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It's fantasy time - your ultimate tiki bar

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What would you put into your ultimate tiki bar? What would it look like? What unusual features would it posess? Where would it be located?

It's time to fantasize!



I like your premise. A little clarification though. Would this be a home tiki bar or one for the general public or one limited exclusively to Tiki Centralites?

Tiki Bong


I have two dream tiki bars:
My first would be on an enormous yacht - I'd sail the south pacific for the rest of my days, with more rum on board than an oil tanker has oil (well close anyway) and a personal assistant/bartender.

The second would have appleton gold rum, bacardi light rum, and myers dark rum "on tap"... the bar would be located on an "island" in the middle of a giant pool with waterfalls etc... accessible to swimmers or by elevated footpath... It would have huge beautiful fake palm trees that like at "disney's animal kingdom" could emit a fine cool mist periodically or at my command...
At night I could push a button and a dance floor would swing out from the island, covering part of the pool. The music would be accompanied by dazzling light effects and jets of watter emmanating from the pool that followed the beat, weather the standard live Don Tiki performance (the house band), exotica, hawaiian, reggae, or the unusual live techno night with DJ Digweed, van Dyke, Moby, or Oakenfold.

My wife and I are hoping to buy and refurbish a house in Daytona Beach in the next two years (very near the Aku Tiki and the Hawaiian Inn) because there are lots of 50s/60s cottages a block off the beach that are affordable there. This is where we hope to build our ultimate home tiki bar and plant a tropical garden. The most unusual feature will be the native warriors we will need to guard the place, while we live in our condo in Orlando during the work week. Of course, all tiki-centralites will be welcome to visit once we get set up.

Swanky posted on Wed, May 8, 2002 1:29 PM

1000+ gallon marine aquarium that is either one entire wall or centrally located so you can walk around it.

Ever smiling native gals ( guys for the ladies ) who only speak enough english to take the drink/food order, dressed in grass skirts (only!). Much dancing too.

Barrels of rum of all flavors.

The floor would be tons of sand that is sifted for trash regularly. Like a big beach inside.

One side would be open to the white sand beach, facing the setting sun.

See Tarder Vic's menu for the general scene.

A nightly show featuring the maiden tied between two big tikis to be sacrificed to the "gods," etc.

One meal served a night, a luau with the giant cooked pig dug up and served.

Intoxicating aroma of ever blooming giant Gardenias!

The sound of waves lapping the shore and boat horns in the distance.

Hmmm... That's a start.

I'd have a bar that opened out onto a replica Tiki Gardens Tiki Path. The bar itself will have 1/125TH ( about 3 feet ) Scale models of the various ships my father served on in the Pacific theatre during World War Two. From the China River gunboat, to the destroyers he served on, along with pctures of him during that time, and the Merchant Marine ship he served on after WWII.
It would be a mix of 40's bar, with 60's pop. The lighting would be low, and there would be a stage with 3-d diaramas behind it.
It would always open at sunset, and close at sunrise.
Some day....

What a great question!
I'd have to have a nice waterfall - You know, that soothing sound of falling water behind an endless string of traditional exotica and polynesian tunes.
Waitresses in grass skirts & nothing else(thats right, no tops, as was traditional - I'm going for realism here guys!). Lots of carved tikis hidden behind thick tropical vines and exotic, colorful plants.

I'd like to make it out as if it was a hidden place that you, the customer, had just discovered. Each visit would allow you to find something new that you had not noticed before.

Naturally, I am partial to the Kahiki design. That A-frame hut look. I liked walking over the bridge into the darkened cove of the big, thick wooden doors. For a brief instance it was almost pitch black with the only illumination from floresent pools of water trickeling down the rocks on either side. Then you entered the lobby.

I like the aquarium idea too. Perhaps some polynesian pearl divers looking back at you while you eat pu pu platter or something.

No, don't get me wrong, I am not picturing a Kahiki knockoff - but where else could I get away with sea shell sinks in the bathroom and stalls with porthole doors.

