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Washington Post tiki article

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Today's Washington Post featured a lengthy article on tiki in their home section. It focuses on a family who has incorporated tiki decor into their second home, located on Chesapeake Bay.

It provides a good view of how 'tiki awareness' is moving to mainstream media America.

Personally, I think they have the right idea - they just have to move decor-wise more towards tiki and further away from Martha Stewart.

In a poor editing decision, the Post chose not to print any pictures of the tiki bar, choosing instead to print a picture (in the hardcopy paper edition) of the disco ball in the girl's bedroom.




File this one under the heading of abusing the word tiki! They mentioned lots of Hawaiiana items and hula related furnishings but did not mention the presence of any tikis whatsoever. They also did a fine job throwing in plugs for every mainstream company that is now capitalizing on the whole retro Hawaiian thing. The writer of the article abused the word tiki throughout - and the homeowners blew the illusion of being possible tikiphiles by mentioning they serve their drinks with flamingo stirrers...ugh! If the house is in fact tiki then show me or at least tell me about the tikis!!

Just my thought...


I wonder if these folks have visited tiki central or have Sven's book. And, I wish they would have included a picture of the bar and mugs they purchased from the Chinese restaurant. In reading this article, I felt like I was looking at an early 60's Better Homes & Gardens. Their approach is so gosh darn wholesome. I bet they even plan family outings to the liquor store, the way we do in Florida.


Fortunately such decorating will have little impact on the true collector of Tiki. Those that would be inspired by this article will be happy tossing a Pottery Barn hula girl pillow on the couch, adding a couple of houseplants on either end and calling it Tiki. If any Tiki Centralites live in the neighborhood of this house I'd watch for a yard sale (oh, wait, these types have "tag sales") next spring when the owners will no doubt redecorate, the "hoot" having worn off their wild and crazy island interior.

"...Their mom acknowledges the tiki motif verges on high camp, describing their home's blend of tiki finds and cottage furnishings as "Sponge Bob Meets Martha Stewart." (In fact, the dotted Swiss curtains and cotton chenille spreads in the bedrooms are from Martha's Everyday Kmart line.)..."

OH MY GOSH, how daring!

"..."It's a hoot," Melissa says. "So colorful, delightful and hokey, you love it for the same reason people loved going to Trader Vic's..."

What do you mean "loved"? They still do!

Anyway, just another example of violating the rule "If it says Tiki on it, it should have Tiki in it!"

I bet they love Jimmy Buffet.



They probably said "loved" in the past tense because they're from Washington DC, and probably aren't aware that there are any others.



"...At night, before the children head for bed, they crank up the surf music, bring out their collection of Hula Hoops and turn on the ceiling fan with the attached disco ball."


Now Now tubrogod we all know that Janet is the Queen of the Hula Hoop :lol:

[ Edited by: powerofthetiki on 2002-08-05 23:25 ]

there was an article in yesterday's washington post about barcelona tiki bars. tiki central got some big press. is the author, laura randall, here on tc?




Here are the articles. Hope it is OK to post them here.

Barcelona Puts the Tiki in Tacky

By Laura Randall
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, January 8, 2006; P01

It's a long walk from the Maria Cristina metro station to Barcelona's oldest tiki bar. After exiting onto busy, tree-lined Avinguda Diagonal, you must head east past several modern high-rises, one of the city's biggest shopping malls and a branch of the department store El Corte Ingles.

Just when you're ready to give up and duck into the nearest tapas joint for a glass of vino tinto, the neon "Hawaiano Bar" sign and carved wooden doors of Kahala finally appear.

That's when you leave the Barcelona most travelers know -- the one of high-end cuisine, classy wine bars and 20th-century Gothic palaces -- behind. Far behind.

It may seem hard to believe, but this sophisticated European city has three tiki bars with the kind of beach-hut decor and ambiance that make the knees of Polynesian culture devotees buckle in delight. Tiki bars, with their tropical environments and umbrella-topped drinks, have long been icons of island living and the good life. The bars, which flourished in the 1940s and 1950s after the return of U.S. soldiers from World War II tours of duty in Asia, have experienced a resurgence in the past decade as a new generation of plugged-in fans discovered their retro-hip allure.

When Tiki Central, an online network for all things tiki, asked its members last summer to rank cities with the best tiki environments, Barcelona's name came up as often as Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. And in a 2002 article about the comeback of Polynesian culture, Fortune magazine included all three of the city's bars on its short list of worldwide tiki bars -- right between San Francisco's Tonga Room and Trader Vic's London.

Besides Kahala, there is Kahiki, centrally located near Las Ramblas promenade, and Aloha, not far away on a quiet urban street in the L'Eixample district. As a resident of Los Angeles, home to Trader Vic's and a handful of other thriving, well-known tiki bars, I was curious to see if Barcelona lived up to its reputation as a city with a great tiki vibe. The answer turned out to be yes -- and no.

With their dizzying expanses of bamboo, Hawaiian-shirted servers and huge variety of exotic mugs (most of which are manufactured in Toledo, Spain), the bars would make even the late Victor J. Bergeron (founder of Trader Vic's) drop his swizzle stick in admiration. At Kahala, the doors give way to a carved stone wall and a bridge that crosses a murky pond that must have once housed some pretty unhappy koi. The main room is dominated by a long wooden bar flanked by carved wood masks and an aquarium full of puffer fish and other tropical marine life. Waiters deliver trays of Ponche de Plantador (Planter's Punch) and Ciclones de Azores (Hurricanes) to customers lounging in semidarkness on rattan sofas.

