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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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I visited the Kona Kai in Athens, Greece last week and have to say it was a damn fine Tiki bar! It was built in 1984, so the decor relies more on the large Tiki statues than having a whole bunch of fishing nets and other oddments about. One wall just has fantastic Pacific scenes on glass, all lit up from behind, just like the classic Kona Kai's in the US. (See The Book of Tiki).

The old Kona Kai mugs have all been stolen, but there remain great old S&P pots
as well as a metal lamp based on the old mugs on each dining table. Tiki mugs are still used for drinks, but they are mainly the old 'Trader Dutch' type.

A very classy place, though,(It's in a 5 star hotel) and as an example of a successful 80's Tiki bar, as well as being one of the last (the last?) of the Kona Kai's, well worth a detour to Greece!

Hopefully I'll have some photos back soon, and I've just written a fuller review which won't fit here at:

http://traderwoody.iwarp.com/konakai.html

Trader Woody

Very cool! This qualifies as one the most remote finds of Tiki culture to date. Modern primitivism at the cradle of classic Western culture. Amazing that Marriot went with the concept at such a late date (80s).
Well, the Hamburg Trader Vic's was built in 1992 and is pretty authentic, with fishnet floats and blowfish lamps included..

I finally got around to getting my Athens photos processed, and here's a few of the Kona Kai. It was a little tricky getting the photos as people were eating and I'd already had problems with the staff (see report).


This Tiki was actually pretty big and formed the centrepiece of the resaturant. That's a waterfall effect on either side of it (real water), though it didn't translate to film too well. (Also note diorama in the background which looked amazing close up).


Cook Islands head

Bit of a weird one!

Wall decor

Your host in the hotel lobby at the Kona Kai display.

Well, not the most fascinating pictures ever, and the ones in the bar were too blurred to bother with, but at least it's a glimpse into the Kona Kai world.

Trader Woody

[ Edited by: Trader Woody on 2002-10-13 07:27 ]

Too bad you have to deal with the Athenians to see it. Why didn't they build on it Istanbul?

Olympian bump.

Trader Woody

I LOVE the Kona Kai !!

We were in Greece last year and stayed at the Athens Marriot, which houses the Kona Kai. Needless to say, I was blown away !!

Generally speaking, Greece knows nothing about Tiki ! There are no kitsch monuments or run-down Hawaiian theme hotels. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find a monument paying homage to anything sooner than 500 BC !! In a setting such as this, you'd expect a "Tiki Bar/Restaurant" to be miserably off-course, serving blended margaritas or something, and passing that off as exotic.

I could not believe how 'detail specific' everything was : from the Tiki salt and pepper shakers, Tiki mugs, incredible polynesian menu, awesome drinks, Tiki lamps, Exotica dinner music...the list goes on.
In fact, more Tikis abound in this '80's era (?!) Tiki bar than in classic US Tiki hotspots such as Bali Hai.

An incredible restaurant...an incredible dining experience.
If anyone is headed out there for the Games or anything else, do not miss it !!!!

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