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Tiki Bar

Saigon Blonde

St. Petersburg, Florida, United States

Opened July of 2018.

St. Petersburg local Peri Bandazian transformed the former LUX bar and lounge on Central Avenue into a tropical, immersive destination downtown. Bandazian’s Saigon Blonde is inspired by ’60s-era Vietnam and while it has tiki elements, is not exactly a tiki bar in the strict sense. It is best described as a fusion of 60s pop motifs centered around a quasi fictional background of Vietnam War era Saigon, wherein "The proprietor, a beautiful blonde of Vietnamese and French descent, had created an oasis for locals and soldiers alike."

The narrative look of the new bar features design elements like commissioned artwork and custom fixtures to create “a surreal setting unlike any other in the Tampa Bay area.” The owner partnered with Pinellas Park’s Creative Arts Unlimited, Inc. and St. Pete’s Wax & Hive to bring Saigon Blonde to life, and much of the art, which is a crucial component of the bar, was done by local contemporary realist Jean Michael Fait.

Saigon Blonde has five distinct areas for patrons to enjoy — showcasing symbolism and memorabilia, among other decorative details such as woven bamboo-covered walls and nods to folklore: 1) The outdoor walk-up bar. 2) The front bar with tiki totems and murals, plus an inventive cocktail menu that references the Pacific Rim in flavor and color. 3) Highlighting a sultry feel, the downstairs lounge with hanging lanterns, paintings and plush furniture. 4) Fashioned from an old plane wing, the intimate, dimly lit military bar toward the back. And 5) The VIP-like loft lounge — accessed through a narrow staircase and around a bend to overlook the downstairs lounge and front bar — with more plush furniture and a mural ceiling.

*NOTE: They do have a sub-section of their cocktail menu that specializes in drinks with CBD oil or cannabis aromatics, and these additions can be added to their other cocktails as well. Shown in last photo is their Hemp Day Cocktail with Marijuana leaf sprinkle stencil of aromatics.

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