Naturally it would have to go in OHIO so that you California people would have to travel a couple of days to some see it. (Yeah, see how YOU like it!)

Ahhh...what a dream.


I'd have to go for a faithful recreation of Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room.... minus the performance. (except for the chanting Tiki posts & the simulated rainfall in the windows!)


Trader Pup

visit Traderpup.com

[ Edited by: Traderpup on 2002-05-09 12:26 ]

Ditto. That. I would love to recreate the window rainfall. Next year when my Tiki room is built I am consulting with some Disney Project Imagineers who happen to be neighbors.

The bar would be on FANTASY ISLAND and frequented by Tattoo!

Ideal scenario:

SCOOBY DOO & gang would just arrive on the island via a special LOVE BOAT "mystery" cruise (imagine Dafnie sunning herself near the pool...or Fred slipping off to the promenade deck w/ another guest star such as Lyle Wagner or Charles Nelson Riley...or Scoob and Shaggie eating cruise-ship-size sandwiches at the captain's table, much to Captain Stubing's chagrine...or Velma waking up in Doc's bed w/ NO recollection of the night before).

Gopher would be kidnapped by the maniacal owner of the tiki bar (played by Vincent Price?) who poses as an unappeased tiki god in an effort to run Mr. Roark off the island so that he can begin drilling for oil.

And, of course the tiki bar owner would have gotten away with it too if . . .

:sheckymug: Tiki Chris :sheckymug:

[ Edited by: Tiki Chris on 2002-05-10 02:22 ]


Slightly OT- But speaking of Scooby....

Sorry if this has been discussed before, but a few weeks ago at Target, I bought a Scooby Doo action figure of "The Witch Doctor" from the episode "A Tiki Scare Is No Fair!" He comes with a removeable tiki mask!

Highly reccomended.



My tiki bar the"South Seas Saloon" is located in my basement which is okay, but the headroom is just six feet in height. I keep bumping my head on the beams. So my fantasy bar would be a room like a polynesian longhouse with carved and decorated posts and beams. On one end would be a sliding pocket door that would take you to the spa shaped like a tropical pool with a small waterfall. Surrounding you would be lots of ferns,orchids,and palms.
Back in the longhouse lovely wahines in coconut bras would be serving the best rum drinks around. Above your head would be a real outrigger canoe. At a small stage at the opposite end of the long house performers of all kinds of exotic music and native dancing would be doing their stuff. Pupus would be served from a massive tiki sculpture surrounded with giant clam shells.

A swordfish to go into our already wonderful Shangri-La, and of course 2 7 ft. tall tiki's just outside to greet you as you enter. A regular bartender would be nice too, one that will make your favorite of the day just by seeing it in your eye.

Tiki Kiliki


Well I suppose since I started this thread, it's about time I added my ultimate tiki bar...

First of all, 2 large imposing tikis would guard the door. You would not be able to see inside - just a large, dark wood double door would meet you. Once inside, it would be dark... VERY dark. Illuminated mostly by firepower - candles, torches, etc. Electric light would be taboo, ecxept behind the scenes in the kitchen and bar fridges, etc. All tables would be very private- booth style, and have roofs of thatch. inbetween each booth, or at least, running through the middle of the restaurant, would be a river, so that to get from area to area you would have to walk over small bridges. I would go less for the beach look, and more towards the Trader Vic's look - dark wood carvings, Tretchikoff pictures, and dark wood colored walls. In this atmosphere, your date would look unbeleivable sexy, no matter how homely they were, and the exotic romance would permeate the air...
I would like to have a very blurred line between the inside and the outside towards the back... is it a dark patio with a roof, or a restaurant with very open windows? Of course, in Canada this may be a problem, but this is fantasy time here.... There would also be a wall of tiki mugs behind the bar, behind plexiglass, mysteriously lit... picture a giant wall with every tiki mug ever made, all ina row, stacked up high... woohoo! Patrons would drink out of Shecky mugs, or any of the other fabulous Munktiki mugs... The food would be Tapas / Dim Sum / Izakaya style - like Tiki Tiki in Japan - just little bits here and there, no full dishes. everything presented with a flower on it, or otherwise flaming. This prevents the high Trader Vics style price tag - if you don't want a full meal, just come in for a snack and a Doctor Funk of Tahiti! The music would be selected by me, of course, and would involve 100% no Celine Dion or New Rock Alternative. Only Denny, Baxter, Yma Sumac and the like, or Tahitian war chants.

