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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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In about 9 months, I’ll be moving. This is a bit of a bummer because I just finished converting my screened porch to a tiki bar. But it is exciting because I am building a new house and have a lot of control over the new bar. But I need help! I want to make smart decisions in the setup of the new room.

My current bar is a stone floored porch, with sliding glass on two walls, and white painted bricks on the other two walls. I attached Plywood to the brick with tapcon screws and anchored thin plywood to the ceiling. I attached lauhala, bamboo fencing and other products to the plywood to create the attached bars. In addition, I built a bar on rollers with a torched/spar varnished top. I’ve hung a number of lights from the ceiling with Philips Hue bulbs that I can control remotely and change colors. Not really a bar, but more of a space.

My new bar will be a windowless basement room. I’m planning on carving a “barn door” style door at the entrance to the room. Inside the bar, I will have a 5 foot section of cabinetry with a sink, counter top and car top. There will be a set of cabinets with shelves above them on the back wall, a work space and then a cabinet section with the sink, a small undercounter fridge and the work/serving surface. I’m going to delete the “future fridge” as I don’t want a shiny/white/black fridge displayed so prominently. So far, I have some can lights in the ceiling that I plan to replace with various tiki fixtures. But that won’t be enough, so I plan to have some additional electric outlets put into the ceiling. I place on doing the burned/varnished bartop again, hence the temp surface in the plan. The walls will be drywall/paint, but I’ll need to immediately get those covered with lauhala, bamboo, bac bac, tapa, etc. My bar is loosely themed on a Fijian Island/Jungle motif. So onto the questions:

  1. What’s the best method to attach matting or bamboo to the walls? Should I put up OSB/Plywood and staple/screw/glue my stuff into that? Or should I try to attach directly to drywall?
  2. What are some good ideas for the ceiling? I was thinking of putting a slanted thatched ceiling over the bar itself, starting at the back wall over the shelving, slanting down over the bar top. What should I do with the rest of the ceiling? Paint it black and hang lights? Work in a bamboo grid?
  3. What about ice? I’ve thought about a built in ice maker, but in reality I can probably get away with a combination of a countertop clear ice maker, my ice crusher and a pellet machine like the Opal.
  4. Am I missing out on any great ideas that can be easily planned into a new build but are a tremendous pain to retrofit in after construction?
  5. Any lessons learned that can be shared?

Apologies for the very generic feel of these questions, but I kind of don’t know where to start!

Some good stuff here, but you may have seen that.

Also is the basement dry?
You want to think about mold issues if you put up matting and it's a bit moist down there.

Do you know about the screw in plugs for the can lights that can allow you to turn a socket into a plug?
With one of those you could hang a tiki light from your can light fixture.

Good luck!



Regarding attaching stuff to your walls, I don't know what sort of quality the "drywall" you blokes use over there is like but you should be fine going straight onto the walls unless you want to hang heavy stuff then you'll need some plugs. Even then you'll still need to go steady, but you should be right. If you're in doubt, have a chat to a local builder

Looking forward to seeing progress pics


I'm in the same boat here. New house with new ideas. Easy part is you know what worked for you before and what didn't so much. I have a few things I'm working around due to not fitting with the new bar. I agree with the others, check for moisture before any build. Mucho easy now than later.

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