The Alibi

Visit: Unknown

The first Tiki Bar I ever visited. Was there for a friend's birthday for karaoke. Ended up going back every Friday for a couple months and then got hired to host karaoke. Later, after moving away, I came back to help manage the place.

Tiki Bar:

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The Alibi Bar & Restaurant – Portland, Oregon, United States

Even through the darkest days of tikidom, The Alibi remained popular and busy -- probably due to the frequent karaoke nights. The Alibi is full of beautiful lamps and decor from Oceanic Arts, and has been cared for very well. The drinks for many years were on the weak and sweet side; that changed when new management took over in 2017, and the menu is now solidly-constructed classic tiki drinks and originals.

The Alibi has a long history that predates tiki. It began in the late 1800s as the Chat-n-Nibble, a horse & buggy stop along a dirt road. In later days it became a tavern called Max Alibi. The third owner, Roy Ell, took over the tavern in 1947 and renamed it The Alibi. Ell had travelled to Hawaii, and is responsible for changing the decor to reflect his own Polynesian tastes. The tavern was expanded to include the restaurant in the 1950s. The Witco-inspired rails and 3D hula-girl mural were 1970s additions. In the 1980s, Ell leased The Alibi with the agreement that the decor must stay as is. From 1992 to 2017 The Alibi was run by the White family. In 2017, well-regarded local historic bar managers Marcus Archambeault and Warren Boothby took over with a light restoration and a re-focused bar and food menu, including a flaming pu-pu platter.

Just across the street is The Palms motor hotel. While not strictly tiki, it does have a fantastic neon sign, and is within stumbling distance.

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Date Created
29 Jan 2023
Date Updated
29 Jan 2023
Dixon Grayce
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