Oh yes, I almost forgot! There must be some sort of occasional eruption or waterfall a la Kahiki or Tonga room - either something erupts, or it rains, or something! Some mysterious faux weather event must occur.

For me the most fun part of starting this thread has been seeing what people focus on for their ultimate tiki bar - it says a lot obout where our tiki interests lie. For some, its all about the music, for others, the decor. for many, it's about the quality of drinks. And for a few, about how little the servers are wearing!!!!

My dream commercial tiki bar. Emphasis on the word dream.

"Bora Bora" is located in a large basement floor of a downtown type building in a mid to large size city on the east coast. Manhattan would be fun.

On the street level, the entrance is very small. Basically, just a dark wood door and a ratty carved wood sign that says "Bora Bora" and an arrow pointing to a button. Perhaps a cool tiki mask above the door with glowing red eyes. You press the button and the dark wood door slides open revealing an elevator done up all in dark wood with a thatched roof and tiki masks. The door slides shut once everyone is inside, and as the elevator s l o w l y descends, the lights dim and the sounds of Les Baxter's "Quiet Village" are heard. The door slides open, and instead of the noisy city street, the sounds of flowing waterfalls greats visitors. You walk out of the elevator and wind your way around a lush tropical garden with many tikis and waterfalls (kind of like the Mai Kai's garden), When you get to the end of the path, you cross a bridge over the "lagoon." Two large Moai tikis with fire coming out of their topknots guard the entrance to Bora Bora. The lagoon branches out into streams which flow throughout the entire place. There are small waterfalls throughout.

A beautiful wahine (or a well toned hunk, take yer pick) welcomes you to "Bora Bora" and guides you to your private booth. Lighting is dark, illuminated by candles, tiki torches, and those cool polynesian hanging lamps from Oceanic Arts, as well as pufferfish lamps and illuminated fish floats. Everything is dark carved wood and bamboo, and everywhere you look there is a layer of something - tikis, fish tanks, masks, Leetegs, etc. The drink menu is extensive, and excellent, because I've hired Beachbum Berry to design the drink selections, including an exclusive concoction, which of course comes in an exclusive tiki mug you take home. This mug changes every 3 months, too, just to drive the collectors crazy.

The food menu is also extensive and excellent - seafood, asian, and the typical "polynesian" dishes are available, but each given a special twist by the master chef. So tasty, that even people who don't normally go to themed places are unable to refuse a visit.

Denny, Baxter, Lyman make up the soundtrack, as well as newer exotica acts like Don Tiki, Tipsy, etc.

There is an excellent bar located in the back of the restaurant which has a stage for the occasional exotica act to perform live.

Everything is designed to look small and private, even though the place is HUGE. The dining rooms (perhaps named after polynesian islands) are rather small, but the booths are large and enclosed feeling. That loud, drunk group of partiers won't really disturb that couple celebrating their anniversary in the next booth over thanks to the design of the place.

There are also several rooms that are done up like living rooms, where large groups can go and hang out but still get drink and finger food service. These rooms can be reserved for groups to large to sit in booths.

There are "windows" everywhere, but there is very little light coming inside. Each of the windows has a cool tropical display - tikis, tropical plants, small waterfalls, etc. Every so often, it "rains" in certain rooms - the rain falls outside the windows for about 10 minutes, then it clears up and moves on to another room. The sound effect of the rain is soft and relaxing.

