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Critiki's latest new features: Themed Image Galleries, username photo credits

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It is with a mixture of relief, anticipation, anxiety and joy that I present to you: Critiki. I’m not a mother, but I imagine this is what it feels like to send your child off to their first day of school.

When I found Tiki Central in August of 2002, almost immediately I knew how I wanted to make my own contribution to the community. Others provide wonderful music for us, mix delicious drinks, create inspiring artwork; I’m no good at those things. But there is something I am good at – databases. After much begging & pleading with my then-husband, I bought a web server and began developing Critiki in December of 2002. Now, 15 months later, it’s still not ready to roll out, but I’m doing it anyway. It’s time to let Critiki begin growing in new ways.

Critiki is a database of tiki locations all around the world (450+ at this writing).

Each location at a minimum has the name and the city, but for many locations I have much more information, including:

  • Street Address
  • Link to a map
  • Website link
  • Email link
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Link to Tiki Central Locating Tiki thread
  • Descriptive paragraph
  • Photo Galleries, including photographs, postcards, menus, matchbooks, etc. (280+ images at this writing)

Locations are categorized by the type of location, including bars, restaurants, attractions, apartment buildings, home bars, bowling alleys… you can browse by category, or by region. You can also do a text search on the location name or the city.

In the future, you will be able to add your own “critiki” of a location – a number-based rating system for each location, where you can individually rate your personal experiences with the drinks, food, service, music, etc. What Critiki is not for, however, is discussion or text-based reviews of locations. That kind of community-based content belongs at Tiki Central, which is why I’ve included a link to an appropriate Tiki Central thread for many locations. If you want to discuss a particular location in Critiki, start a thread on Tiki Central (make sure to search first to make sure one doesn’t already exist!) and I’ll create a link on Critiki.

I am hopeful that this will become a comprehensive archive of information about our favorite tiki locations (and some of the places we want to avoid, too!).

You’ll notice that some specific information, like the street address, is not available until you unlock it. This requires registration, and proving that you have a copy of James Teitelbaum’s Tiki Road Trip. Why is that? Because what I’ve done here is create a sort of next-generation version of James’ ground-breaking Tiki Bar Review Pages. I did not use any information he gathered, either from his web pages or his book. After going through all the hard work I know he had to do before me, I really respect how much effort went into his creation, and to show respect, I would like to ensure that those who use Critiki pick up a copy of James’ book. Most of my target audience already has, anyway, so it’s hardly a hardship. At some point, James & I will sync up our lists and help each other out, so that both Critiki and the next edition of Tiki Road Trip can offer the very best information.

Some of the information I have in Critiki is already out of date. Feel free to email me with corrections (don’t post them here on TC – there are too many and it’ll be no fun to slog through, plus it’ll be embarrassing for me!). Also, if you have photographs of locations, or even better, photographs or scans of related items (mugs, menus, postcards), I would love to represent them in Critiki. Visit the Critiki website to learn more about how to do that (don’t email them to me – my inbox can’t handle it).

I need to give mighty massive thanks to a couple of people for their help with Critiki.

First, I need to thank James Teitelbaum, for being so helpful and supportive. I had no way of knowing how he would respond when I first told him about my project, and I am so thankful that rather than be disappointed at the news of a new tiki location website on the horizon, he was not just open to it, but truly enthusiastic.

Next, I need to thank puamana & Selector Lopaka, not only for their support and enthusiasm for the project as I was working on it, but especially for putting so much hard work into scanning puamana’s menu, postcard and matchbook collection. The items represented in Critiki from puamana’s collection are only a small fraction of what she has, and it already brings these golden age locations to life.

I also would like to thank all of the wonderful TCers – too many to mention individually – who have opened up their hometowns to me and joined me on my tiki travels. I look forward to many more travels in the future.

Critiki is still pretty rough around the edges, and there are many improvements still to come – the aforementioned critiki rating system, and also improved search capabilities, and the ability to see which locations are rated highest in the different categories. Also, the registration & unlocking process seems a touch buggy and needs work (if it gives you guff, try going back to the main page – if you can’t get yourself registered and unlocked, throw me an email and I’ll get you set up). As I get settled in my new hometown and continue my travels, these improvements will likely come in small dollops, but they’ll continue. Most of the work at this point is dedicated to keeping the content up-to-date.

I hope that you find Critiki useful. That would make me very, very happy.

And now... Critiki.

The best tiki bar is the one that's within stumbling distance of your bed
The Humuhumu Room

[ Edited by: Humuhumu 2009-03-07 20:05 ]

[ Edited by: Humuhumu 2009-03-29 10:09 ]

Congrats! Critiki looks super and its content is sure to be a boon to us tiki lovers. I know this has been in the works for quite sometime and wish you the best in the future with it. Good times!

-Weird Unc

Congrats Ms. Humu -- the website looks fantastic! I look forward to its perusal.


Great idea, and a wonderful conception!

Having the hours and a map for restaurants and bars is really handy - info that was often hard to find before.

