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Tiki Lounge, Pittsburgh, PA (bar)

Pages: 1 37 replies

Name:Tiki Lounge
Street:Carson St

Ok Great place on any off night yes, BUT My wife and I went in for the first time in a couple of Months last night only to be greated with a beer and shot crowd wearing plastic lai's and drinking lots of beer.
The bathroom (mens) is a total disgrace, the auto faucets were broken with wires hanging out of the wall, the sit down facilaties were full of lots of nastiness.
The ladies (acording to my wife) was also in a state of shambles,(sad cuz itis an awsome bathroom) hanging lamps in the rear of the lounge are now broken.
Their dj played a song that all but chased us out,(Young MC's classic Funky cold Madina) as if the clientel wasnt enough, to make you want to puke,
On a positive note the drinks have improved. and no longer all taste the same. so if you can get past the clientel and bad music on the weekends, check it out.

[ Edited by: Humuhumu - fixing title of this location to fit Locating Tiki format - 2006-12-30 22:01 ]

Hi, This place sounds pretty awful...can you recommend a couple of Pittsburgh watering holes that are a little cleaner? Thanks!

Actually Its not that bad, I wish that I could say our house, but we don't have much of a bar, If your in a fix for Tiki in the burgh this is the onl game in town,
Provided you go on an off night, or late sunday you shouldn't have any problems.
OOO Wait theres the "Lava Lounge" Its owned by the same people, but usually doesn't draw such a crappy crowd. Its a bit further down Carson st. but on the oposite side of the street. No Tiki, but an awsome place,


Regarding Pittsburgh's Tiki Lounge -- A slight correction to the board's posting: the name of the bar is TIKI LOUNGE, and their website can be found at http://www.tikilounge.biz/ (On the website, the subject header is listed as "Sad Day In Pittsburgh") As of April 26, 2005, they no longer had the shark-shaped mugs (see DRINKS on the website), but did have mugs shaped like panda bears.

The decor in general is quite good. When you walk in the door, you have to walk through the mouth of a gigantic tiki head to get into the place. Up towards the ceiling there are some glass panes with scenery inside and water dripping down to give you the rain forest illusion.

The previous posting about the clientele is fairly on the mark. A warning to those who might go on the weekends: it appears they have a regular DJ (did not see any schedule posted on the website) which can add a cover charge to the drink prices - which are exorbitant by Pittsburgh standards. Mainly because you get to keep your mugs. The bar itself is great, though, and I would recommend going earlier in the day. The South Side neighborhood the bar resides in is a mecca for twentysomethings and the many college students in town - hence the previous complaints about the music and customers. The restrooms seem to be much improved since 2004.

The clientele aside, if you peruse the website you can see that a considerable degree of care went into creating this place, and I'd recommend it to any tikiphiles passing through Pittsburgh. If you do go, I suspect avoiding any Steeler or Pitt gamedays would be a good suggestion. And go early - before 9 or 10pm might be a better experience, and avoid Friday or Saturday nights after 10 unless you like to hang with the college crowd & their music.

[ Edited by: rupe33 on 2005-04-28 06:48 ]


[ Edited by: rupe33 on 2005-04-28 12:00 ]

[ Edited by: rupe33 2005-08-18 18:34 ]

I really feel offended by the "review" posted earlier about the Tiki Lounge in Pittsburgh. Yea, yea, we've all heard it before about the weekend crowd blah blah blah....but whats the alternative? They DON'T make money off the yinzer trash on the weekends, and then have to close because they can't feed themselves and their family? Me and my wife go there frequently when we know things will be good which is FOR MOST OF THE WEEK. So, please, don't anyone get the wrong impression if you're not from Pittsburgh. This is a wonderful place with great drinks and a friendly staff. And if you're a member of this board, this should be your first stop to imbibe in Pittsburgh.

