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Lilo Lounge, San Francisco, CA (bar)

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Name:Lilo Lounge
Street:1469 18th Street
City:San Francisco
Phone:(415) 643-5678

The Lilo Lounge was a little Tiki Bar in the Potrero Hill Area of San Francisco. It was small and only had a few tikis.

[ Edited by: hanford_lemoore on 2003-07-21 21:55 ]

Tiki Road Trip gave the Lilo a review that reads like it wasn't a great place to visit. But while Jame's review is spot-on, what it doesn't state (and I didn't expect it to state) was that the Lilo was a damn good bar.

The drinks were great. They needed more standards and classics, but what they did serve were strong and tasty. The bartenders were cool, and on slow nights they would play Exotica if you asked them to (they had several Exotica CDs behind the bar).

The crowd felt didn't feel like it was a meat-market, even though there was a lot of that going on. I don't think anyone entering that bar would ever feel out of place entering it. It was a real casual atmosphere.

When they first opened they served all their drinks in tiki mugs, but they were all quickly stolen on crowded nights. Only the Volcano bowls remained in service until closing (and yes, they lit the volcano and served it burning).

It was connected to a delicious Thai Resturant next door and had great bar food.

The decor of this bar felt home-grown tiki to me rather than a professional setup. There were two big tikis who were obviously styrofoam. There was reed matting on the walls, and a corrogated alumninum overhang on the bar area. The coolest most professional part of the bar was the Thai-style dual ceiling fans that were driven by a crankshaft.

I guess the best part of the Lilo was the fact that while it was not particularly Tiki, it wasn't un-tiki for sure. There was no TV. Otto regularly DJed exotica there, and I even saw King Kukulele play there to a packed house. The editor of Taboo visited for a book-signing. It had everything you need to make a great bar friendly to Tiki fans.

Decor aside, it was a great place, and I'm sad that is closed in 2001(?).

[ Edited by: hanford_lemoore on 2003-07-21 23:46 ]


I liked Lilo Lounge alot too, and this was before I started REALLY liking tiki.
Oh, the spring rolls from next door were exquisite! The decor was great (I love the ceiling fans too). Wasn't there a small waterfall? I remember it always having a dim lighting, and much of the lighting actually being only from the volcano bowls. The drinks were very strong and very good. It was small and quaint, and DEFINATELY a thumbs up.

[ Edited by: manic cat on 2003-07-22 16:40 ]


The Lilo was a favorite of mine, too, as Hanford knows too well. :)
When they had their big closing-night bash, they randomly sold off tikis and decor to whoever handed them money. I almost bought the two giant cardboard moai over the bar. They had backpack straps on them so they could be carried. The owner told me they had been used in a Visa tv commercial that was shot right outside the bar and that they scored them after the shoot.

I only visited the Lilo once, which must've been back in 1999-2000. I remember enjoying a flaming volcano with a couple friends and generally enjoying the night. I did snag one piece of memorabilia:

Slightly out of focus and obscured by creatures from another cocktail night, but still cool looking. I know I have that matchbook somewhere, so when I find it, I'll re-shoot it and post a cleaner image.

(More tiki images on my Flickr photostream. Just search "tiki"!)


Postcard from the Lilo Lounge.

Along with many other postcards from around the world, it was sent to a local restaurant - U-Lee on Hyde.

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