Perhaps in the future one could download listings into a PDA and take it with them on a trip (along with Tiki Road Trip of course).

I was thinking the exact same thing as TheJab said about downloading to a PDA.

I submitted my "Critiki" on locations I have been to, but did not see them turn up on its respective page, so I am guessing that you (Humuhumu) need to approve them before they actually show on the website.

The website is looking good and will most likely add some new excitement around here, especially since it is something that (almost) everyone can participate in on as far as "Critiki'ing" individual locations.


I'm sorry, SCD, I should have been more clear. The ability to add your own "critiki" is one of the things that is not yet entirely finished (close, though!). Hopefully, getting people using Critiki will be the kick in the pants I need to finish the job!


Sweet website, Humuhumu!!!!

On 2004-03-15 17:08, Humuhumu wrote:
I knew how I wanted to make my own contribution to the community.

Thank you for such a wonderful splendid contribution.

I have only one comment, in the future if your going to make a PDA or downloadable version. Start figuring out and storing GPS coordinates for each location along with the address. With more phones, cars and PDAs being made every day with GPS recievers in them, that is bound to be how people will find stuff in the future.


In the database, but not shown on the website, I'm storing latitude & longitude. However, I probably won't do a PDA version anytime soon -- I would rather work on improvements for the website that more people would be able to take advantage of, and besides, you've got Tiki Road Trip. :wink:

One thing on my wish list is to incorporate built-in mapping for multiple locations at once, so you can see what locations are near a specific point (much like location finders for chains of locations like McDonald's or Jiffy Lube). It'll be a while before I get to that, though.

Thanks so much for all your kind comments, it means so much to me!


It looks great. I really got to get some time to really absord it. Great job.

Fahbulous, dahling. I can't wait to start posting and reading about the local tiki hot spots, so many to catch up on here in New Jersey. Nice work...

Nice site, like the "picture of the day". I think I may have found the second best Tiki bar in South Florida (yes, better than swannys), I will update with pictures and more info soon.

The baby is swimming! Congratulations Humuhumu! (Shouldn't it's name be "Nukunuku"?)

Looks and feels great, one more step towards the Tikification of mankind!


Don't you sleep?
Don't you work?

Sheesh, I hate you overachievers!

My anger is only assuaged by the fact that I will be using your site to breathe in the atmosphere of many places I would have otherwise missed.

Oh - and drain their rum supply.

Mahalo for all the hard work.
You're quite a girl.

This is fabulous, Humu! When do you find the time to do all this?

WOW! Humu, you've certainly outdone yourself this time. Congrats for a job well done. I will check in often.

JTD posted on Tue, Mar 16, 2004 7:18 AM

You're killin' me. Here I am at work w/o my copy of TRT. How do you expect me to goof off properly? Catch ya after the whistles blows.


p.s. Great site. Can't wait to get "inside".


Way to go Humahumahumahuma. This is a Proud new baby notjust for you but for the whole Tiki world. Thanks for the time and effort.


Look at how you rock!

Excellent - Excellent work, Humuhumu. I haven't gone legit yet with registration, but with what I've seen after nosing around there, I can't begin to guess how much time and research it required to put Critiki together. Great job!



Thank you so much for your kind messages, it means so much to me. Thank you also to the kind people who have offered their information and photographs, I'll get back to you individually this evening.

I couldn't begin to count the hours of work that went into Critiki, including some vacation time. Definitely more than a few "lost weekends" but not of the alcohol induced variety. There have been some nights where I've been working on it so late that I had to stop myself from coding anymore, because I would get so sleepy I would start making really stupid coding mistakes. I have Googled 'til dawn at times, and oh my lord am I getting good at GIMP (GIMP is the Linux-y version of Photoshop. UNIX ROX!). Lots of long, long hours, and it was so much fun to work on. It's dangerous every time I do a spurt of work on it, everything else in my life ceases for a few days. I love it. And now you know why I take that infernal camera everywhere I go!

This is splendid achievement, Humu! Now we know where to direct those who ask, "Upcoming trip to _____. Is there any tiki there?" Thank you for this excellent contribution.

Wow! Very nice Humuhumu.......


Wow, beautiful. A digital treasure map with search function! Thank Humuhumu.


Hey, guess what??!! You can critiki on Critiki now! About damned time!

I finally sat down and picked up my stale code and got it hashed out. So far, the launch of Critiki has been extremely bug-free -- too bug-free, if you ask me. I'm sure this latest change will bring some termites out of the woodwork, so be sure to email me if you have trouble.

Here's how critiki-ing a location works. Each location has one or more categories you can critiki. To critiki a location, you must be logged in. There will be a link on the right hand side of the page when you're looking at a location. This link takes you to a page with all the possible critiki categories for that particular location, descriptive text for each category, and the ability to rate from 1 to 10, 1 being BAD, 10 being GOOD.

