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Waitiki, Orlando, FL (restaurant)

Pages: 1 27 replies


Street:Wall Street Plaza


Room for 80 in lower bar.
60 outside.
Dozens upstairs.
Works by Flounder, Joe and Donella Vitale, Wayne Coombs and SHAG.
Rain Cape Tatch over lower bar.
Bathrooms decorated with cutouts from Book of Tiki.
Lots of lit pufferfish and glass floats.
Shag-like lounge upstairs.

pablus posted on Fri, Oct 1, 2004 3:05 PM

The place is terrific looking.

Wait staff... annnhhhhhh... a bit like a college frat or sorority that doesn't want to include you. But at least they're quick.

Food is excellent. Good original dishes and fresh stuff.

The drinks aren't bad. A bit on the sweet side but the bartenders didn't seem to mind being asked for a bit more sour.
Drink menu needs more "old school" drinks. Something bitter, etc. Also, their rums need an upgrade.

Bonus points for fresh mint.

Odd crowd: ecstacy kids meet overwrought businessmen and sports fans.

The music - the live music - has been cool so far but the piped in stuff needs to be thrown into the core of a nuclear reactor.

The upstairs looks like a shag painting.
Very chic and unique.

I enjoy visiting even though it's a fairly long drive, and will go back to see a good music set or hang with ohana.

All in all it's a good tiki bar.
Wish we had one in Tampa.
Kahunas is horrible.

Vodkanauts will be there on Friday October 22nd. We were supposed to play there twice before but had been cancelled due to huricanes, which ever their names were? Hopefully, we can finally check out the place this time.


I will have to check it out when I am down in January.


Well I didn't have a night with baby sitters for the kids, so the whole family hit the place for lunch on the way out of Orlando. We sat outside for which was the warmest day we had in Florida our whole trip. Had a Mai Tai, appetizer sampler (dig the wasabi dipping sauce) and the Krispy Kreme bread pudding. The wait staff was very friendly. The décor was pretty cool. All modern tiki artists, no vintage stuff, but I guess that is what you would want in a bar which could potentially get rowdy. I would love to have one of those oversize SHAG reproductions in my basement. The Monkey Bar upstairs was not open, but I grabbed my younger son and took a quick tour… Pretty cool! I would like to go back without the little ones and explore the drink menu further someday.

I was there twice, in the beginning and the end of my Florida expedititon. Naomi was really impressed by the Monkey Bar, and I must say they did a good job of creating a retro midcentury modern/Tiki look up there, with whimsical monkey paintings.

The main bar was interesting: Although they seemingly did everything "right", not skimping with the decor, getting Tikis and art from many quality noveaux Tiki artists (and some O.A. carvings) that we all know and love here on TC, even wallpapering the men's room with BOT images like at the Purple Orchid (not quite, they did not use complete pages, with the text, but xeroxed and blew up photos and art from the BOT and collaged it nicely into wallpaper, with some other art).

Yet somehow it lacked feeling, it was kind of square, like too "by the book", not frayed at the edges, if you know what I mean.
The sports TVs and the horrible music were taken for granted, but even with Arty or Marty on the stereo it would have felt not quite there, something missing, like....the soul.

I am not saying it's a bad place. Definetely worth visiting. The above might just be my subjective, vintage Tiki lover opinion.


im intrigued by this place and would like to check it out- do they have a website?

being from melbourne beach, i do get into orlando from time to time

Jawa posted on Thu, Apr 7, 2005 6:02 AM

Hey everyone...
I was just going through the posts here looking for places in Florida, around Tampa preferably, and found this post. Then I searched and found this site:


There are four pictures and the food menus, but not much else since the site is for the whole plaza-thing.

I am continuing the search for tiki around Tampa, but it is kinda disheartening going a "tiki bar" only to find another Green Iguana, Kahunaville, or similar Caribbean style alcohol distributation area...

Oh well, the search goes on!!! :tiki:

Beautiful lounge, food could be a little more polynesian, same with the drinks. Decor is cool and no expense was spared to create the tiki atmosphere, but as another poster said...
"It's kinda missing a soul"


This is the place that help me get the wife over the hump about decorating the house "Tiki Style". I have a Tiki themed patio outside already, so I was making no headway in my quest to extend the theme in to the house.

Well one night her work had a party there, and she fell in love with the look of the place.
We started planning the transformation of our house the next day.

Our dining room ceiling is identical to the ceiling in the lower level of this place.

I work just a few blocks away and go there for lunch a few times a month.

[ Edited by: GatorRob 2006-02-15 16:55 ]


Just got back from the Waitiki. I had been there one afternoon just looking around at the decor and I really dug the looks of the place. I thought the owners must really care about it to put this much into the decor. Well, I finally got down there for happy hour and what did I think about it? Can you say MAJOR disappointment?!?

Let's start with the drinks. My companion ordered a Mai Tai that looked like Kool-Aid with a straw. Pink. No garnish. And how did it taste? Just like Kool-Aid. I had a something-or-other Punch that promised a 151 float and the menu warned this was a "lethal drink!" Sounded promising. How did it taste you ask? Like Kool-Aid. It was so bad I couldn't even detect a hint of rum in it. The 151 float must have sunk right out the bottom of my mug and onto the floor. I left at least half of this putrid drink for the drain.