OK well I guess I am mistaken, I do Need to amend my other review...
I know that the Tiki Lounge is an amazing place. I also know that a bar on Carson provided it aint Dees or the Moose is chock full of idiotic college frat biys and stupid girls that dont realise that lowrise jeans and midrifs show off the fact that they are NOT as skinny as they think they are.
Now with that said.
1-The "scene" is so small in the burgh as far as tikiphiles go that it is impossible to expect the tiki lounge to make money off the few of us there are. In fact I was hardly aware that there were any others in town with the exception of 2 other couples.
2-going to The Lounge after work IS nice and a treat, the bartenders are excellent on the preevening shift, and can really mix a mean drink.
3- I wish that the subculture folks would take over the Tiki LOunge, and make it our prefered watering hole, I cant see this happeneing tho, so I will continue to stay away from there during the evening hours of the weekend.
4- and FINALY, I do belive that this is one of the best bars in town, and am very hopeful that it will be around for a long time. I does have great decor, and the owners put alot of thought into all of their endevors, The Lava LOunge is one theirs as well and is just as awsome, In fact on the weekends I would recomend it over the Tiki for the simple fact that the college kids usually dont stagger down carson that far.
5- Who are you? If you are another burgh Tiki Phile I would love to meet you, I would also like to invite you to check out the following website, http://www.fraternalorderofmoai.org
on this site I go by the handle Von Yinzer.

SO in closing If I truely offended someone by being upset and posting a rant about what had happend to the Tiki Lounge, (The Faucets have been fixed, and the only reason the bathrooms were dirty was it was a friday night and well you know) I AM SORRY. I seem to have this awful habit of voicing opinoins and letting them be know.


Finally had a chance to upload some photos from my trip earlier this year to Pittsburgh's TIKI LOUNGE...

The neon sign greets you (sorry the torch is cut off in this one)

Cool wall sconce in our booth (I relish trying for photos with the flash off)

This "blue room" is off the stairway on the way to the basement bar - blink and you'll miss it. There's a small ledge for drink-resting. Bring ten of your friends and fill it up!

This is a view looking up the stairs; check out the KUs guarding the hallway on top of the ledge-

Some unusual furnishings from the basement bar area - sorry it's fuzzy - I was at this point!

Some of the mugs we collected that night - the non-panda ones had the joint's logo on the back. Very cool.

Here's a better shot of the KUs guarding the hallway - they're over your head as you walk through the place

This weird stalactite lamp hanging in the front bar fascinated me

This unusual receptacle/advertisement was out front of the bar...

Overall, highly recommended!


Just a quick review from a first-timer to the Tiki Lounge (I'm ashamed it's taken me this long to finally stop in!)

Anyway, I only was only able to drop in for a short time, so my impressions are based on an admittedly brief visit). I stopped in early on a Wednesday night mainly to avoid the weekend crowd.

DECOR: Really nice! Lots of tiki-centric sculpture, thatch, murals, mood lighting and misc. architectural elements. A highlight is a multifloor waterfall-type feature. There's several cozy booths of various sizes and a large area in the back containing a pool table. The lower levels contain neat li'l nooks and a secondary bar. A lot of time, money & energy clearly went into tiki-fying the place.

DRINKS: Pretty good. As I was only staying a short time (and driving) I only had one drink- the Suffering Bastard. Pretty tasty, decently strong, and I even put a crowbar in my wallet to splurge and keep the mug. They have several different souvenir mugs for sale and you can buy them with or without any drink on their menu...nice for collectors!

STAFF: The bartender was very friendly and quick. Seemed like a nice guy, and I got the impression that the regulars enjoy a good relationship with the bar staff.

MUSIC: The only negative for me. They have a jukebox with a pretty wide-ranging selection, but I would have liked to see it stocked with more theme-appropriate tunes (lounge, exotica, surf, rockabilly, etc.). Also, a minor complaint...but they had it cranked pretty loud, which made conversation difficult given the size of the place and how close to the tables the speakers were positioned (Yeah, I know...I'm old).

Overall, as was mentioned above, the Tiki Lounge has to cater to people other than tiki fanatics to pay the bills. As the evening wore on, I noticed what seemed to be their core customers (hipster-ish twentysomethings) gradually filling the place, so they must be appealing to more than just us retro-minded folks.

