The first Brass Monkey Tiki Bar opened at the end of 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In 2018, a new sister location, Brass Monkey Esbjerg, opened its doors.
Brass Monkey Esbjerg appears to have closed some time at the end of 2021 and then re-opened in August 2022 under a new name as The Tiki Hut.
November 24, 2021 was Tiki Underground’s last call in its previous Hudson location. The bar moved to this new space at 1832 Front St, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221 in September of 2022.
Opened April 20th, 1958, specializing in Chinese style smoked ribs and tropical drinks. They did have branded tiki mugs as well.
Owners Tex Loving and Howard Lee spent $300,000 on this location, which replaced the original Samoa House located on Van Nuys in Sherman Oaks.
The building and furnishings were designed by Architect John Hutchison of Sherman Oaks, former partner of Hutchison, Kinsey, & Boeke. Structure was of contemporary styling and featured a roof of reinforced gypsum slab design. It was completely air conditioned.
Samoa House was a Valley institution and became a successful jazz club in the 1960's and 1970's...and closed by 1975.
Today, this is the location of a Chase bank.
Opened December 21st, 2020 by Beverage Director and General Manager Jeremy Ross, along with co-owners Porntipa “Pat” Pattanamekar and Parasak “Sing” Chokesatean.
As you would expect from the name, this is not a traditional tiki bar/restaurant. The space is open and modern, with light oak woodwork, slate floors, and simple tropical flower print wallpaper. There are repeated tiki face panels both on the standing pillars and on metal panel dividers. However, bright track lighting and open windows in front leave no shadows to speak of.
That said, Ross's creations honor the tiki and craft cocktail culture -- with fresh ingredients and fine rums -- albeit with some sometimes surprising Thai-inspired flavor combinations.
Drinks are served in branded tiki mugs supplied by Munktiki Imports among others.
Open at least as early as 1967 but might have been built earlier, closer to 1960.
This huge A-Frame store carried all sorts of exotic goods, including gifts, sportswear, and gourmet food from all over the globe.
It had a statue of the trader himself on the roofline below the peak of the A-frame.
Mentioned in the book, Tiki Pop, by Sven Kirsten -- page 102 -- as having multiple locations. One other location, perhaps the best recognized, was in Yarmouth, Massachusetts.
This 1940s Pre-Tiki tropical bar was built inside of a WWII quonset hut with bamboo and thatch. Next to it was the Oxnard Airport where a military training squadron was and Howard Hughes kept some aircraft there.
Opened in 1960, Honeymoon Haven was located in the Pocono Mountains at Viking Heights -- Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania.
They catered exclusively to honeymooners with "modern and colonial cottages...step down living room...canopy bed...wall-to-wall carpeting...all-stone fireplace...radiant heated bathroom with sunken tub...sun tan in your own bathroom...television."
The resort also offered "All indoor and outdoor sports...New indoor pool and solarium...New twin heart outdoor pool...bowling alleys...New ski tow...Polynesian cocktail lounge...and beauty salon."
Honeymoon Heaven ran until 1972, when it was purchased for re-development and became, as it is presently, The Pocono Environmental Education Center -- offering guided nature trips and overnight cabins.
Opened in 1958 by Pat Gilmore, the Islander Lounge is the oldest continuously open beach bar from Destin, Florida to Orange Beach, Alabama along that 70+ miles of Gulf coastline.
To put that in perspective, it was opened the same year as the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood, California.
The Islander has expanded over the years. A game room area with its own bar was built years ago to adjoin the main bar. The club added an upstairs bar, the Cypress Bar, long ago, which is used for private parties and charity events, and open to the public on weekends. It leads out to an outside deck that looks south toward the Gulf of Mexico.
However, the striking remodeling from an immaculate 1950s Polynesian themed bamboo bar to a generically decorated neighborhood dive bar is disheartening for purist tikiphiles to look at. The gray walls and floor, not to mention the blaring televisions and signs for lotto and whiskey -- make it tough to spot any semblance of the former Polynesian theme.
Despite this, the bar is a survivor and still sports a few more modern tikis at the entrance and the upstairs deck. It is also much beloved by locals and doesn't need approval from outsiders who might disapprove of its decor.
The Tonga Hut in North Hollywood also saw a slide into generic dive bar status for several years, though, before being updated and refreshed. So, too, did the Bahi Hut in Sarasota, Florida. Perhaps the Islander Lounge also has a tiki remodel in its future?
The Mokhana Bar was located in Kokee Lodge at the top of Waimea Canyon, on Kauai.
It has long since been remodeled and no traces of the bar remain, although Kokee Lodge is still running.
The bar had Leeteg paintings on the walls, carved tikis, and served drinks out of coconuts.
Opened in 2010, in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
They pride themselves on being knowledgable about tiki cocktail history and in developing their own cocktails based on local seasonal fruits and juices. Additionally, they seek to please an Argentine palate and sometimes this means a tilt towards the bitter end of the spectrum. Cynar is popular, for instance. One of their popular cocktails, the Cynar Grill, is made with Cynar 70, roasted pineapple, lime juice, rosemary, elderberry and soda.
