At a Glance:
There are several reasons why the tiki bar has remained a classic outdoor kitchen and lounging theme ever since it first became popular in the 1960s. What’s not to love? Tropical flowers in vivid colors add a splash of fun. Exotic patterns feel festive. And don’t forget drinks poured into coconuts or pineapples, which are always a playful addition to any outdoor luau.
It’s no surprise then that the tiki bar is making a slow-but-steady comeback. But, aside from a more modern approach to the retro bar design, a traditional ensemble of outdoor appliances is essential for getting the most out of your outdoor kitchen and bar. If you’re ready to turn your Seattle backyard kitchen into a tropical wonderland, follow these five tips for an outdoor tiki bar that is functional and stylish.
We probably don’t need to convince you that Seattle is a buzzing epicenter of quality brewers. In fact, Seattleites are widely recognized as brew experts, and while we love making trips to the local pub, having a favorite variety on tap at home doesn’t sound bad, either.
Enter the outdoor kegerator, the bar appliance serious brew buffs consider a must-have in any open-air bar or kitchen setup. We admit it: Kegerators aren’t truly traditional in tiki bars — which favor iconic drinks like pina coladas and mai tais. But we love keg fridges because they’re a great way to take advantage of local distilleries in Seattle who sell their signature blends to the public.
So, enjoy your tropical drinks and your favorite hops. The true spirit of a tiki bar is enjoying easygoing company in a space that is casual and fun — and we can’t think of any place better than a backyard tiki bar to raise a glass to that lifestyle.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking your DIY tiki bar will be fine without a place for your beverages. It’s common for homeowners to skip out on an outdoor beverage center, thinking a kitchen refrigerator will do the job just fine. But in order to enjoy perfectly chilled concoctions while you grill and mingle with company without making several trips inside, you’ll need an outdoor-rated refrigerator.
But there’s another reason an outdoor beverage refrigerator is every mixologist’s best friend. It’s the heavy-duty materials these outdoor appliances use that give them a layer of reinforcement to weather the elements. This bonus is a twofer since it provides optimum insulation for your beverages even in hot temperatures, and your outdoor fridge will last for years in your outdoor tiki bar.
From pina coladas to margaritas, if you plan on celebrating the cool demeanor of an outdoor tiki bar, you need the right kitchen gadgets to set the scene. An outdoor ice maker is essential for an outdoor bar and lets you skip on refilling ice cube trays. Outdoor ice makers are great because they produce ample amounts of ice cubes daily — anywhere from 25 pounds to 65 pounds or even more with large-capacity ice makers.
That means you’re free to explore refreshments, whether they’re blended or on the rocks, without interruption. Just scoop, pour, and serve!
You never know when your tiki-themed party will break out in a competitive game of limbo. So, when a spontaneous throwdown begins, you’re going to want all the space possible to show everyone how the game is done. Creating enough outdoor organization can be tricky in smaller backyard settings, but by optimizing walls and seating areas with outdoor storage cabinet solutions, even cozy outdoor tiki bar spaces tidy up in no time.
A variety of modular cabinets and storage drawers for outdoor settings are available on the market today to accommodate spaces of every size and budget.
Explore outdoor storage such as:
- Outdoor door and drawer combos to stow away patio games, throws, and pillows
- Outdoor pantries and pull-out trash drawers to discreetly hide cooking ingredients and waste
- Hidden tank storage to safely disguise propane
With the right setup, your outdoor tiki bar will be a multi-purpose work and play area ready for outdoor activities and dining in the fun ambiance of a tropical getaway.
While it’s often overlooked, water quality is an important consideration for your outdoor kitchen. On top of enjoying better-tasting water, a filtered tap reduces traces of minerals and deposits in the water, which could build up on the sink and faucet.
Luckily, water treatment systems are affordable, easy to install, and require minimal maintenance (just replace every few months).
BONUS: Even More Tiki Bar Appliances
We’ve covered the basics. Now, let’s take a look at some other tiki bar ideas that will give your outdoor party space even more function.
Other outdoor Tiki bar ideas:
- An outdoor fryer to fry up local catches
- A patio heater for cold Seattle nights
- A dishwasher drawer for your bar setup
- Spice things up with a pizza hearth!
Setting up a tiki bar for backyard entertainment requires planning. Consider these questions home designers like you ask when renovating their outdoor kitchen.
What makes an appliance outdoor rated?
Outdoor-rated appliances are manufactured with special materials that withstand the elements. For refrigeration and dishwashers, that includes 304 stainless steel and heavy-duty door gaskets. It’s important to note that while these appliances can withstand weather, proper maintenance is necessary to ensure they continue to work properly in outdoor conditions.
✓ Routinely cleaning refrigerator coils (if freestanding)
✓ Inspecting and cleaning gaskets and doors
✓ Manually defrosting an ice maker if a defrost function isn’t included
Can you put a dishwasher outside?
Dishwashers are absolutely safe for outside use. Just make sure you have a proper plumbing line, and you’re ready to install a dishwashing machine. Keep in mind, because this appliance will be stored outside, we recommend only high-end dishwashers made of the best materials.
How far should a patio heater be from a house?
You can safely use a patio heater within five to three feet of your home’s infrastructure. Always refer to the manual on how to use a patio heater with a covered patio.
What’s the difference between a beverage center and an undercounter refrigerator?
An undercounter refrigerator typically comes with shelves and bins, just like a full-size refrigerator. That allows storage of both beverages and food items. On the other hand, a beverage center will only feature shelves. While you can store food on these shelves, their main purpose is for cans and bottles.
Since 1939, Albert Lee Appliance, a three-generation, family-owned business, continues to grow and serve the greater Seattle area with quality you can count on and service you can trust. We are proud to have served this community for so long and wouldn’t be here without our loyal customers. There is a reason why we are Washington’s largest independent appliance dealer, and it’s not a secret. Simply put: We have the experience. We are the original appliance experts for over eight decades (and counting).
Shop Outdoor Appliances at Albert Lee
At Albert Lee Appliance, we provide quality name-brand appliances for great prices. Shop outdoor appliances online or visit us today at one of our locations in Puget Sound, WA. In the meantime, browse our website to shop Albert Lee appliance sales and check out Albert Lee appliance reviews online to ensure every purchase is an informed one. More available than ever, our experts at Albert Lee Appliance are always happy to help you create an outdoor tiki bar, whether you call us or use our online chat feature. Contact us today!
Learn More: Outdoor Living and Hosting Guide