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Tiki Central / General Tiki

Tiki bar in Seattle? The Islander?

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THIS JUST IN -- I just seconds ago received this message from someone on Friendster... don't know anything beyond this yet... I'll research more and report back....

Hi Michelle!

Saw something yesterday that I wouldn't have
noticed if not for conversing briefly with you
about Tiki-isms...namely that they are opening a
polynesian tiki bar in downtown seattle right
across the street from the Seattle Art Museum.
It's apparently going to be called "The Islander",
and they're going to serve pacific rim cuisine

Right now it's under construction and the sign
mentioned they were hiring, so if you were ever
interested in a career change perhaps this is the
time! I think your resume would have the right
stuff if you show them photos of your home bar. ;

FAX resumes to 206-281-1813

You could keep them from playing Jimmy Buffet!
Anyway, it's something you might want to post to
the Tiki list if it hasn't been there already...
sounds like they're going to have a happy hour and
what not!

Take care,
---Brian the observer

p.s. I also noticed a place in Pioneer Square
called "Tiki Bobs" but upon going in I found it to
have absolutely nothing to do with that.


I'll expect the worst but keep a 151 flame of hope burning in my heart...

WOWOOOOOHOO, I'll be keeping my fingers
crossed. We do have a newer place in West Seattle called Bamboo. The idea and the furnishings are pretty good, but there is techno playing on the stero and sports on the tv's. What a shame. Worst part is they tore down my FAVORITE Chinese restaurant (Golden Sun) to build it. WHAAAAAA, I need a combo dinner #3 with extra sweet and sour sauce dammit...

(Been disappointed so many times.......)

But, I have my fingers crossed.

There is a party ship/cruise ship that docks in Seattle called the Islander.


Humuhumu! I'm hoping for the best, but if your luck is anything like mine, it'll open the week after you move to Sunny SoCal !


I took a few pics of the outside, but they almost aren't worth throwing up here. It's in the old Leo Melina space, near Pike Place Market. Looks... spartan. The sign on the front says they're opening in July. It's a neat space, it has a nice view of the water from the bar, and an outdoor deck. But there wasn't much going on in the way of decor, even in the bar area. Just some basic floral barkcloth here and there, and basic colored rice paper globe light fixtures. I'll check again when they're closer to opening.

My soon-to-be hubby visited The Islander in Seattle yesterday, purely by accident. His ship was docked there for a couple of days.

Here's what he says:

I accidentally ran into and had lunch at a Tiki Lounge / Polynesian Restaurant – a new one that has only been open for about 9 months. I had a Zombie in a tiki mug – the mug did not have any markings, but I can describe it to ya when I get home. The firecracker stir-fry was yummy! The Zombie was really tasty – it had 4 oz of booze, but you would have NO idea… dangerous! The décor was too
sparse for a real Tiki feeling… but there were fishing floats in every corner.
(not a very good review, but I was happy with the food & especially the drink)

We live in Seattle so we've been to the Islander a couple of times now. (It is actually at the very end of Union.) Anyway, I can't really call this luke warm effort a tiki bar, my friends. The food is good, but the drinks depend on the server, and the service is almost always lousy. We've given the joint a "1 tiki" rating for lack of flora and fauna. Luau is the better choice in Seattle (in the Greenlake hood); even Ohana (on 1st) is a better bar than the Islander. Believe me, we had high hopes, but the Islander is deserted!

There's actually been quite a bit of chatter about the Islander since that thread got started. Most of it echoes what you guys have experienced. If you do a search on "seattle islander" you'll find a bunch of posts, and here's a thread from the get-together we had last October that has some chatter about it and a couple of pictures:


And here's the Islander entry in Critiki:

Still haven't been to the Islander, but it is sounding like we have quite a few TCers in Seattle.
May have to plan a din din or drinkies at Luau. (mmmmmmmmmmmm shaggys chicken...)

Thanks Humuhumu!

