 2018 10:27 PM

Wow, your place is really incredible, especially that fireplace. I hope you can figure out the computer enough to share more photos soon. :)


All of the images that I download show up upside down. I've even tried to invert them prior to downloading and I still get the same results. I have sent a help message to the moderator but whatever you more computer literate members can suggest, I'm all ears.
Thank you.

Wow. That fireplace is the greatest thing this side of the Kahiki! I sincerely look forward to seeing your build pictures on that thing.

Your whole layout is outstanding. This is what I'm striving for with my yard, but you are well ahead of me. Simply gorgeous.


Here we go. Still having problems with orientation. Hakalugi tried to help but nothing works from my end.

Here is the base and steel framework.

Screen backing with chicken wire formed into facial features.

Application of Type S mortar which is basically cement and sand mixed with water and masonry glue.

The face coming together and the test fitting of the wooden crown pieces.

Breathing a sigh of relief that it's coming out OK. The alternative was to break it out and haul it off.

To apply the concrete you have to grab a hand full and throw or slap it on for it to adhere. Trying to trowel it on was futile.
Under the larger facial features I had to use finer mesh screen as the concrete would fall through the larger mesh.

Once the concrete dries for about two to three hours you can shave off the excess until you get your desired shape. Then let dry for another hour and use a wet trowel to smooth it all out.

Installing the fire log skulls, available from Amazon for $50 per skull.
The backing and upper plate is 1/8" plate steel. The upper plate slants up from just above it's upper lip toward the back to flow the heat out of the 4" double wall vent pipe coming out of the back.

I shot the whole thing with automotive primer/sealer and then painted it metallic pearl turquoise. I masked off vertical slivers of the turquoise and painted the whole thing again flat brown. Then peeled off the tape, pinstriped around the slivers with flat black and then vertically pinstriped the entire structure with an average of 1" spacing ton simulate wood grain.
In the crown I installed two LED flood lights shining upwards and have copper tubes recessed in the eyes with red bulbs installed. There are also two oven lights installed in the upper plate to shine down and highlight the skulls. The entire firebox is surrounded in cat litter to insulate the surrounding walls and electrical.
Next is the recessed rain wall on either side of the fireplace....wish me luck.

We never really grow up, we just get bigger budgets and better tools.

[ Edited by: Donovan 2018-12-30 17:20 ]


Painting sequence.

Looks like a scary Mardi Gras mask!

Much better.

The whole project took about 100 hours and cost under $500.

We never really grow up, we just get bigger budgets and better tools.

[ Edited by: Donovan 2018-12-30 17:16 ]

Fantastic work! I love the metallic in the 'cracks'. I totally wouldn't have thought of it, but it really makes it pop.

It almost looks like the whole tiki is carved out of a gigantic, rough fire opal, with just the cracks cutting into the gemstone and the rest is all the 'crust' on the rough gem.

I LOVE those skull logs as well. I keep trying to convince my wife that we need them in the family room fireplace. No luck so far. :wink:


Thanks for the kudos. I really had to put my sales skills to the test to get my wife sold on the skull idea as well. I know getting them in the living room fireplace is a real uphill battle but perserverance pays off!

On 2018-12-13 05:38, Donovan wrote:
Thanks for the kudos. I really had to put my sales skills to the test to get my wife sold on the skull idea as well. I know getting them in the living room fireplace is a real uphill battle but perserverance pays off!

Ha ha! My wife says that it'd be cool for us to have something like that--that catch is that I would have to actually build it!

Thanks for posting the build process. I might get myself in trouble heading down that path in the future...


If you do head down that path, let me know. I would be happy to walk you through it. I had no idea what I was doing to start with but the learning curve was steep. The next one would be much easier.


This fireplace is an absolutely amazing project. The end result is so polished, it does not look like a backyard do it yourselfer thing at all. Great documentation, keep them coming.

What an amazing space to work with. I can't wait to see the progress as you put more tiki elements into place.


Kudos man, that place is crazy awesome. Love the fireplace!

I want one! That fireplace is awesome!

Please post more details on construction.

EDIT: Just saw your other photos...didn't realize your space is already built. All of it is fantastic. Please post more build photos and completed photos. (With correct orientation and also so they are photos and not links. :) )

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2018-12-21 07:46 ]


Thanks to my awesome two sons, there is a new feature to the Cannibal Club! Seems that they heard me say that it would be great to someday put a projection tv in the roof. Well, they came through in spectacular fashion.
The projector is a short throw, gaming quality Optoma. The screen they brought was electric with remote which required some quick engineering to make it do what I wanted.
In order to keep the look consistent with the Tiki experience, I didn't want a bunch of tv equipment disrupting the feel. The answer was to mount the screen upside down in a wooden box and attach a rope, pulleys and a counterweight to enable the screen to rise instead of drop. I still need to attach a piece of bamboo to cover the top bar of the screen. My apologies for the upside down images. My computer guru son has promised to tackle this problem when he visits this weekend.