If you don't mind being at the mercy of a jukebox, I'd highly recommend checking it out (early on weeknights if possible). If this is our only tiki oasis in the 'Burgh, we could do a lot worse.

Cheers n'at!


I'm another Tiki crazed Pittsburgher. Nice to see the thread with all of you writing. I haven't been to the Tiki Lounge, but will be sure to go soon. I loved the pictures. Thanks for that. Just wanted to let you Tiki fans in Pittsburgh know that I live in the former U of Pitt frat, Fiji House. I bought it when they lost their charter! They had annual Fiji Island parties and I had to keep up the tradition. This summer I had my first Tiki fest with about 100 friends. Pig roast, bartender serving out of vintage mugs, loung music, etc. I have a website with photos of the event. I can post some here if you'd like to see. It was incredible. I'll do it again next July, so if any of you out there want to come, let me know!
Waiting for summer...Panampia


Hey Panampia-

I'd love to see the photos! Please post a link, pics or whatever if you get a minute.

And the annual shindig sounds great...count me in if you do it again this year. I don't live very far from Oakland, so I can probably lend a hand if you need help w/ anything.


Thank you for the interest. My 12 year old daughter whipped up this website in about 10 to 15 minutes. Geeze... take a look, it is great!
use yahoo or google.
Let me know what you think!


Very cool! You had a heck of a nice setup...especially the altar-type scene you had on top of that awning. It's also great that everyone came in the appropriate attire! The bar and all the accessories look top-notch too.

How was the reaction (if any) from your neighbors?

So what part of Oakland are you in? I'm assuming you're not too far from Pitt since you mentioned your place used to be a fraternity house.

I'm not a doctor, but I play one on the internet.

[ Edited by: Dr. Bamboo 2007-01-02 16:06 ]


Hi Doc,
I live on Wallingford near Neville.
The altar was so cool. The 8 ft Moai came about one night while I was watching TV. I grabbed some old picture molding, wound wire around it in a rectangle 8 feet tall, then took a bunch of chicken wire and made the face shape, adding the nose and lips, and cutting in for the forehead/eyes. My son and I paper mached it over the next few days, then I spray painted it with granite texture paint. It was awsome! I also had a fog machine up there and when it got dark, It started to fog up through all the colored lights. So cool. My two car garage was kept a secret until after everyone ate and drank alot, we all did a hula contest, a limbo contest, then I opened the garage and it was all set up like a dance room...disco ball, lighting, fountain, palm trees, ya shouldda been there!
All the mugs I collected for a few months from ebay. I built the bar framing, added tons of string lights, fishnet and fishing balls (vintage from the early 60's when we lived near, and vacationed on Cape Cod),puffer lamp...the bases of the bar are potting benches from Big Lots. Instead of the lattice attatched going up, I switched it and had it going down, then stapled those inexpensive straw mats on the inside and hung Tiki masks on the outside.
I brought out a portable fridge, 3 blenders and had a hired bartender, and even printed a menu. Along with beer and wine, we served up Mai Tai, Zombies, Pina Coladas, and for the commom folk, Margaritas. Next year I want to work on the menu a bit earlier and try my hand at the graphics. I did laminate them, and it was cool to have at the bar.
I'll take you up on the help next year. It was a monumental task, both before and after! This year I want to make a volcano for the top of that overhang where Mr Moai was last year. Smoke machine, lights, action! I dream big.


Fantastic! That's a monumental(no pun intended)amount of work.

As for next time- I'm there. Just gimme a shout and let me know if I can lend a hand.


Hey Doctor, thank you for the offer for help! Save the date, July 21 with a rain date of July 28th. I'll be getting in touch as it gets closer. Let any other tikiBurgers know. They are welcome...

I wish this place had higher ceilings, and more walking space. I checked it out a couple times when I lived in Pittsburgh for a year. I wanted WAITIKI to play here, but there's just no floor space/setup for a band. Do they still have those volcanic stalactites hanging down?