On the Thursday night I was there, the amount of dry-ice mist drifting from the drink prep area bordered on the obscene. Young couples and boisterous groups of office workers dominated the crowd, and as my husband and I studied the drink menu and gawked at the wall hangings, we felt like the only tourists in the place.

A dozen blocks away at Aloha, parakeets, canaries and turtles live in a glass-fronted cage under a yellow neon sign that resembles a vintage movie marquee. With a billiard table near the entrance and American pop music (think Madonna circa 1985) on the jukebox, the atmosphere reminded me more of Bennigan's than a South Seas hula hut, but the Aloha has a strong following among the out-of-town tikiphiles who've visited the bars. It's the site of tiki-themed fiestas organized by American expat Andrew Burns, a guitar technician for David Bowie, Patti Smith and other performers. For a $3.60 cover fee, Burns distributes floral leis, screens movies from the late 1970s and brings his own DJs to spin Martin Denny and other tiki-friendly crooners.

Burns's favorite tiki bar is the Aloha, for its bamboo decor and street-front aviary, but he admits the Barcelona bars don't have a Norm-from-"Cheers"-like following as many in the United States do. "They are hangout joints for the younger set . . . who find the drinks a bit pricey," Burns said. "So there is not really a daily scene."

Unlike many American tiki bars, which began as one-room establishments and grew with their popularity, the Barcelona bars haven't expanded or changed much since their opening, said Otto von Stroheim, the San Francisco-based founder of a tiki newsletter who has visited the Barcelona bars.

The tiki bars have been around since the mid-1970s, when the collapse of Gen. Francisco Franco's dictatorship opened the country to political and cultural freedoms it hadn't known since the early part of the century, he said.

"The concept [of tiki] already existed before they built, so they could build [the bars] whole," von Stroheim said. "They have this weird different take on things. It's a little more funky, disco-y, hip. It has a little more soul" than many of the U.S. bars, he said.

The bars' architects probably drew on the fanciful work of Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi, rather than on the nautical and trader themes favored by American tiki bars, von Stroheim said. "You have this weird weeping willow-looking stuff -- waterfalls dripping and craggy, with plants hanging off them, and all these textures and colors."

In my elbow-bending tour of the bars, I found Kahiki to be the most accessible of the three, with the tastiest tropical drinks and most affable bartenders, though some have criticized its faded floral-print furniture and sleepy environment on Tiki Central chat rooms. Located near the University of Barcelona, Kahiki attracts young couples who like the bar's quiet alcoves and unique drinks such as the Copa Tikaroa (a semisweet concoction of champagne, rum and fruit juices), bartender Eduardo Lopez told me on a quiet Wednesday night.

"They like it because it's different from the other bars and they think the drinks taste good," said Lopez, a middle-aged man who wore thick glasses and an oversize Hawaiian shirt purchased at El Corte Ingles.

As he mixed an $8 mai tai, Lopez told me he has worked behind Kahiki's bamboo bar for 20 years. Noting my interest in the bar's origins, he dug out a wrinkled yellow drink menu from New Year's Eve 2004 and a city map that shows Kahiki's location.

"Take these," he said with the faintest of smiles. "Tell your friends Barcelona has a good tiki environment."

Then he went back to waiting amid the bar's flickering puffer-fish lamps and red-eyed tribal masks for the next customer to step into the semidarkness.

Laura Randall last wrote for Travel on Ojai, Calif.
© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Barcelona's Tiki Bars

Sunday, January 8, 2006; P09

Barcelona's three tiki bars are open daily. None of the bars serves food, except for free bowls of popcorn or corn nuts that accompany the drinks. Tropical drinks typically cost about $7.25, while standard libations and shots are about $6 to $9.60.

THE BARS: Aloha (Carrer Provenca 159) has a pool table, a barely lit back lounge and a fountain with a carved tiki figurehead. Drinks include Bastardo Saffrin (Suffering Bastard) and Sangre de Tiburon (Shark's Blood), a mix of rum, pineapple juice and Cointreau liquor. Metro: Hospital Clinic. Info: 011-34-93-45- 17962.

Highlights at Kahala (Avenida Diagonal 537) include an aquarium and rattan sofas. The Mescla de Todo (Scorpion Bowl), which comes in a ceramic bowl with a hula girl in the middle, is a popular choice. Metro: Maria Cristina. Info: 011-34-93- 430-90-26.

Kahiki (581 Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes) is the smallest and quietest of the three, with a central location near the University of Barcelona and Placa Catalunya. Try the Copa Tikaroa (champagne, rum and fruit juices) or the Coco Pae Pae, a cinnamon-spiked mixture of rum and coconut milk. Metro: Universitat. Info: 011-34- 93-32-31883.

INFO: Tiki Central ( http://www.tikicentral.com/tikicentral ) is an online forum covering tiki news, events and culture. Barcelona Tourism , http://www.barcelona%20turisme.com/ .

-- Laura Randall
© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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