Tiki bars are hot … “Polynesian Pop”… Revived

Great video – you MUST watch it!

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal declared that, “A Polynesian Pop revival is under way” — with tiki bars all the rage on the west coast. Some of the 50s and 60s classic tiki bars still exist…and, some entrepreneurs are even recreating that favorite vintage style in all-new designs.

Bradbury.com – vintage reproduction Tiki wallpaper

No question – we retro renovators have long embraced tiki-dom. After all, so many of our houses have basements all ready to go, with built-in bars stuffed in the corner.

Brian over at Atomic Addiction is a particular tiki-maniac. See this string of posts all featuring different home-grown tiki bars that he has catalogued. Brian also found the great video with Tiki Quest author Duke Carter (above) and points out that his book is the “must have” for tiki collectors.

Read on for more facts from the Wall Street Journal and the complete story –>

Meanwhile, here are some tiki facts from the Journal:

  • Polynesian restaurants that proliferated in the ’50s and ’60s were once power tables for the elite. The Trader Vic’s at New York’s Plaza Hotel was a favorite of the buttoned-down preppy crowd. And many were the Gotham debutantes who, like journalist Nikki Finke, had their “first drunken evening on Samoan Fog Cutters at Trader Vic’s.”
  • Polynesian Pop was also an eminent variety of Americana. When Nikita Khrushchev and his wife visited San Francisco in September 1959, Madame Khrushchev slipped away from her official minders and went off to experience America first-hand. She shopped at Sears and lunched at Trader Vic’s. When Queen Elizabeth II visited California in 1983, it was at Trader Vic’s that the Reagans took her to dine.
  • Today, twenty-somethings have embraced Polynesian Pop in their own way, adorning themselves with Maori tribal tattoos. And even through the lean years of the past two decades, some of the great old tiki joints managed to survive, among them the magnificent Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the intimate Tiki-Ti in L.A.

The official Beachcomber’s Creed:

“Of ALL Life’s Pleasures deeply drink/At every worry give a wink/It’s MUCH MUCH later than you think.”



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  1. anita says

    We just got back from a week in Waikiki on Friday night. One of my main missions was to drink at some good old tiki bars leftover from the 50s & 60s – sadly I was not successful. The hotel across the street from us had a new tiki bar that was quite nice, served our MaiTai’s & Pina Colada’s in tiki mugs or coconuts! We searched the web, asked locals etc and nobody could direct us to a vintage place. I’m hoping they make a come-back all around – we have been in the process of transitioning our 1950s diner style family room area into a 1950s diner/tiki area. Our next project is to create a thatched style awning over the breakfast bar area between the kitchen and family room.
    I had also thought that I would find a good ‘Tiki Bar’ sign in Waikiki and other tiki-esq must-haves but came home pretty empty handed – our Tiki’s Grill tiki mugs are about it – but Waikiki was a blast!

  2. says

    Hey Pam.
    Thanks for the plug. I caught wind of this and was going to do a post myself on the subject. I’m on the fence when it comes to rags like The Wall Street Journal doing subjects close to my heart. Could be good…could be bad.

    Just a heads up…The link you posted to my Tiki posts is broken. There is a word right before the HTTP: that has to be taken out of the address.

    I always like it when Monica and you post Tiki stuff!

  3. says

    About Hawaii and Tiki: i though the same thing years ago before i first went, it must be Tiki-mecca! But it never really was as “Tiki” was created in the mainland, in an effort to capture the feel of the islands and bring it home, as an escape. Hawaii had so much to offer that there was no need to an escape once there. Ironically, once the Tiki craze became really popular on the mainland (1950’s) it did spread back to Hawaii to a small degree.

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