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Don’t ask Garrett Martin of Paste Magazine, because he has no idea. https://www.pastemagazine.com/travel/strong-water-anaheim-tiki-bar/

I love Strong Water a lot. But I know they’re not a Tiki bar. They have never even referred to themselves as a Tiki bar either. Seriously, what the hell is up with these journalists who are so quick to lump nautical/pirate bars together with actual Tiki bars?? Isn’t the entire point of a Tiki bar to have actual Tikis in it?

He is the last person in the world who should be proselytizing about what Tiki bars should look like and what they should/shouldn’t have. Im dropping him into the hall of shame along with many other writers who often think Donn Beach opened the first actual Tiki bar.

[ Edited by Tikifish81 on 2022-09-22 19:09:04 ]


He lost me when he started to rabbit on about "cultural appropriation" in his "review"! Who the hell started the idiotic beat up about that and why is he even mentioning it? Trying to placate the "woke" brigade?


Anyone who uses the words 'cultural appropriation', especially a journalist, loses any and all credibility right away.

Excellent topic! We fight this problem all the time here in Flori-duh... People do not know the difference between a "Jimmy Buffett bar" or "Florida tiki," versus the admittedly broad yet authentic "tiki" bar.

The article - one word - douchey. Yeah, writers sometimes just don't know what they're talking about. But yes, they submitted a story and got paid and had it published. Yay.

I used to look for at least one carved tiki, but now that there are so many painted tiki carvings prominently displayed, I have narrowed down even further what I was willing to give a "pass" to.

Reminds me of the old "Big Bamboo Lounge" in Kissimmee (RIP!) that had lots of thatching but only one small tiki above the cash register. It barely qualified as "tiki," but man, it is still the number one most fun dive bar I've ever been to.

The really sad thing is people will refuse to educate themselves on this particular part of American pop culture, focus on the drinks only, and just continue to aid in the de-evolution of the Tiki Revival.

And a smaller subset still will dismiss any of Sven Kirsten's books and research just because he's a white European man. So stupid, it makes me head hurt.

This is a great topic and I think about it constantly! I think right off the bat, a Tiki bar needs tikis. That's a given. When bar owners remove or don't have tikis in their bar, they are removing the heart of what a tiki bar is. Second a tiki bar has a very distinct vibe that should be dark and mysterious. You just know when a tiki bar is a true tiki bar and when it's not. There's a certain feeling..


In a day and age where people are not sure what to say when asked to define what a woman is you want a tiki bar defined?

Might be a hard ask.

BUT I took LOTS of heat way back when I said that a Star Wars tiki bar was not tiki, and let me tell you not many if any took my side.

Then there was a Basketball tiki bar with sports tiki Bob mugs to match, it went on and on.

I am really old school in this area as I don't even want color changing or any really led lights in my version of a tiki bar.

You can put anything you want in your bar but then others have the same right to say that's not tiki etc.

I don't get pissed when people say something I have in my bar is not tiki it's just a person's opinion really and most times they are right as I have headhunter stuff and a few other non-tiki items.

But there should be a general guide for what a tiki bar is and that was put in writing in a book called the book of tiki.

Sven too takes some heat for his views on what a tiki bar is too, but he also has a few non-tiki items in his bar as well.

I don't think people are unable to define a woman as mentioned in the above post , ....just scared to do so! It is a monumental case of a very small group not satisfied with equality, they demand superiority! The tail is very much now wagging the dog....


I forgot you were in Australia.

Supreme Court nominee to define 'woman' | USA TODAY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWtGzJxiONU


Oh don't worry tikiskip, ...we are experiencing almost the exact same idiocy right here. We had a Minister for HEALTH (yes you read that correctly) publicly asked the very same question and it took him THREE months to fabricate an answer. We live in an age where your kid can't dress up as an indian, but a man in a dress is a woman?

I'm staying out of discussions regarding gender and biological sex for personal reasons.