During Covid quarantines, when deliveries became the norm, they decided to put together special cocktail kit boxes which are delivered via a person dressed up as a sea lion with a captain's hat. See last photo. Since their mascot is a sea lion, it only made sense to run with it and lend a sense of whimsy to home deliveries.
Featured Polynesian and Cantonese dishes. Inside was a space designated the "Island Lounge". Host was Harry Lew. Open during the 70s, at least as early as 1973.
This Kahunaville was one location in a nationwide chain of restaurants, but it was the longest lasting.
It doesn't appear to be the case with the other locations, but this location had some actual Bosko tikis in one area, the elevated area on the right immediately as one walks in. They also had a few SHAG (or at least SHAG-like) paintings in one area.
The bar offered a variety of tropical drinks although not much that would be categorized as "craft cocktail" by today's standards. See the giant toilet mug in the last photo below...
Their eclectic food menu featured about 90 items, which included "Kahunaville-sized" sandwiches, salads and entrees with American, Mexican, Cajun and Asian influences.
The parent company of Kahunaville, Adventure Dining Inc., once operated nine nationwide locations, including homes in Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Michigan and Tampa. The Las Vegas, Nevada "Party Bar" (2001-2016) was their last holdout before the chain folded.
This type of corporate chain typifies what many tikiphiles dislike most about corporatizing the Tiki aesthetic -- bending the decor more towards a Chucky Cheese buildout (or perhaps Rainforest Cafe if one is being kind) with cheaply molded and cartoony fiberglass and plastic decorations in primary colors, dumbing down the cocktails of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic into chemical-tasting slushy boat drinks (but served with "flair"), and offering a big scattershot food menu in hopes of appealing to every American tourist palate. For those that grew up with these, there is some nostalgia, but they were not terribly mourned by fans of traditional tiki bars and restaurants.
This venue was a bit better than the others, it seems, due to its location within the Treasure Island Casino. It also tilted a bit more to adults as evidenced by scantily-clad hostesses dancing on the bar tops, but nothing to blink an eye at when Vegas is concerned. They also hosted hula dancer shows and ran the Treasure Island outside pool bar, serving the same tropical drinks.
The Vegas location produced a great many ceramic tiki mugs, most of them from Poolside Pineapple, which was located in Las Vegas also.
This Kahunaville was one location in a nationwide chain of restaurants.
It was located in the Holyoke Mall (which is the 3rd largest in New England by retail space) from @2007-2008.
Like the others in the chain, this restaurant featured a synchronized water fountain show, waterfalls, caves, talking idols, a sophisticated sound system, an arcade, and a variety of tropical drinks. Their eclectic food menu featured about 90 items, which included "Kahunaville-sized" sandwiches, salads and entrees with American, Mexican, Cajun and Asian influences.
The parent company of Kahunaville, Adventure Dining Inc., once operated nine nationwide locations, including homes in Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Michigan and Tampa. The Las Vegas, Nevada "Party Bar" (2001-2016) was their last holdout before the chain folded.
This type of corporate chain typifies what many tikiphiles dislike most about corporatizing the Tiki aesthetic -- bending the decor more towards a Chucky Cheese buildout (or perhaps Rainforest Cafe if one is being kind) with cheaply molded and cartoony fiberglass and plastic decorations in primary colors, dumbing down the cocktails of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic into chemical-tasting slushy boat drinks (but served with "flair"), offering a big scattershot food menu in hopes of appealing to every American tourist palate, and supplying loud video games and animatronics to entertain the kids. For those that grew up with these, there is some nostalgia, but they were not terribly mourned by fans of traditional tiki bars and restaurants.
It appears that this location now houses an Xfinity retail store.
Opened some time in the 1960s.
This bar and restaurant billed itself as "Metropolitan Washington's Best, Newest, and Finest Polynesian Restaurant" with three themed rooms (Hilo Room, Kona Room, and the Hula Room).
Apparently the Hula Hut changed names and/or owners in the mid to late 1970s to become the Tung Bor Restaurant which then moved to Wheaton Plaza, probably when the property was bought to develop the Wheaton Metro Station in 1990.
This restaurant offered Polynesian and Chinese food.
The decor, from postcards, shows they used tons of bamboo and natural materials, and that one entire wall was devoted to a Chinese dragon mural.
The ceiling was a framework of bamboo poles with pufferfish lights and other hangings.
Tiki table lanterns and a ton of flower leis were used to decorate the walls.
The decor was low on actual tiki carvings, although it looks as though they had some tiki poles at the front lobby entrance when visitors entered.
As of 2022, this site is home to Design Memorial Stone, a cemetery stone engraving service.
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.
The Andrew Jackson Hotel in downtown Nashville opened it doors on Aug. 29, 1925. It represented one of the largest and most modern structures of its kind in the entire South. The 12-story structure had 400 rooms and private baths.
