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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Thanks, everyone, for the continued kind words and encouragement!

Lori, that's a good idea about the piranha. We have also been thinking about fish tanks for a while -- not for piranha, but setting up either a saltwater tank or freshwater neon tetras. We've seen bigger tanks that come on stands and they also give us an idea to make dioramas in them -- not even necessarily with water but with lighting to give it an underwater effect. We'll see what happens in the "beach" room...

Tabu, we can't believe you actually went to the Careless Navigator! Alva Bartke was a famous restaurateur and the CN was her crowning achievement ... for a time it was a top contender for best restaurant in Florida ... and yet there is very, very little out there on it. The building may still exist -- we heard it was eventually sold to a recording studio and they kept all the nautical decor inside the recording area -- but the only color photograph of the interior that we know of is a close-up photo of the bar. There's a few blurry black and white images that ran in local papers, and that's about it. Your last post probably has more about the place than just about anywhere else online. So in other words if you have any other memories of the place (or, could we even dare to hope, pictures), we'd love to hear (or see) them!

Ok, time for some more updates.

We've got the stairwell pretty much down. (Is that a pun?)

If you've ever been to Old Tony's in Redondo Beach, that's what we were going for and you'd recognize the "Wall of Stars." For years and years we've been collecting autographs from our favorite (and, frankly, aging) celebrities. So finally we get to hang them up:

At the top above the entrance is the sign, painted on sheet metal:

The lettering was inspired by various old signs, brochures and logos from Treasure Island. Don't have any of them scanned right now but this is one example:

Once all the walls and ceiling were in place, we were able to carpet the Wreck Bar and then finally start decorating. These guys were happy to get out of their boxes:

Here's the Wreck Bar area with all the underwater lighting on:

A few more details of the Wreck Bar:

We don't know the make of the big ship piece on the right but we saw it hanging in the lobby at The Warehouse in Marina Del Ray. Ditto as to the make on the fish plaque on the left but something in the same style was behind the front desk at the Yankee Clipper in Fort Lauderdale (which, sadly, was recently "renovated" inside):

More soon!

Holy smokes - you guys...

My wife and I just signed on the dotted line for our very first house, and we've got a bottom floor that we're going to be knocking out and renovating. My wife sold me on the idea of buying this house by saying two words: "Tiki Bar".

You guys, this entire thread is a HUGE inspiration to me - a total shot in the arm for a few years down the line. I love what you've done, and I thank you for showing off. So very awesome!


Welcome, Spook! Go say hi in the introductions thread, make sure you read what TC is about, and spend a LOT of time surfing before you start your bar. It's a wealth of information and experience from people who have put a lot of time and effort into tiki. I hope you'll be able to find even more inspiration here.


I am swooning over that TV...it all looks fabulous...great lighting!!!


Fantastic! I would say the TV makes it, but there is so much cool there. Well done.


OMG love your use of space and lighting!! Truly looks like an expensive dive bar!!! your little pockets of "tiki-coolness" are inspirational!!! wish I had a space like that, maybe I should tikify my garage ? lol
cant wait to see more!!!! yours is in my top 10 favs!!!!

Thanks everyone, it's been way too long since we updated this thread. Been busy working on it and that means some changes and lots of updates. More pics soon...


Lookin good!
You could get a disco ball motor and put some fish on it then hang above Mermaid
to add some swimming things to the scene.
Grate job!


Wow! One of the most innovative home-bars I've seen. Sooooo cool. I love all the effects!! There is a cd called "The Ancient Mariner" that has the sounds of being on an old ship from harbor to harbor. I got a copy of it ages ago and it's pretty cool and would add a great effect to your place. It can be found here.http://seagifts.com/sounofseaaud.html . Again, your place looks great.

Matt, thanks, we've been thinking about sound effects so that CD will come in handy for us!

We've learned some things since first undertaking this project. Firstly, that having one of these home tiki bars is almost like having to take care of a small bar or restaurant---there is always maintenance, cleaning, planning, and tweaking and these four things will never end. If something doesn't need to be repaired, polished or dusted, you just aren't looking close enough!

The other thing is the concept of replication. When we began, we were very intent on recreating, as perfectly as we could in our own small way, certain pieces or aspects of these places of the past. But we learned that an exact replication is not always desirable. As we continued to build various parts of the project, and tweak others to suit the vision, something Bamboo Ben had said kept coming to mind---to paraphrase, "there's nothing perfect about tiki." In other words, you don't have to be clinically precise in your construction (to a certain degree, of course). And in the same way, these old establishments did not seek to perfectly replicate primitive South Seas civilization---that would not be the happy idealized places that we know. Instead, they took the best aspects and used them to create an atmosphere. It felt authentic, but this was a different kind of authenticity---the horror of cannibalism was reduced to a potent "headhunter" cocktail served in a scary mug.

The photo wall has been growing:

But more time has been spent on this:

We knew we needed a giant, life-sized, fire-breathing tiki, and no better tiki for a Treasure Island themed place than one from nearby Tiki Gardens in Indian Rocks Beach. Our favorite was Kahona. We wanted to bring him back. We did!