The waitress came back and asked us if we wanted another round. My companion asked her for a drink suggestion and her response was "oh, I don't really like those sweet drinks". My prompt response was "neither do I". So the second round was beer. Let me tell you, a plain old cold beer never tasted so good as it did after those horrible drinks.

The food was only mildly better. Not bad, but nothing special. The Krispy Kreme dessert thing that I heard about no longer exists on the menu. That makes me wonder if this place has changed hands. By what I have read from others, it seems that it was once on the verge of being something special, but now the patient is dead I think.

The music? 80's pop. No surprise there, but still. Ick. (Nothing against 80's pop mind you, but in a well decorated tiki bar?)

I tell you what I'd like to do is rescue those poor Flounder paintings and the other great art hanging on the walls and put them somewhere where people will actually appreciate them. They are far too good to be wasted on this place. It's a shame too really. Such a great location and the place is so nice looking. All it needs is an owner who cares and a clientele who appreciates it. If that ever happens, I'll be first in line at the door. In the meantime, it's time to head to my home tiki bar and remind myself what a REAL drink tastes like.

[ Edited by: GatorRob 2006-02-15 17:32 ]

Pyro posted on Fri, Feb 17, 2006 8:40 PM

I keep meaning to check this place out. Everyone I know who's been says while the decor is fabulous, the people are horrid. Guess I will try it early in the day, before the crowd shows up.

Just show up before lunch on the weekend and you can walk around and look at the art on the walls. Past that, I find no particular reason to ever go back (short of a miraculous turnaround in the drink quality and music selection). If you're into martinis, check out the Monkey Bar upstairs.


Can anybody on the I-4 Corridor give directions to the tiki hell bar ????



Any local ohana up for a get together at Waitiki this Friday night? I'll be in town for business this week and wanted to wrap it up with some fun. It'll also be a good Hukilau warm-up.

Okay, I am downtown and happy hour at Waitiki starts in less than an hour. If any of the Tampa Ohana see this come on by.


I came I saw I......

What a cool place, it gets a 10 for tiki decor and craftsmanship. I also rate the service highly. No mugs was a real bummer but on the upside the manager does want do something along those lines. No real polynesian classic cocktails fruity MaiTai's, etc. although their speciality "Polynesian Lemonade" was quite tasty and their Mojito's rock! It looked like they were into the cosmotini crowd pretty heavy too. Regular pub grub with an island flair (cheeseburger with mango salsa, etc.) the quality of the food was good though. sports on TV's and plain jane music (not even any Buffet).

This place defintely has potential if they can try to be more authentic with the drinks and music. The owners definitely spared no expense on the decor which makes it worth a visit alone (be sure and check out the upstairs "Monkey Bar"). Eric the manager seems to really want to address some of the above which is a great start. I told him about TC and I think he is even going to drive over to Lauderdale for the Thursday night festivities at Hukilau.

I'll post some pics soon. Heading home tomorrow.


p.s. Great veranda upstairs for watching the shuttle launch this evening too.

Okay here are the photos:

Floor Mosaic

Tiki Sign

Nice veranda


Main bar

Thanks for the tip Pablus!

The Waitiki is a good example of two factors that are helpful in opening a nouveaux Tiki Bar in this day and age:

1.) Financial backing. Just like the Waitiki in London, this place was opened by people who already own several successful clubs/bars in that town. They had the money to a.) invest in the concept, b.) to stick with it. Any new business takes a year or more to recoup its expenses, and if there is no back up money, some have to close before they can.

2.) Location. The Waitiki is located in a night club neighborhood which already had several successful bars and restaurants. What any new business needs is people, so go where they already go. Only WE make pilgrimages to bars. I think everyone agrees by now that a new Tiki bar cannot be sustained by Tikiphiles alone, especially not in towns like Orlando. To complain about the ignorance of its frat pack clientele is un-constructive, because of those people's business WE can enjoy the art and atmosphere of the place. Careful missionairy work to improve cocktail and music quality is adequate, but success must not be taken for granted.

Thanks for the photos Matt, the mosaik is great. I miss some pictures of the restrooms though, they share the Purple Orchid's concept of using BOT pages (and other art) as wall paper...at least I hope they still do?


On 2007-06-10 15:56, rugbymatt wrote:

This Moai is new. Haven't seen it before. Glad to see they're adding to the decor.

Bigbro - Yes, the men's room is still covered in BOT wallpaper and looks good.


I'm going to be in Orlando next month. Still worth a visit?


Any place with a Bosko carving on the wall is ok with me.

The Exterior is hideous, but I'm guessing they can't do too much about that. Great signage tho'

The art in Waitiki is top notch....
With that said, I would suggest going there early (as it looks like RugbyMatt did).
From my experience, the vibe is completely different at that time than at night when the place turns into a soul-less pit of breast implants and hair gel...

Plan is surf school in the AM, Slacktone in the PM. Thought maybe this would be a decent place for dinner. Mai Tai says the right things, except maybe the Bacardi. Will have to check it out.


The fact that I lived in Florida for over 25 years and I went to Orlando at least 3-4 times a month and never heard of this place is a little disappointing.

What a great place inside! I NEED those leopard covered chairs.

Wonder if it would be possible to smuggle them out ???

Pyro posted on Thu, Jan 22, 2009 10:22 PM

It's sad I haven't been there yet. Especially since we have the same artwork.

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