It was one in a chain of Carling Dinkler family owned hotels named after Confederate war leaders. Dinkler also opened the Luau in Nashville which he sold to the Dobb's.
The Surf Rider Lounge was opened in the hotel at least as early as 1963, possibly as early as 1960 when the other Surf Rider Lounge in Montgomery, Alabama was opened by the Dinklers.
The Andrew Jackson Hotel was demolished on June 13, 1971, to make room for the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the James K. Polk State Office Building which are currently still on site as of 2022.
Built in 1968, the Merrillwood Mall had 30 exclusive shops on the first and second levels as well as the luxurious Merrillwood Arms Apartments on the upper four levels.
One of these exclusive shops was Hale Hawaii, which was located on the second level and sold sportswear, swimwear, leisure wear, jewelry, perfume, luau accessories and exotic gifts.
Today, as of 2022, this site is known as the Merrillwood Collection Apartments but still appears to be the same building construction.
Opened March 2nd, 2022.
The Luau was developed by owner/bartender Brett Rose to "stoke the masses".
Though not as lavishly decorated as some tiki palaces, tilting perhaps a touch more towards the surf bar than the tiki bar end of the spectrum with its coral painted walls and serviceable wood café chairs, there are still, indeed, several tikis throughout.
It has a live music stage in front of house and an outdoor patio in back.
Some nice decorative touches include a wall of ukuleles behind the live music stage, some Oceanic Arts style masks on the walls, lahala matting, fish floats, and a couple of concrete tiki fountains out on the patio.
Tiki favorites are served in tiki mugs and volcano bowls. Including the Tropical Itch cocktail, with backscratchers included.
The Jefferson Davis Hotel is a former hotel located in Montgomery, Alabama. It was named for Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America. Built in 1927. It was one in a chain of Carling Dinkler family owned hotels named after Confederate war leaders. Dinkler also opened the Luau in Nashville which he sold to the Dobb's.
The Surf Rider Lounge was opened on September 15th, 1960. The Alabama Journal has the following to say about the opening night entertainment:
"The entertainment picture of Montgomery became in focus last night with the opening of the Surf Rider Room in the Jefferson Davis Hotel and the arrival of Dorita. Both are wonderful! The style of Dorita is refreshing, to say the least. A fine musician, a fine singer and, above all, a top notch entertainer, she is exactly what the newly redone lounge needs to set it off as Montgomery's lounge of distinction. Dorita is an entertainer of note. Facile with both English and Spanish, she has just enough of the Latin temperament and feeling for her music to be able to sing with sincerity and that deep feeling which make the difference between true artistry and mere technical skill. Her interpretations of some of the old favorite Spanish numbers are without peer. Singing 'Granada' she manages to take her audience off on a musical venture which is fascinating and colorful. The decoration of the Surf Rider Room is, for Montgomery, out of this world. Using a Polynesian motif, the decorator managed to achieve the atmosphere without being gaudy or ostentatious. The overall harmony of style meets the eye gently, as, indeed, it should in a place of that type. One coming into the room is aware of theme without being aware of any one aspect which goes to make up the theme. The Surf Rider Room Is easily the mast delightful lounge in our state."
The lone remaining image of the Surf Rider, on postcards, shows it was painted in light blue with fish netting hanging from the ceiling and shells and other flotsam and jetsam caught up in the netting.
It is unclear when the Surf Rider Lounge at the Jefferson Davis Hotel closed, but it probably did not last very long.
There was also a second Surf Rider Lounge at the Andrew Jackson Hotel in Nashville which was later bulldozed in 1971 to make room for the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the James K. Polk State Office Building.
The Jefferson Davis Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 13, 1979.
This location looks much the same on the exterior but is currently used as apartments for the elderly -- The Jefferson Davis Apartments.
Bali Ha'i was open by at least 1966, possibly as early as 1963.
It was a much loved and popular nightclub in South West London. The club entrance was adjacent to the right hand side of Streatham Silver Blades Ice Rink. You climbed a set of stairs, and the club was housed above the rink. You could look down on the skaters from inside the club, which was a unique quality.
The Silver Blades Ice Rink opened on 26 February 1931.
Bali Ha'i was synonymous with Reggae Music in the mid 1970s to the 1980s, with one of the top-ranking sound systems in South London, Soferno B, taking a residence in the club on Sunday nights. It was also known for its Motown, Soul / Northern Soul and the many disco classics associated with that era, not to mention the latest US imports.
The club was demolished at some point in 2011 (although probably stopped running years before then), and Streatham Ice Rink was replaced by a mixed-use complex which opened 18 November 2013, featuring a Tesco store and an Olympic-sized ice rink and swimming pool.
The Naniloa was first opened as a hotel in 1939. The name "Naniloa" means "very beautiful".
The Polynesian Room was built in 1964.