There is a gift shop as well, but there are no crappy island type trinkets. The gift shop sells tikis, mugs, light fixtures, etc. Basically, the gift shop unloads things that the restaurant no longer uses, because the whole place is always changing (but staying the same). Tikis and other artifacts are sold and replaced regularly, so that the spirit of "Bora Bora" always remains intact, but the details of each visit are different.

After your meal (or evening of drinks and tapas, or just drinks), you walk back out, past the sentinels, through the waterfall garden, and back to the elevator. As you rise up s l o w l y to the street level, the sound of "Quiet Village" fades away and the door opens, leaving you back in the "real" world.

Faraway, so close.



Uh, I think you just described my ultimate bar... but better. I bow in deference!

I had been thinking about this one since the thread started but was too lazy to write it up, so when I read your description I was struck by how similar it was to what I was dreaming!

So I was inspired to write mine out. I hope I didn't offend!


Of course not. Need I say it? Great minds think alike!

Disclaimer: This post in no way denegrates the value of other posters opinions. The opinion expressed within is the opinion of Tikifish only, and does not reflect the opinions of Torontonians in general. Offer valid only in Tuktoyaktuk. Some restrictions may apply. Please see dealer for details.


My version of the ideal tiki bar begins by boat--a la Disney's Jungle Cruise (although without the snappy banter). The pre-war wooden launch pulls away from the river dock just outside our front door and chugs quietly downstream, through forest increasingly tropical. After wending its way along for ten minutes (or faster, depending upon our thirst), we reach the lagoon, as from Gilligan's Island. Liat, from the movie "South Pacific", swims up to us and bestows leis upon all passengers as we walk the gangplank down to the lagoon's beach. The trees and shrubbery around us abound with exotic creatures. Directly ahead of us up the beach, a cleft among a formation of lava conceals a huge carved stone head, with an open mouth large enough to enter through. (There's a garden in Italy with a carved stone head with a mouth you walk through, but I believe that one leads to the gates of hell. Different head.)

Illuminated by flickering torches, we descend a gentle slope to reach the maitre d's podium. Thor Heyerdahl greets us and shows us to a booth in a dimly-lit room set up like the Tonga Room, circa 1968. A couple dozen familiar faces are scattered around the room, attached to their respective heads and bodies, in various states of sobriety and gaiety. Couples are cha-cha-cha-ing on the dance floor. On a raft in the middle of the pool are Martin Denny and his combo, taking requests. Jane Seymour--exactly as she was as "Solitare" in "Live and Let Die", sits alone in the next booth, shuffling a tarot deck. Small tropical birds that have been trained to cheep quietly and only poop where permitted flit around, and geckos climb the walls. Donn Beach is mixing drinks which are served by an assortment of Sylvain's models in pareos. A kitchen somewhere hidden down a soundproof tunnel is roasting a soy-pig. Every three minutes, a serving girl comes by with a tray of endlessly varying finger-foods from different Pacific cultures.

The smoking room, off to one side, has two billliard tables and an eight-hose hookah full of the Turkish hash that one can legally buy for $3 a gram, about a mile away from where I now sit, digressing. A vast Leeteg velvet mural covers all four walls. Walter Wanderley sits in the corner and noodles on the B3. The young Astrud Gilberto wistfully sips a cocktail next to him on the bench, idly swinging one foot in rhythm.

Across the dining room, another tunnel leads to a warren of individual guest caves, each with an ocean or lagoon view and set up for providing optimal comfort to guests who are expecting hangovers.

If we take the back exit of the dining room, we emerge onto the beach, which is programmed for perpetual sunset and mild surf tuned to the key of A major 7. Soledad Miranda wanders mysteriously by the shore in a diaphanous gown. As we walk back on the path to the lagoon, we pass numerous carved wooden and stone figures, weathering away in charming decrepitude, illuminated by the full moon. At the lagoon's edge is a small pier that we walk along to its end, where we climb down into one of Disneyland's original submarines. However, this one has a bamboo bar cart down inside, serving headhunters and painkillers (the cocktails). Outside, polynesian mermaids swim with dolphins and assorted fish among the wrecks of the Spanish Main. At the helm is Cap'n McCallister ("Aahrr!") and...

