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Moana Beach, Bilbao, Spain (restaurant)

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Name:Moana Beach
Street:Calle Simon Bolivar 28
Phone:94 442 20 66

Overall Moana Beach was a decent tiki bar – I wouldn’t recommend venturing to Bilbao solely to check it out, but that being said, I would HIGHLY recommend a trip to Bilbao to anyone interested in great art and distinct culture. And when in Bilbao, Moana Beach is about as good as any of a zillion fantastic bars (though the tapas at Moana Beach paled in comparison to some of the other bars we hit.

Most impressive about Moana Beach was its massive (twelve to fifteen feet tall) fibreglass tiki, which greeted customers just inside the front entrance of the establishment. Moana Beach’s additional use of fibreglass to create a ‘descent into a mysterious cavern’ effect impressed me too, especially with the green spotlights accenting the ferns (both faux and live), the other foliage, and the few other tikis. A low volume recording of ‘jungle noises’ playing in this foyer added a nice finishing touch to this 'manufactured decent'.

The bar itself was made to look like a giant tree with huge branches running along the ceiling and with roots running along the floor. Rattan and bamboo were adequately incorporated as railing, tables, chairs and barstools. The drinks were good (I had the Moana Speciale and my wife had the Sueno de Coco) and served in heavy coconut-shaped ceramic mugs. These coconut mugs were Moana Beach's the only themed mugs.

The music was reggae (of course) with UB40’s “Little Baggardim” playing for most of the time we were there. The music wasn’t ideal in my opinion, but was to be expected, was played at a decent volume and seemed appropriate enough for the easy-going patrons of mixed age and social status (young dating couples, small families, after-work drinkers, university students).

Another cool aspect to the bar was it’s ‘twinkling star ceiling’. What I supposed were little fibre-optic lights were placed randomly throughout the deep blue painted ceiling. The intensity of the lights varied in gradually and subtly, making for a neat ‘starry night’ effect.

The back of the restaurant housed a banquet room where hula dinner shows were performed on weekend nights. We left before the dinner show – deciding to go for local Basque cuisine while only in the area for two nights – but were sorely tempted to stay by the huge volcano on the stage, which was shown erupting on a few posters around the restaurant.

Most unfortunate was Moana Beach’s unnecessary and eye-irritating neon elements, such as the straws for our drinks and some signage. Though the use of neon wasn’t ubiquitous, it was, nevertheless incongruous with the rest of Moana Beach’s mostly dark and ‘mysterious’ elements.

Also incongruous were the few Gauguin framed prints in the bar area. Although, I appreciate his paintings, I found the mix of kitsch and fine art undermined the Moana Beach’s theme of goofy fun appropriate for both hard drinkers and families with young children alike.

Read more about Bilbao tiki & more at:

[ Edited by: Tiki Chris on 2003-09-12 12:54 ]

Zeta posted on Mon, Jun 7, 2010 12:55 PM

Pictures anyone? coaster? napkin? mug? swizzle? anything? I went there once but it was too late...

Rest in pieces.

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