I think they still have the stalactites, but I've only been there once and don't remember all the little details :wink:

And I'm with you on the floor space. I wish they had a smidge more open area for live bands too.


Inky and I hope to check this out later this month. No posts since 2007--hope it is still open!

Yep it is still open,
What will you be in town for? PGH is not exactly a tiki meca.. anymore that is.. the escapism once ran rampant in these hills... but died off many moons ago.. The Tiki Bar is visually amazing, but the drinks as I recall were nothing to write home about.. then again it has been some time since I had been there...
When will you be in town? I might make it down there and round up some of the Tiki Folks that I know and meet up with you.
let me know!
Von Yinzer

[ Edited by: rustbeltcat 2009-06-03 03:25 ]

I'm glad you guys resurrected this topic. I'm going to be in Pitt in a couple weeks (23rd and 24th) and want to check this place out. Per Critiki, it's the closest existing Tiki Bar to Columbus.

MrSmiley and LoungeShark,

VonYinzer and myself are tiki brothers here in Pgh. Please let us know when you arrive so we can imbibe together!

Matango Derek


Inky and I will be in town Sat and Sunday . We hope to make it Saturday night--but I don't think we have a car. We are staying by the airport which seems a little far! Check your PM's


Any excuse is a good one for visiting a tiki bar right? Feel free to go anyway in case you just want to go and take a chance that we won't make it. We probably won't know if we are making it until the last minute-or when we walk in the bar! :)

I gotta say-this place is pretty cool! Granted, it was VERRRY busy and we were only there for about and hour so I couldn't really fine tooth the place. The drinks were fine, our waitress who was "filling in for someone else" was a little uncaring, but this place is pretty much over hte top! About 2 and a two half floors of places to hang out-the main bar area, the dance floor, the section above the dance floor, the Barnacle Bills Basement bar and the mini mezzanine "zombie" floor. Alot of work was done to this place. Sure-some 'tikis' aren't really tikis-but many are. Big complaint--the tiki mugs that have their name and the men's t-shirts with the bar name on it were both out of stock!
Hey locals! I left two ZAZZ buttons for you to find. Both are in the first booth AFTER the bar ends. One was on the mask

and the other is tucked
behind the top bolster on the left side of the booth near the walkway-see pictures.

Mr. Smiley is the most thirstiesterest of
Have a nice Tiki Day!
If you like it,it is ZAZZ! If you don't, give it a RAZZ.

[ Edited by: mrsmiley 2009-06-29 22:37 ]

I'm totally bummed in that the 24 hours or so that I was in your fine city that I couldn't stop by this place. However, that just gives me an excuse to go back, right?

On 2009-06-29 22:45, LoungeShark wrote:
I'm totally bummed in that the 24 hours or so that I was in your fine city that I couldn't stop by this place. However, that just gives me an excuse to go back, right?

We made it to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater -incredible!(about a 90 minute drive out of town),we missed the Andy Warhol and Carnagie museums. It seems Pittsburgh has more to offer than people give it credit for! Too bad my day and a half ther was so short!

Yep Pittsburgh is full of hidden treasures...
Its really an easy city to fall in love with, there is a reason we have made it to the most livable city list a couple times.. LOL


Did anyone get the ZAZZ pins? See 6-29-09 post.

I have been in Pittsburgh all week for the G-20 summit and making it to the Tiki Lounge has been on top of my list to visit. I finally made it there last night (Thursday) and I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised! It had all the right elements, private booths, lighting, water features, bamboo and thatch surrounding the bar and most of all, TIKI's! They had mugs and t-shirts in stock and the drinks were pretty good(I had a Mai Tai). One of the employees gave me a tour of the place and showed me how the pool table sinks into the floor to create a dance floor. He also told me how the owners dug the basement out by hand, yes-shovels and wheel barrels! The bartender was friendly and attentive and wore an ALOHA shirt with torn jeans. It looks like it has been there since the 50's but it has only been there 8 years. Now, the way Tiki Bars have become so scarce, it's hard to believe someone would build a new one as elaborate as this. Overall, if you are in Pittsburgh, don't miss it!