I think it's time I went off to bed.


First off I have to state that I am NOT stalking TikiFish's postings. They just seem to be some of the most interesting ones to me. Maybe its the Canadian mindset or something.

One of my great Tiki bar fantasies is to buy a drive-in and redo it all Tiki. Now the projection building would be two stories with a basement and rooftop patio.

The main floor is standard drive-in fare with snackbar, wahsrooms, etc. The second floor is all Tiki bar exceept where the projection booth is. Details are hard to pin down as it has to be evolving, maybe a little more trader-Tiki like than lounge-Tiki. However I think it would be fantastic to have a tanning area somewhere there. They have something like that in West Edmonton Mall, where it's like a boardwalk with a bunch of sunlamps in a grid above. Way chic.

And then off course the roof-top patio that would be little more lounge-Tiki, very laid back, very stars in your eyes, romatic-okaaay?!

We'd live in the screen, or at least the two story home that supports the screen.

And, of course, this drive-in would be all drive-in classics.


theMuggler, thanks for the awesome visual brain candy, I was so inspired by your words that my hand just started sketching, well...

:sheckymug: tiki tOny

Great sketch tikiTony!


To see that image, enter the URL directly into your webbrowser. If that doesn't work, remove the http:// from the URL and try it again.

it's a Geocities thing.


[ Edited by: hanford_lemoore on 2002-09-13 15:04 ]


Flesh that sketch out in some lovely colours and define the edges just a touch and that is a marketable pice of art in my mind. Just make it big enough to hang.

I'm with TikiGuy. Don't suppose you want to flog any prints/originals at Tikistock 2002?

Trader Woody

Tikistock 2002 ? What/Where/Who...When? Maybe I will use this sketch for my next painting, if not I'll photoshop in some colour and clean up. tHanks for the interest/motivation.
:tiki: tiki tOny

Everything to be chrome! Chromed bamboo, chromed thatch, chromed mugs, chromed rum, chromed floors, walls, ceilings, chromed hula dancers, chromed tikis. I swear I'm not getting burned out!

There is a place in Indianapolis with a Northwoods lodge theme called Loon Lake Lodge(some may know it). I want something as big as that with a pure, pure vintage tiki temple atmosphere. The resturaunt sits with bridge acess in the middle of a huge private pond, surrounded by colossal Moso bamboo and various King, Florida, and Mexican Fan Palms, for the atmosphere of a sleepy cove on Eden's Island. Straight Haus Tambarin style outside, with gas torches and huge Tahitian tikis outside. To the left of the front entrance lobby one would be greeted with a 50-foot long rope-separated diorama featuring genuine artifacts from genuine tiki meccas of the past along with their history (starting with the two Imperial Luau tikis and working up to the brilliance of Steve Crane, Vic Bergeron, and Donn Beach). Entering the resturant you walk past a 25-foot long wall-sized aquarium with live rays, small sharks, and brightly colored reef fish. Once inside the main area it as if you are outside again, with facing walls of huge meeting houses and longhouses and comprising the dining area, with researched exteriors, mattings, and lashings for accuracy. Nary a foot of space is left undetailed with artifacts both sinister and romantic (people are in love with danger),such as beautiful Polynesian weapons, wares, and HUGE tikis everywhere and in great variety, with careful attention to handcarved detail, strictly impressive, (none of the cheapo Florida severed head variety). Animatronic birds call from every direction, and animatronic snakes and animals move in the day-skylighted live palms above. Waitresses and waiters (no one thinks about the ladies having something to look at anymore) in scant native garb serve the guests in grand tropical style (I need to quit before my budget hits 10 mil!)...

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