I did a search on "Islander" and came up empty handed. I just knew there must be more info on here somewhere!

sweatpea...must admit, had Shaggy's last night! (Have you ever noticed that your second Mai Tai is MUCH stonger than the first!?)


When I went up there to pick up a car in February, I met Woofmut and his buddy there and really enjoyed the place. Food was good, my drink was good and I thought the place was pretty cool. Of course the good company may have influenced me. Afterwards we toured some of the other tiki themed joints and I've got to say I liked the Islander the best. The others didn't really seem all that tiki. Just sticking a couple of things on the wall doesn't cut it for me. Check out the Islander and keep them in business.


OK, here I go again...

The Islander has great atmosphere. If you look around the bar (Cleverly called "Tiki Bar") you'll see they put a lot of effort into the decor. They did it up nice, not retro or faux dive. There are even two large wood Tikis that the owner had carved in Hawaii specifically for Tiki Bar (she said the shipping cost more than the carvings). They play Hawaiian musiques all the time, and are very fond of our own Selector Lapoka's mixes (supposedly he may spin live there some day). It's a very relaxing place, especially in the evenings. (Tiki Bar has a wall of windows so it's kind of bright inside. The view out the windows is of the rooftop deck next door and some of Puget Sound.)

The snacks are great. The fancy drinks aren't so hot, but they're about the level of every joint I've had a fancy drink in (except Noodles in the Bellagio in Vegas). They use a variety of Tiki mugs (which they also sell at the usual prices). Drink quality is inconsistant from one visit to another due to very sloppy bar work. The staff is mostly neutral to surly, something my friends agree on, but they're slightly warmer than the joiks over at Ohana. (A place I find mostly dreary...After surveying Ohana with Spy Tiki during his visit I decided I never wanted to visit Ohana again.*) Despite its flaws I recommend Tiki Bar at the Islander to all sorts of people I meet, from bus drivers to union busters.

*I plan to make at least one more visit to Ohana on a low key non-event whirlwind tour and review of Jet City Tiki joints a couple friends and me is talking about. If yer a local and interested write me. Maybe we could make it a high strung happening.


WEll, I'm in!

Ok, ok, I agree on Ohana--a dive really...and, I can tell you that the owner of the Islander is swell and makes mean sushi all over town in her other haunts, but the Islander is no tiki bar. A pretty place maybe, but not a good bar. It's situated for tourists; the decor is more "American Islander" than Caliente Tropics, and it's a ghost town most days of the week. We go, don't get me wrong--but we're in Seattle. We take what we can get. Anyone up for the Luau tomorrow night? :)


Luau, how I wish
Gotta work though.
Woofmutt and I talked tonight,
we ARE gonna go to the whopping 5 "tiki bars" of Seattle one of these days. They may get me in tiki bobs, but I'll be kicking and screaming.
whooops, drunk pea


Then Sea-Tiki said "...The Islander is no tiki bar. A pretty place maybe, but not a good bar. "

I agree with it not being a great bar, but it's definitely a Tiki bar...Hell it's called Tiki Bar. C'mon. But seriously folks, for a modern attempt at a Tiki bar they're far and above the lousy quasi-tropical margarita slushy slinging places.

The largest Tiki Central complaint made about the Islander is that it's "nice" . The majority of the long gone Tiki joints of yore were meant to be nice places that offered an exotic experience close to home. The Islander was clearly designed with that idea in mind. They didn't set out to do something kitschy, retro, ironic, or 'fun". It's fairly obvious the experience the Islander is attempting to offer is that of being somewhere you' re not.

That said, I'm hardly in love with the place. For one thing it has windows and I pretty much don't like bars with windows. And, like most the kids here, I like old places and the Islander is still shiny new. Plus the happy hour wells are fifty cents less at Typhoon down below where the bar staff is a lot friendlier.


The Islander does have great fried chicken served with sausage gravy! gravy... yumm..
Plus, some drinks are served in tiki mugs, which isn't that common these days.