Aloha Tiki Mocamele! I'm glad you got to see the Tiki Lounge...especially during the G20! The whole city was in such shutdown/lock down during the summit that many Pittsburghers feared that visitors would not get to see what we are like here. We are fortunate to have such a cool place like the TL here. Did you get to see anything else?

Yes, a Pirates game and an Irish Pub that was more of a disappointment than any tiki bar I have ever been in! Beautiful city with all the bridges, day and night.

Regretfully it was my first time in Tiki Lounge yesterday. Mostly because I live 40 minutes south and every time we found ourselves on the Southside it was later in the evening and the place was filled with the beer/shot Yinzer crowd. (which I don't mind by the way, Yinzers are fun) but that's not the "tiki bar" atmosphere we were envisioning, so it always looked to cramped and crowded and we'd just keep walking...

After most of the reviews on here and tips from Pauly and others we decided to head in around 4pm yesterday to really check it out. Here's my review and thoughts in chunks:

THE DECOR: This place is a gem. You can tell the owners really put a lot of love and hard work inside. Even though it's relatively small place, there are plenty of cool nooks and crannies for hanging out.

THE DRINKS: The bartender (long light brownish hair) took his time making our drinks and they were strong and worth the price. Only 6 bucks if you don't buy the mugs with your drinks. 12-15 you can keep the mug, even though they're "stock" mugs, we were missing the one "see no evil" monkey mug, so that was a nice find.

THE SCENE: There is pretty much ZERO tiki scene in Pittsburgh. The bartender told me that tiki fans do come in every once in awhile but it's few and very far between. This made me sad because this place is a tiki gem. Right now it's pretty much just being treated as a regular southside bar that happens to be decorated with tiki, when there is potential for so much more.

DOWNHILL??? They've been out of their signature logo mug forever, and I guess the t-shirts they have hanging up are also out of stock, and I got the feeling as if the "tiki" end of things was just going slowly away.

PITTSBURGH TIKI FANS... we need to show this place some love and "take it back" before it's gone forever. I don't think it's in any danger of closing, but it sure could use some rallying to keep the "tiki" aspect alive. If we don't do it, nobody will. So if you're on here and local, email me at [email protected] or send a message here- Pittsburgh Pauly and I are planning a special "Tiki Tuesday" the first tuesday of the month ... details found in another post soon.

Thanks to the miracle makers (privacy haters?) at Google, you can now see inside of the Tiki Lounge.

AND this is just the main floor. You can kinda see the raised level in back with the booths but missing are: the basement and a little half floor between basement and the main floor.

Oh, and it's never that bright!

I can't seem to get the link to work, darn comma. BUt it works if you cpoy/paste.

[ Edited by: Pittsburgh pauly 2012-09-26 15:16 ]

[ Edited by: Pittsburgh pauly 2012-09-26 15:17 ]



Dagg posted on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 3:31 PM

On 2012-09-26 15:15, Pittsburgh pauly wrote:
Thanks to the miracle makers (privacy haters?) at Google, you can now see inside of the Tiki Lounge.

AND this is just the main floor. You can kinda see the raised level in back with the booths but missing are: the basement and a little half floor between basement and the main floor.

Oh, and it's never that bright!

I can't seem to get the link to work, darn comma. BUt it works if you cpoy/paste.

[ Edited by: Pittsburgh pauly 2012-09-26 15:16 ]

[ Edited by: Pittsburgh pauly 2012-09-26 15:17 ]

Wow thats cool, you can go right to the back. neat o

[ Edited by: Dagg 2012-09-26 15:32 ]

I LOVED this place! We got there right as they opened and quickly ordered drinks. The decor is wonderful and while we mainly sat at the front bar, I explored and really loved the layout/fountains. James was our bartender and did quite a great job mixing drinks. After a few rounds and getting to chat about music (both of us coming from the punk scene), he started going off menu and making his own twist on cocktails (Jameskillers/daquari's) that were just awesome. Sure, I spent more money than I expected at a bar in Pittsburgh, but holy cow was it a good time.

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