The Polynesian Room was an interesting construction of 4 hut-shaped buildings. Several tiki poles throughout and on the exterior walkway leading to the buildings as well.
The interior was trimmed out in a fantastic array of bamboo and tapa cloth with many unusual features, including bamboo chandeliers and a thatched roof over the stage area where each beam was capped with a Maori warclub (from Oceanic Arts).
The building fell into disuse and during "renovations" everything was painted, including many carvings that had previously been naturally finished with stain & oil.
Today, as of 2022, the site is run as a Hilton Doubletree Hotel. The Polynesian Room hut buildings are not highlighted in any promotions and it appears they have been treated as storage.
Hopefully, at some point, they will be given some attention and brought back to life...
Opened in 1974.
From the August 22, 1974 Chicago Tribune:
"A Polynesian restaurant tucked away in a little shopping center called White Plains. Unusually good food in the Chinese-Cantonese tradition accented with an occasional American touch such as steak with salad and french fries. Soft and soothing background taped music of Hawaii. Interior design, overall ambiance remindful of all the other Polynesian restaurants that you've visited in the States, including Hawaii. But why Northbrook for so many restaurants? Isn't there a satiation point? ECHOING comments of many other restaurateurs of the area was Wally Chin's emphatic 'This is a going community! New homes are going up; new industries coming in.' Mr. Chin, who is co-owner of Kahala Terrace with his brother, Bob Chin, points to a developing industrial park across the highway from the Kahala. Easy access to Northbrook via Edens Expressway, and elimination of parking problems also are positive factors. FARTHER NORTH at County Line and Lee Roads in Northbrook, a proposed courtyard of nationality restaurants in a prestigious shopping area that will include Neiman-Marcus and Lord and Taylor specialty stores and a Sears Roebuck department store, is scheduled for completion in the fall of 1975. Blueprints for the p r o j e c t Northbrook Court also call for parks, small lakes, and condominiums on the 130-acre property. Although many of the residents of the area are vehemently protesting the mammoth project, construction presently is continuing.
Owners of Kahala Terrace are not newcomers to the suburbs. After a year as maitre d' at Kon Tiki Ports in the Sheraton-Chicago. 505 N. Michigan Av., Wally Chin operated Chan's Tea House in Highland Park for 10 years. Bob Chin continues as owner of the House of Chan, a catering establishment in Wilmette, and now manages catering facilities for the Kahala also. Barmaids at the Kahala, which specializes in exotic mixed drinks, are Wally's daughter, Judy, and Bob's daughter, Marilyn, fresh from bartending school. Restauranteuring, in fact, is a way of life for the Chin family. Wally and Bob's brother, Henry, is proprietor of the House of Chinn, an excellent Cantonese restaurant at 6355 N. Western Av. A FOURTH brother, Howard, operates New Wilson Village, a surprisingly good restaurant in a shabby old block at 1120-22 Wilson Av., established by the brothers' parents some 40 years ago.
Evening specialty of the house is the Kahala version of a Polynesian Iuau at $7.50 per person, beginning with soup or juice and a platter of appetizers egg rolls, crab rangoon, shrimp, barbecued ribs, pineapple in chicken. Six main courses that change daily, always including beef, chicken, and seafood dishes, are arranged at an elaborate self-help buffet."
Despite this overall good opening review and the bonafides of Wally as a maitre d' at Kon Tiki Ports, the interior of the restaurant screams 70s tiki devolution with the lack of decor, the 70s flower print cushions on the rattan chairs, the exposed brickwork, and the cedar shingles in lieu of proper thatching.
Ads show that Kahala Terrace was open at least as late as 1983.
*Bob Chin lived to be 99 and died April 15th, 2022. His biggest and best known restaurant was Bob Chinn's Crab House in Chicago, which he started in 1982. It would be his 14th restaurant and the longest lasting. He served the same mai-tais there that he did at the Kahala Terrace location.
**As of 2022, the location of Kahala Terrace is now home to a FastSigns print shop.
Opened in June 2020 after delays from COVID lockdowns following their first soft opening.
Located at 48 S. Magnolia Ave, this bar sits next door to the Marion Theatre in downtown Ocala.
The front exterior features windows decorated with images of palm trees.
The bar itself is decorated to look like a long stack of shipping crates. The ceiling is painted black with some Chinese parasol umbrellas and fish floats hanging about.
Ceiling lighting supplied by can lights and retro 50s wire cage covered barn/industrial pendant lights.
Coral wall paint scheme in both the bar and separate lounge area, but the bar also has some lahala matting, tropical leaf wallpaper, and at least one section of wall covered in fake tropical foliage to give more visual interest.
The wall of fake foliage and peachy/coral paint on the wall is reminiscent of Water Witch Tiki Bar in Georgia (which opened in February 2020). Perhaps this is a Florida/Georgia trend or look?
Lots of small framed ephemera and some tiki masks on the walls.
The bar does not appear to have large tiki poles or large signature pieces, but there is certainly plenty of room to add more over time if they choose.