I added a 1000 watt surround sound system to complete the experience.

The first movie night experience will feature.......wait for it..........Donovans Reef.

Thank you Edward and Sean for an unforgettable Christmas.

We never really grow up, we just get bigger budgets and better tools.

[ Edited by: Donovan 2018-12-30 17:19 ]

Holy Mother of Tiki! That's one amazing space! To echo other posters it is just fabulous!!! Love, love, LOVE the fireplace! You could seriously rent that out as a tiki venue. Amazing!

Just Wow! Incredible work!


Thanks to my son, I can now post like I know what I'm doing.
This photo shows the bamboo cross bar on top of the screen......much better.

Also here are some higher quality versions of my previous images

We never really grow up, we just get bigger budgets and better tools.

[ Edited by: Donovan 2018-12-30 17:33 ]

Well I am all in on that projector screen design moving up, really great idea. Can never have enough rope and pulleys! Glad to see the new posts of the pics, very illuminating. I'd like to know where you are going to be putting your efforts for next steps....I'm sure you have more intended for the bar section for one. This is really such a unique and monumental build.


Funny you should mention working on the bar because that is what was on the schedule for today.
I wanted to use Jack Daniels barrel ends for liquor shelves.
This is the cutting of the barrel using a skill saw.

This is attaching the plywood backing. Be sure to glue and screw each individual board as it will shrink as it dries.

Leave about 6" of the end plate and glue it in place. Then mark where the rear shelf support will be level.

Then install some bracket supports for the clear shelf.

I used the plastic lens material for a fluorescent light to make the shelf. I used led under cabinet lights from Home Depot to illuminate each shelf and daisy chain wired them.

So far, so good.


A few more pics from last night.


Wow, does that look good! Donovan's Reef is amazing. And great job on the shelves, I like that last pic that shows the Cannibal Club.


Finally at the point of functionality! Got the shingle hung and ready for ribbon cutting ceremony. Still many decor and feature upgrades upcoming but at least now can be done while enjoying a few libations.


We never really grow up, we just get bigger budgets and better tools.

[ Edited by: Donovan 2019-01-15 08:57 ]

[ Edited by: Donovan 2019-01-15 08:59 ]

Amazing work Donovan - what a venue!


I finally got around to boxing in the duct work for the evaporative (swamp) cooler upstairs.

The bare duct work.

Voila!! Boxed in.

The first event. Dinner for 16.

Great presentation thanks to my wife.


A friend took these photos after we had added more lighting and decor.

Some of the masks are a bit African and will gone as soon as suitable tiki replacements are found.

Donovan, that is incredible. I'm deeply envious.

BTW: Do you mind if I move in to your backyard? I can be your personal bartender/hermit. :wink:

Just... wow - what a space! I'm thinking when can I move in??!!

nice work - looks great!


Looks great, but this is one bar I would want to see huge pictures of.

You may have said something about this earlier I did not read all.

Only complaint is the pics are too small.
keep postin!

On 2019-01-28 08:18, tikiskip wrote:
Looks great, but this is one bar I would want to see huge pictures of.

You may have said something about this earlier I did not read all.

Only complaint is the pics are too small.
keep postin!

If you click on the pix they'll open up VERY large via Flicker.


Thanks for the kind words...especially from people that obviously have the 411 on all things Tiki. I also added this nod to Dr. Jones. (Looks like Indy might have lost a bet)

It's fun to watch people finally see it and choose to stay out from under it. (The tip of the knife is actually drilled and a keeper screw run through it. I don't have enough homeowner coverage otherwise) Wish I could take full credit for the idea but got a hand from this book below.


"If you click on the pix they'll open up VERY large via Flicker."

Dude, Magic.

So does that mean flicker will one day not host that pic and it will become a red X one day.
Hope not.

[ Edited by: tikiskip 2019-01-28 13:37 ]

Way Cool!


Been just an observer for a while but wanted to post some Halloween pics from the Cannibal club this year Neighborhood kids loved it....$275.00 worth of candy later.

and yes, the sharks do circle under the plank walker.


"$275.00 worth of candy later."

And half a mill in Halloween d├ęcor.

YOU win!
That is awesome!

Your bar has always been one of the top on TC this just makes it cooler.
Great job getting the kids who will buy all my tiki stuff down the road hooked on tiki.

Thank you!

That's absolutely incredible! What a great Halloween build out.

I have to ask, how did you get the sharks to circle the raft like that?

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