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Bamboo Tiki Bars

Bamboo bars became massively popular with the advent of the tiki bar craze in the early and middle parts of the 1900s, particularly in the United States. This is when tourism started to become more affordable and more common. Taking an exotic vacation in the tropics or the South Seas was in many ways seen as a status symbol, something everyone was trying to do. While tiki bars are much less common today, bamboo bars are still a popular accessory to have in people’s homes or backyards. The bamboo bar is usually found in rooms and outdoor spaces that are decorated with a tropical island theme.

History of the Bamboo Tiki Bar

In the years after the First World War, travel by ship and plane became affordable, and the ensuing travel craze led to a popular, nationwide fascination with the concept of ideal tropical island getaways. Nightclubs and bars were quick to take notice, and bars with tropical and South Seas island themes began popping up throughout the country. 

The first tiki bar in the United States is largely accepted as being “Don the Beachcomber Restaurant”, in Hollywood, California. The owner, who officially changed his name from Earnest Raymond Beaumont Gantt to Don Beach in 1934, opened the restaurant in 1933, decorating it at first with the traditional beach themes popular at the time. Eventually, Don Beach began adding authentic tiki and tropical island artifacts to distinguish his establishment from other beach themed bars. Diving masks, spears, carved idols and other exotic items accompanied the classic bamboo bar and bamboo barstools. Don the Beachcomber Restaurant became so popular that soon, other tropically themed bars began to follow his lead. Art and authentic artifacts from Hawaii, the tropics, New Zealand and other such places grew in demand, and thus the tiki bar trend was born.

People wishing to bring home the laid-back, tropical ambiance of tiki bars began decorating their home bars and backyards with tropical designs and furniture. Seeing a demand, home décor and furniture companies began manufacturing tiki bars, torches and other tropical furniture for average consumers to use in building their private tropical getaways, the bamboo bar usually being the central piece that brought the setup together, especially during parties and backyard barbeques.

The popularity of tiki bars lasted for about thirty years, and declined after the fifties. Since then it has bamboo tiki bars have been seen as a sort of nostalgic set piece, associated with early surf and tiki culture.

Modern Bamboo Bars

Today, bamboo bars manufactured for home use are still fairly popular despite the fact that tiki bars are no longer in vogue and haven’t been for many years. Part of the reason for the increased demand for bamboo bars and bamboo furniture is general is a recent increase popular environmental awareness. Homeowners interested in finding eco-friendly alternatives to hardwood products have turned to bamboo and rattan furniture as an aesthetically pleasing alternative. There are a wide variety of bamboo bars ranging in quality and look. Different strains of bamboo yield different colors, hardness, texture and durability.


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