They appear to have a good selection of rum on the backbar and a thriving craft cocktail menu featuring rotating and seasonal cocktails.
Aloha Beautiful, in downtown Orlando, did a soft opening March 17th, 2021 and a full opening on March 18th-20th, 2021.
The space was formerly inhabited by Joysticks Arcade Lounge and traces of the arcade remain with a monopoly top bar and a few pinball games.
The bar has tons of room and a free-flowing eclectic nature with various areas for patrons, including a full karaoke stage, the main bar, several lounge areas with couches and rattan chairs, and private VIP Karaoke rooms.
Though not a traditional tiki bar, there are lots of tiki elements, including a 6' tall fiberglass Ku Tiki with glowing red eyes, rattan, fish floats and netting on the ceiling, and shrunken heads hanging over the bar.
Opened November 15th, 2020.
Castaways Cove is located in the basement of River Mountain Lodge, and replaced the old Tiki Mana bar.
Owners Michael Beseda and Justin Guadagnoli, longtime Summit County locals, aspire to a cocktail bar that will be “representing the golden era of tiki” in the 1950s, according to Beseda, with 30 types of rum.
Judging by postcards, this motel was built in the 1940s-50s.
Advertising from its later years boasted: "King Size Rooms & Kitchenette Efficiencies - Completely Air Conditioned & Heated - 'Tiki' Coffee Shop - Recreation Room - Heated Fresh Water Swimming Pool - Shuffleboard - 200 Feet Private Beach - Free TV - Free parking at your Door - Open All Year."
It began with a relatively simple facade and pastel/pink color scheme. Later, they went full "Tiki" with several masks out front and the "Tiki Coffee Shop."
This building was torn down to make way for Jade Signature Condos in 2018.
Opened August 2nd, 2022.
Mothership is a sci-fi tropical themed bar in San Diego, CA that is a partnership between the owner of Kindred and CH Projects (False Idol, Polite Provisions, Raised By Wolves and more).
Designed by Ignacio “Notch” Gonzalez, Mothership imagines a restaurant and cocktail lounge build from the ruins of a crash landed ship on a tropical alien planet.
From the Mothership website:
"The Ancient Astronaut Shuttle Crew, aboard the A.A.S.C. MOTHERSHIP, boldly explores the darkest, furthest edges of the tropical-flavor galaxy. Cosmic rays blast from a solar flare and blow the MOTHERSHIP’s electronics into disarray. The psycho-space marauders are left with no option but to execute emergency landing protocols on the nearest planet. Off-board, the tight-knit Crew explores the lush surroundings. They discover no sentient life, but unexplainable events occur and a lurking presence is felt. The mysterious, uncharted ecosystem has few resources to repair the ship -- but ample plant life and curious, intoxicating spirits. In time, the Crew accepts that they are marooned in a sinister, fertile paradise. They establish a colony and fashion the ship into a base camp, including quarters of leisure. Together, the fearless crew members commit to adventurous coexistence with the natural life of the planet, not in desperate peril, but on a ...PERMANENT VACATION."
This was the sister location built in the 1950s after the first location in Laguna Beach was already thriving.
It was located on Los Angeles Boulevard in Anaheim, which is now re-named Anaheim Boulevard. Today, this location is occupied by the Anaheim Global Medical Center.
Once the residence of Princess Pomare, daughter of the last King of Tahiti.
Hotel Tahiti was celebrated as the largest hotel in French Polynesia at the time it was built in 1960. The double bungalows provided 18 deluxe suites and two 2-story plantation type buildings, each with 24 veranda suites, provided a total of 66 units on 53 acres bordering a blue lagoon 1 mile from the capital, Papeete. The interior of the original Hotel Tahiti's cocktail lounge bar had many floor-to ceiling tiki poles, a wood canoe hanging from the ceiling, and a thatch roof over the bar with lots of bamboo and other decorations familiar to fans of Mid-Century Poly Pop. This hotel was demolished in 1997.
Some key dates in the property timeline:
May 1960, Inauguration of the Hotel Tahiti, owned by Spencer F. Weaver (of SpenceCliff Corporation, who did so much building in Hawaii especially)
1997, Demolition of Hotel Tahiti
July 1999, Opening of Outrigger Hotel, owned by Mr. and Ms. Wane
2000, Outrigger becomes Sheraton Hotel Tahiti
2009, Sheraton becomes Hilton Tahiti
July 2010, Closing of Hilton Tahiti
November 2021, Grand Opening of Hilton Tahiti Resort
Today, the Hotel Tahiti site is home to a luxury resort, just opened in 2021 by Hilton. Hilton’s extensive renovations have transformed the property, with an emphasis on open-air public spaces, natural light and ocean views. Design details feature light woods, a neutral color palette and a modern take on island-inspired decor. The re-imagined property offers 200 rooms, a boutique spa, the largest pool in Tahiti and three dining venues. Additional new features include cabanas and a poolside restaurant with views of Moorea Island. The hotel has two bars: the Heiva Lounge in the open-air lobby, offering spectacular ocean views and a bespoke collection of wine; and the Vaipuna poolside bar that offers unique, tropical libations as well as traditional cocktails. There are a few tikis on the grounds and some generic mugs used at the bars, but, Hilton, as one would expect, is more interested in offering a luxury resort experience than catering to Mid-Century Poly Pop fans.