The shell eyes are backlit with (fake) fire like the real Kahona at Tiki Gardens originally was. Here he is in night lighting:

And we finally put in the grotto with lava rock wall and waterfall. Notice next to the peacock chair in the picture is a brown retro princess phone---it's wired up and works.

We have found that lighting is one of the most important factors for getting the right feel and mood. In the grotto area we have employed a few small LED spotlights to highlight and otherwise everything is colored light. We've been experimenting with cool blue light for a 'night' feel and also have a psychedelic 60s color light that changes colors and patterns:

A few more updates:



Dagg posted on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 11:19 AM

Love it!

FABULOUS!!!! Great work and the lighting really makes it.


Looks killer. Love the photo wall, and the fire breathing tiki is awesome, great look and execution! Thanks for all the pics!

Fantastic! Love the wall of stars!

Very inviting.....good job!

Great looking space!

Thumbs up!


GREAT to see you guys again!
You two are what I will now call Truhana.

Lets see some up dates of yer place.

Wow, is it ever about time for some updates here. Been so long that we are floating plans for revamping part of the place that is "done" in the pics above. But that will come later...

First of all, we've had a bit of a branding issue going on. All of this we've done is here at Space Age Central, and initially our basement lounge area was the Treasure Island Room. No problem. But ... it soon became apparent that we were going to have much more than a 'room'! Things expanded over the past few years. At this point, our tiki fever has taken over the entire basement (sans workshop), a family room, and now (on the way) the entire backyard! "Room" anything is no longer going to fit!

Every room and area in our tiki world has its own name, like the areas at the Mai-Kai or the rooms at Bern's Steak House. So on the list now are proper signs for them all. Another excellent project for the router!

The first one is up in the Wreck Lounge. This is another one of those 'tribute' pieces to the two Wreck Bars of south Florida. We took two reference pics at the Yankee Clipper location, seen here:

Marie's careful tracing skills of the image as displayed on the monitor gave us a template to work with...

Then that was painted on a piece of found driftwood that we had first prepared with several poly coats, and hung it with chains in the entrance to the lounge:

Every tiki bar needs a pufferfish. It seems to be some kind of rule. So this puffy which we found at an old Florida gift shop got made into a light...

We hung him in the bar area that we have been calling Beneath the Reef Lounge. He's on a footswitch and likes to light up for visitors!

[ Edited by: mike and marie 2017-03-27 19:44 ]

Made and installed this new wall light...

Experimenting with different lighting on the waterfall area. We found some LED tealights that give a kind of red lava effect. The problem is, well, they're tealights -- we've been getting spoiled with all the remote-control lighting we put in and want to get away from battery powered stuff.

We always loved the blue glow of McGarret's "lanai" in early Hawaii Five-0 seasons, and were looking for something like that. Found a good LED spotlight to project on the area. Still have quite a bit of work to do in this area, though...

The Wreck Lounge now has a giant part of the Marina del Rey Don the Beachcomber---part of the front door, which is now this table...

The whole story of how we saved it is in this post on the DtB thread...

[ Edited by: mike and marie 2017-03-26 19:02 ]

Also put in this pub table in the Wreck Lounge to go with these vintage orange pub chairs ... we got the table at a restaurant supply house but it needed to be modded ... there were very tall tables designed for standing and short ones designed for lower chairs. We got the long one and made a new base.

(Note to self: rope might look good wrapped around it!)

[ Edited by: mike and marie 2017-03-26 19:10 ]

Going to have some music down here, too---besides records or the digital stuff, that is...

This is the Malibu Room.

Big light in the foreground is from Chin Tiki. We also are proud to have one of the same lamps that are hanging by the Drooling Bastard in the Tonga Hut and made by master lamp-maker tikiskip:

This chunk light was saved from disaster and is the newest add:

This pano shot is kind of crummy, but wanted to try it since we don't have a shot handy of the whole room itself...

[ Edited by: mike and marie 2017-03-26 19:28 ]

Still have more updates to post. Hope to get to them soon...

[ Edited by: mike and marie 2017-03-26 19:40 ]


Looks great.

That was incarnation 1.0. Much has changed since our last post ... including the name! "Room" was no longer appropriate because the Tiki had expanded beyond the initial area to the entire floor. (Also the backyard and lanai, but that's another project.) We've been at work planning and building incarnation 2.0, which we call Sunken Studios. This is a result of the converging of several of our interests ... we plan to use the space as a film and photography studio, but there is also a recording studio and practice area in part of it, which has also become Tikified. It's also our theory that redesigns of existing home tiki bars can really help them raise up to the next level ... some of the best home bars we've ever seen are ones that have changed over the years, being reborn after new incarnations ... certainly we have learned a lot over the years and can apply that knowledge to new builds ...

Can't wait to see more. Your pics and work were always inspiring.

Thanks so much, littlegiles ... we've been hard at work all summer, and are discovering that when you make a big change to an established bar, one thing leads to another ... and another! But all we gotta say is koke ia ... soon!


Damn guys looks great!

Still have not made it to your xmas party.

Summer is fading fast...


Oh yeah, I had to chip up a floor just like that in my dad's restaurant and every now and then a piece would come shooting at my head, it sucked.

That floor did not look as good as yours does.

And I have found two of those Wreck bar tambourines, man how many do you think they made mine were only for New Year's Eve, I think.

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