However, I do want to address a previous statement that yes, you can put anything you want in a Tiki bar if it makes you happy. But far too many people are calling things "Tiki" when they're not. And these so-called journalists aren't helping by referring to bars that are not Tiki as Tiki bars. They're actually teaching people that Tiki is just a catch-all word for anything resembling a tropical/nautical bar.

I saw a post on Instagram from a friend and fellow Tikiphile who visited Tiki Tatsu-ya in Austin, TX and expressed happiness at the actual Tiki imagery there, whereas the author of the article I shared was lauding the lack of Tiki imagery. Guess he didn't bother to take a closer look, or he would have noticed it. Again, lazy, shoddy work on behalf of this writer.

If you’re just parroting wokist mantras like ‘cultural appropriation’ then journalism isn’t a good fit. Propaganda never honestly approaches a subject - like what makes a tiki bar - instead it’s only looking for a place to insert the woke line.

Personally, I think the greater issue here is the miseducation of Tiki newbies who don't have access to the resources that were once available during the early Tiki revival (Sven's books are an excellent example—most people can't get them due to cost and scarcity.). You can tell them what is and isn't Tiki until you're blue in the face, but unless there are ways of telling them WHY, it's a losing battle.

It's one of the reasons I've largely abandoned Facebook Tiki groups. It feels like the majority of them are full of posts asking if the latest mug or carving they found in the wild is Tiki, and if it's worth anything. These are not educated Tiki consumers. But even among these people are folks who DO want to learn, but they need resources. The challenge is how to reach them.

For those who struggle with why one should be able to identify the word “woman” let me make this clear.

If I say to you, a friend let’s say, I am a man looking to date a woman and I ask you if you know any women whom I might wish to get to know for this reason, your inability to communicate back to me would be problematic.

As I said, those are conversations I'd rather not get into—I'd prefer to stay on the Tiki topic.

Let's just say that when dating I have certain expectations. I do NOT want to find any "surprises"...!!!

The answer for the question on this forum isn’t necessary. However, the point that one should be able to define tiki is important. If I go to a recommended tiki bar and find it is instead a nautical bar, shame on the person who recommended it. It like going to a steakhouse only to find it is all vegan.

Unfortunately, I feel we're going to be seeing this a LOT. I recently heard through Sven that a lot of the bars Bamboo Ben has been working on have actively chosen to go more nautical/beachcomber than Tiki due to the changing attitudes about it. There are some who unapologetically go Tiki, but the vocal minority has gotten to some of these new bar proprietors. Sad.


Yes, but remember that it's those empty vessels that make the most noise.


Honestly, I wouldn't have much of an expectation that a journalist would know much of anything about what is "tiki" and what isn't. I've worked with the Miss Hawaii USA Pageant for decades and I can tell you journalists are ALWAYS making massive errors in their reporting of pageants...they don't seem to understand Miss America and Miss USA are two completely different pageants with different requirements. They constantly give ladies names as being winners of the incorrect pageant. They confuse Miss World and Miss Universe. Clueless. But they are journalists. So...whatever. I imagine most any person off the street walking into this beautiful establishment would go "Oh, what a lovely tiki bar." I wouldn't call it a tiki bar, but then I'm a little more knowedgable about the correct use of the term.


That "Miss Universe" always amuses me. The girls all appear to be from Earth! Where are all the other entrants from the rest of the universe?

Thanks for reading and linking to the article. We’ve run a lot of pieces about tiki bars at Paste and will continue to do so regularly in the future. We might have a more expansive view of what constitutes a tiki bar than others, but we’re coming from a place of respect and appreciation for the midcentury American culture that spawned the scene, and hopefully you’ll continue to read our thoughts on tiki bars even if you don’t always agree with them.

Perhaps not so much whilst you continue to push that "cultural appropriation" barrow?

A little intro to Garrett Martin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foxA0L4je34

He did say Dave Chappelle is "out of touch" in one of his posts, From some other stories he posted I can glean he was indoctrinated to Tiki by way of Disneyland and Disneyworld, but he should clarify that himself to be fair, His views are very representative of the "modern mixologist" viewpoint/mindset.

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