Opened in 1933, founded by an American from San Francisco named Robert. E. Quinn.
It was originally an ice cream parlor located on the Quai du commerce facing the harbor, but later became a notorious bar.
Considered pre-tiki, although it did have tiki poles on the front entrance which can be observed in some photos.
From 1941-1952, Eddie Lund, the musician and composer was manager, before Marcelle Quinn and Bouzou Frogier (both well-known musicians) regained control.
For legions of visitors, Quinn’s was Tahiti. It was the watering hole of dope heads and derelicts, French sailors, French Legionnaires, runaway husbands and shiploads and jet-loads of travelers who came to see where the action was. Beer bottles were heaved by its habitues: Susie No Pants, Vili Vala and dozens of other colorful characters. Without question, Quinn’s was the dirtiest, stinkiest, most shameful and beloved bar in all of French Polynesia. Paint peeling off the ceiling fell into the customers’ drinks. Nothing was ever repaired. Whatever broke was tossed out--or ignored altogether.
Quinn’s roared night and day. It was a bamboo jungle, a habit, a drug, a curse, with the most wicked reputation in French Polynesia. Fights broke out regularly. Women battled women--biting, clawing, scratching, cursing. The band played on while tourists crouched at ringside tables or watched from the relative safety of booths in the background. It wasn’t merely the fighting or the marathon drinking that gave Quinn’s its reputation. There was the communal rest- room, a boy-girl facility that was separated from the bar by a flimsy piece of cloth. More than one unsuspecting vahine ran out screaming after having had the wits scared out of her by some big, happy-go-lucky Tahitian who stumbled in, flashing a broad grin.
Quinn’s regulars would fill the pages of an X-rated novel. The place didn’t have a thread of a conscience. It was a grimy, crowded waterfront joint, permeated by the odors of stale beer and disinfectant, too much cigarette smoke and too little fresh air.
As the most notorious bar in French Polynesia, Quinn's was where the painter Leeteg belted one too many one night, then climbed aboard his moped and spun off on a trip to eternity, colliding head-on with a tree.
When they tore down Quinn's it was like disassembling the Eiffel Tower. Or uprooting the cable cars in San Francisco. Quinn's was a tourist attraction, an institution, the watering hole of Tahitians and tourists, French sailors and foreign legionnaires.
Nearly every tourist who ever set foot in Papeete rushed headlong to Quinn's to kick back and join the wicked who made Quinn's their home base. Well, the timorous did a detour, maybe, but the adventurous were fascinated with the motley crowd that kept the cash register ringing.
Without a doubt, Quinn's was the most shameful bar in the entire Pacific.
It closed in 1973.
*NOTE: Not to be confused with a later Quinn's at the Sheraton Hotel Tahiti (2000-2009) that was much more civilized and upscale. The Sheraton Hotel Tahiti was first opened in 1960 as the Hotel Tahiti, then completely demolished in 1997 and rebuilt in July 1999 with Polynesian-style architecture, including thatched roofs. This would probably have been when they added their "Quinn's" sign and changed the name of their bar to capitalize on the mystique of the original Quinn's bar. This second Quinn's is also now long gone. Today, as of 2021, Hilton has turned this location into a totally newly imagined resort.
Opened in 1968.
This location looks to have undergone a major "renovation" in the 80s or 90s that stripped it of much of its Tiki/Pop Polynesian flavor.
While the rattan chairs, some masks in one room, and at least a couple standing tikis remained, the white and pastel paint job along with the glass block host entrance and other touches transformed this into a bland and generic Chinese restaurant for the most part.
Despite this, they continued using their original branded ceramic OMC drink ware right up to the very end, with coconuts, rum barrels, and surfer girl mugs that they refused to sell to collectors, but kept in steady rotation.
Closed on Sunday, January 31st, 2016.
This space is now home to a Maggie's Town Tavern location.
Hawaii Moon opened in 1972 on Route 46, Lodi, New Jersey, 1 mile west of Teterboro Airport.
Owned by Wah Seid (last photo in front of painted exterior tiki logo mural).
Known for its 40 foot volcanic waterfall (which, judging by the photos was being measured length-wise), tropical drinks, and Hawaiian dance reviews.
This location lasted at least into the 1980s.
Soji opened July, 2018 and Lotus Lounge opened April 16th, 2022.
Before opening Lotus Lounge, Soji had regular tiki nights and tiki-themed events, but finally decided to make a dedicated bar area that was specifically tiki-themed.