Yeah, the Tiki mugs are their one other good point. They have a wide variety of the contemporary mugs and seem to look for new ones to use. (On one visit they sold my friend Sparky two new designs they hadn't even started using yet. But he's connected: His gylfriend is a friend of the owner's.) The mugs were on display before, but last visit I didn't notice them which makes me wonder if people have been walking off with them.
Now if they could only start putting good drinks in the mugs.
Oh, they also have swell matches...Little boxes of wood ones with the Islander logo on it. So grab a few if you vsit


We received a $15 gift certificate (postcard) for The Islander in a bunch of junk mail. I had remembered this thread and the local papers' reviews ~ but decided to go nonetheless. I’m not one to pass up on the opportunity to see tropical/tiki décor!

and I’m glad we did! ~ the menu has changed a lot from the one on their website. Innovative with lots of choices.

We arrived well before any crowds, at 5:00 ~ somehow, it still took a while for our waitress to find us in the empty room. But that’s ok, we were soaking in the décor, an eclectic mix of things perhaps my Dad would think of as “tiki”. Japanese, Indonesian, African masks, coconut monkeys, vintage lamps, painted Tikis and hand carved ones too. A nice environment with Hawaiian music playing gently in the background.

Todd ordered a Dark and Stormy ~ a fizzy ginger ale, pineapple juice and rum drink with shavings of fresh ginger, served frosty cold over ice. Incredibly refreshing. I had several sips (a rarity for me) I, the nondrinker, had a banana-coconut virgin drink: very fruity and beautifully garnished with a toasted coconut rim, fresh pineapple and the customary maraschino cherry.

Todd had the Hawaiian Fried Chicken, smothered in country type gravy, served with well-crafted stir-fried vegetables and the most amazing purple mound of Okinawa sweet potato mash. The chicken breast and wing portion was coated in a crispy crust, the gravy didn’t overpower the dish, and the bits of red,green,yellow bell peppers and celery squares was a tasty garnish.

I had the Fisherman’s Plate with fried halibut, scallops and shrimp served with a huge scoop of sweet potato fries tucked into a ti leaf cone. Oh the aoli dipping sauce and the super-charged tartar sauce were good enough to eat all by themselves! This tempura is the I’ve set lips upon. The batter was a little bit thick, with flakes of (perhaps) furikake or other seaweed.

No rolls were served. Dunno why but I sort of expect bread with dinner (not that we always eat it, but I do enjoy a crusty loaf of sourdough, or a Hawaiian sweetbread.

Oh and as if we weren’t already stuffed to the gills, we ordered the mud pie. Again, the garnishes just brought an already outstanding dish over the top. Fluffy mounds of whipped cream, drizzled in caramel sauce and dusted with toasted almonds and macadamia nuts surrounded an upturned piece of ice-cream pie.

You can really taste the quality of the ingredients used at The Islands, and your eye is treated to a fantastic presentation. I particularly like that the food is not stacked up high for that illusion of plentitude. You are actually getting a big amount of food!

We’re going back, discount or no! Hopefully there'll be a wait for a table, so we have a reason to hang out in the bar for a while..


[ Edited by: dogbytes on 2004-06-28 18:03 ]

Finally-! Some more good TC words about the Islander.

Though friends and I like the place well enough we haven't been there for a few months after a particularly bad customer service experience. I just told tha tale here:


i read your post about the bartenders, woofmutt. argh. The Islander really has to work on the service side of the business. we witnessed several incidents that, if they happened to us, would have tempered my desire to return.

we ate at luau a few weeks ago..i forgot to report on that..
we like Ohana, for dinner. the bar crowd is too young n hip for us oldsters.

guess we'll have to wait a few weeks more ~ then my home bar will be delivered, and we can break it in with a little party.. :drink:



Rebecca and I had a great kalua pig sandwich there before the PDX crawl. Service was friendly, atmosphere was airy, drinks were terrible.


Went back to the Islander last night (first visit in months) and they've got lots of new, incredibly friendly staff (but not annoyingly friendly). Happy Hour was busy and all the staff remained friendly. But I still avoid the fancy drinks.

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