When bar-goers come to Lotus Lounge, they have the option to drink at the bar, a table in the lounge or a larger VIP table seating eight to 10 people.
The ceiling is covered in lahala matting and illuminated by a long panel of blue lights, Bosko masks decorate the wall next to the booths, and a wall across from the bar is covered with fake tropical foliage and a "LL" monogram in neon. Large paintings of wahines in a tropical setting flank either side of the bar which hosts an impressive array of rums.
The cocktail menu has several classic and original cocktails and they have a rotating menu of plates from the regular Soji kitchen next door.
Opened Sunday, May 29th, 2022.
Located in Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park entertainment district, Pete’s Tiki Tiki is the latest addition to the Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar family.
Pete's boasts 30 varieties of rum and more than 50 colorful cocktails, including the classic Tiki options, like the Mai Tai, the Zombie and the Jungle Bird.
Pete’s Tiki Tiki is open seven days a week starting at 5 p.m. and is located at 5510 Park Place Blvd, next to Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar.
In addition to seating for 50 indoors, Pete’s Tiki Tiki also features an outdoor patio under a thatched roof with additional seating for up to 200.
*NOTE: The large tiki outside previously graced the Kona Kai at the Chicago O'Hare Marriot. It is a surviving Ed Crissman carving purchased through Oceanic Arts and dwelled for a time in the collection of Duke and Amy Carter.
This is one of those cases where a site is not closed or fallen into disrepair, but for the interested tikiphile, there's not much here worth checking out.
Oriental Gardens is a typical Chinese restaurant today but at one time it was adorned with tikis, thatched roofs and authentic looking decor.
The only thing apparently left from its tiki heyday is the rock pond/fountain as seen below in vintage photos.
It's located in a strip mall, has a small lounge and a decent size dining area. It looks as though it was remodeled around 2000 or so and doesn't really show any signs of neglect. If you are looking for a decent Chinese restaurant and are in the area, it could be worth a look, but don't expect to see any tiki decor.
The Pacific Hut was located at the Westgate Mall in Brockton, Massachusetts.
There was also a sister location at the Burlington Mall in Burlington, Massachusetts.
Opened May 19th, 2012.
The design of this bar was a collaboration with input from renowned tiki carver, Marcus Thorn (a.k.a. Tiki Beat).
It was Perth’s only portside tiki bar, serving more than 20 different types of cocktails, as well as three of its own speciality cocktails, made with Newport Spiced Rum.
Drinks were served in green-glazed tiki mugs modeled after a carving by Marcus Thorn (seen with pinup model Masuimi Max below from a photoshoot), adding to the bar’s overall ambience.
It was located within the Newport Hotel (The Newy), on the corner of South Terrace, at the end of Fremantle’s busy cafe strip.
The Newport Hotel closed December 24th, 2021 for a major rebrand into Flight Club social darts venue. Tiki Beat was closed as well.
The new Carnival Cruise Line ship Mardi Gras set sail on Saturday, July 31, 2021, marking the first official passenger cruise from Port Canaveral since the pandemic began in 2020. The ship has a capacity of 6,500 passengers and 20 decks, making it the eighth largest cruise ship in the world. The Mardi Gras is also the first ship in North America powered entirely by liquefied natural gas.
Note, there was also a much smaller Mardi Gras ship launched in 1972... but this one dwarfs it in comparison.
The 2021 Mardi Gras specializes in Caribbean cruises. It is docked and leaves out of Port Canaveral, Florida, United States.
The RedFrog Tiki Bar is located on the 5th level Lido deck and is the first of 3 RedFrog Tiki Bars planned, with the Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee next in line.
The bar is 2 stories tall and has both bar and dining table seating. They have extensive themed decoration including some Oceanic Arts style lights and some Oceanic Arts Papua New Guinea masks and other hangings.
The bar features a wide array of rums listed by region but the bar name reflects their line of beers which is served on tap. They do have unique branded tiki mugs and mai tai glasses available for sale as well as other merch.
This was the precursor to the famous Kahiki Supper Club. It was located on the same spot and was also owned by Bill Sapp and Lee Henry.
This much smaller venue burned down in 1959, shortly before the planned construction of the Kahiki. Before this, the owners used it as a testing ground for planned menu items at the larger tiki palace they were planning.
After the Kahiki was bulldozed, this location became home to a Walgreens, which (as of 2022) is also closed.
Built in 1964.
32 units spread over 2 stories.
This apartment complex still has 14 tikis standing and they are in decent shape. This includes 12 guardians around the pool, one under a small shack to protect the map/directory, and a cool fern tiki by the pool fence.
It is located near the intersection of Garden Grove Boulevard and Brookhurst Street.
Located across from the Cozumel ferry terminal, Cocomama Tiki Room Bar was started in 2020 as a mocktails only concept, but then later they associated with the Casa del Habano bar which allowed them to make drinks with alcohol as well.
The bar has bamboo decor and features tropical-inspired cocktails served in locally made tiki mugs as well as food dishes such as guacamole, ceviche, and fish tacos.
It has been well received both by the islanders, as well as by the tourists who cross from Playa del Carmen and those who arrive mainly on cruise ships.
House specialty cocktails include the Cocomama, Thousand Special, and the Astral Trip.
Opened in 1965.
The Ma-Kiki Club was owned by Harold Lawrence Frankel and his wife Dodi.
They advertised "authentic Polynesian Food and drinks", with Live entertainment nightly. Located in the Holiday Inn.
The Holiday Inn was their first hotel.
For their last 11 years, they hired Chinese chef, Ming Eng, who proved extremely popular and after The Ma-Kiki closed, he opened his own restaurant in the former Elephant Walk Club of the Frederick Hotel. There, Ming’s became a popular eatery that served a combination of Chinese and Polynesian dishes. In 1998, Ming’s relocated to the Stone Lodge Motel, where it operated for another ten years before closing in 2009.
The Ma-Kiki closed in 1980. Today, it appears the Holiday Inn is now an EconoLodge.
The restaurant/lounge area of the old Holiday Inn complex looks to have been demolished at some point and replaced with a Sonic drive-in.
In January 1956 the Shanklin Hotel was advertised for sale at an auction in Southampton. The purchaser was Ben Brown, formerly a purser with P&O Cruises.
He is said to have got the idea for creating the hotel’s Polynesian Beachcomber Bar, complete with live alligator pool, from his world travels.
However, there is a great similarity between this bar and others in the Butlin's chain of Beachcomber bars and many suspect he just grabbed their idea, wholesale, spinning yarns about his travel experiences in the grand old Trader Vic tradition. The first of the Butlin's Beachcomber chain opened in 1960 at about the same time Brown opened his version.
The Beachcomber at the Shanklin Hotel closed in the late 80s (around '86). Much of the decor went into long-term storage.
The bar has been replaced by indoor grass bowling.
This location was built in 1962.
The theme was "pirate" with a good dose of Polynesian Pop, especially with the drinks.
This was one of the eight (at least) restaurants operated by the Specialty Restaurant company in the LA area that had various degrees of Poly Pop and Nautical themes.
Later, this site became Shanghai Red's, and then Whiskey Red's and at some point the roofline and interior were remodeled but much of the bones remain.
Most people associate Pieces of Eight with the cocktail of the same name which originated here and was later re-printed in Beachbum Berry's Re-Mixed.
Pieces of Eight: ½ oz Lime juice, 1 ½ oz Lemon juice, 1½ oz Passion Fruit syrup, and 1½ Aged Rum.
Shake or flash-blend with crushed or pebble ice. Pour unstrained into a tall glass, goblet, or tiki mug. Top with more crushed ice if needed and garnish with a lemon slice, a pineapple wedge, an edible flower – or all of the above!
Opened in February 2018.
This is a very modern bar without all the layers that one usually associates with traditional tiki bars. It has a sort of industrial look with lots of exposed brick and open space.
Then, again, they are not trying to be a "tiki" bar but a "rum" bar that happens to be tiki-friendly.
There are several nice carved tikis on display behind the back bar area and in a few other niches.
They are also true to their name with 200+ rums to select from.
In addition to rum, they have a selection of other spirits and offer a tight list of ten cocktails focusing exclusively on "upgraded" takes on classic rum cocktails like the Mai Tai and Hurricane.
The bar takes pride in using house-made orgeat and other tinctures and prepared ingredients.
Opened circa 2005.
This is a tiki interior-themed Dairy Queen. Otherwise the menu and exterior are the same as other Dairy Queens.
There is a big tiki god water fountain when you walk in. There are 3 large fish tanks, one is salt water and there is a thatched roof over them. Two of the corner booths are grass huts and the chairs are all bamboo. The walls have a bamboo wall paper with different Kahiki items, a 6-foot tiki god, nets, surf board, islands of Hawaii made by a Hawaiian friend of the owners, shells, etc.
The employees wear hawaiian shirts and leis.
Built in 1960. This location went into a downward slide despite its fantastic neon sign and took a very sleazy turn, around 1995, when it was converted into a porn theater, adult bookstore and sex-prop shop.
The site eventually fell into such repair that it was condemned in March 2004 and demolished later that year.
The sign was salvaged though, and eventually restored in 2011.
This sign and several other salvaged 1950's era neon signs (the Magic Carpet Golf, Arizonan Motel, and Medina's Sporting Goods signs) were installed along Drachman St. on the north edge of Pima Community College's downtown campus at The Neon Mile: Sock Hop on April 27, 2012. The re-lighting of the signs, donated to the college by the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, was celebrated on the night with a vintage car show, a fashion show, kids' games and some 1950's style dancing and music.
These signs are still here for viewing as of 2022.
The Tropicana Motor Hotel's original location was leveled and a concrete wall/fence construction built around it, but it is still basically vacant as of 2022.