Please take a moment to read the categories carefully to understand what they are supposed to represent. It's all terribly subjective, of course, so to a certain extent you can bring your own meaning into it, but try to stay in keeping with the spirit of the category. For instance, "Mood" is not about the people inhabiting a space, it's more about the space itself, while "Vibe" is more about the people there.

Only critiki locations you have actually been to. The exception is locations that have been closed -- for these locations, I have created a special category, "Former Glory," and you can base your opinions on pictures you've seen, stories your parents told you, hell, even if you just think their mug is cool.

Critiki will remember ratings when you return, so you can update them if your opinions change in the future.

If your only experience at a location has been during a tiki event, try to take this into consideration when you're doing your ratings. For instance, TC events will often have a great band or DJ playing, so you don't really know if the music is always that good. You have the option of leaving categories blank if you don't have an opinion.

A note about Home Bars: I only have a handful in there, because I didn't want to add those bars without the owners' permission. The only ones I have are ones that were added to the Locating Tiki section on TC; I figured those people wouldn't mind. If your bar is in there, and you want it out, say the word, and it's out, pronto. But if your home bar isn't in there and you want it in, let me know! I'll only put in the information you want me to put in, the only requirement is a name for the bar, and the city it's in. Anything more is up to you. Home Bars are also unique in that you can choose which critiki categories you're comfortable with being associated with your location.

Thank you very, very much to all the kind people who have been sending me photo submissions, information about locations I don't have, updates for locations I do, and just good stuff overall. I've got a bit of a backlog, especially of photos, but I'll get to all of it eventually, I keep chipping away at it. Mahalos, big mahalos.

Humuhumu mentioned

In the database, but not shown on the website, I'm storing latitude & longitude.

Cool! I love using my GPS...closest thing to a tricorder I've got (pushes bandaged glasses up on nose).


Awesome idea and execution! Already added to my "favorites" button.

kctiki posted on Thu, Apr 8, 2004 9:09 AM

Humuhumu, it's possible Critiki could help some struggling businesses stay in the black. Your generous donation of time & talent is really inspirational!

kctiki wrote:
Humuhumu, it's possible Critiki could help some struggling businesses stay in the black...

Hmmm....possibly. I see it more as a way for existing businesses to increase their score in areas where they may be lacking. True, dedicated business owners wanting to be the best and offer the best to their customers do appreciate Critikicism no matter if it's good or bad. Critiki can be better feedback for businesses than those little "Comment Cards" that some places have (or not have!), since the submission of scores is kept anonymous and also because their target market is...US!

Of course, it will only matter to the existing businesses if they are aware of the Critiki website.

Humu, have businesses been notified of your website yet? Any plans on having businesses sponsor their own Critiki page? Maybe offer discounts or specials on their page for those registered on Critiki?


My statement was kinda vague. I meant to say that exposure thru the Critiki database could help draw in some incremental business for these establishments and help add to their bottom lines.

I'll go out on a limb and say Polynesian dining and Tiki bars may be coming back in a BIG way. Critiki may help some of these places be found by John Q Public.


I've done a bunch of stuff over the years for a website reviewing Tiki bars in Europe, but have let it slide a bit in the past couple of years. I'd love it if you could use some of the reviews, etc, as your website is so much more user-friendly and useful to the globe-trotting Tiki-phile. Just let me know if all this material would be useful to you.

Trader Woody

This thread snuck by me when I was in Europe.
I love this website! A lot of love / work has gone into it and it shows.
Congratulations and LUCKY US to have you on our islands!

Wow! Nice work Humuhumu.

A much-needed addition to our tiki universe. Easy to use and beautifully designed! And to think, there's actually a "Polynesian Room" in a hotel right here in Vancouver that I never even knew about. (Unfortunately you have to rent out the whole thing just to get in -- Oh well, at least now if I ever get married I know exactly where my reception will be!)

I'll try & send you some pix of the B.C. locations if I can get 'em (might have some pix of the old Vancouver Trader Vic's somewhere too.)


I'm afraid that I have used Critique feature of Critiki and was left with no choice but to be brutally honest with "Trader Vic's Final Resting Place". I've been there twice now, and I have to give absolute bottom ratings for Mood, Music, Service, and Vibe. There's no music at all, the service is nonexistant, and everyone else there were a bunch of stiffs. The vibe was...well...quiet. I do have to give high marks for the stylish and understated decor. And of course, being next to the master himself makes it a solid 10 on the tikiness scale, although he wasn't too chatty when I was there. The drink menu is limited to Oakland tapwater from drinking fountains, but it's the same water that was used to make the ice for the first mai tai, so it's got some historical value. But still, with an overall rating of 3.7, I won't go out of my way again in the future.


A thing of beauty! I think...yes, a tear, I'm going to cry. Thank you Humhumu. Absolutely beautiful!

virani posted on Thu, Apr 8, 2004 2:38 PM

Thanks a lot for this treasure...


Boy, I dunno about Critiki keeping places in the black or anything -- I'd be surprised if Critiki drives more than the very faintest of trickle of traffic to any one place. S'pose it can't hurt, though. Well, except for the Giligin's Kon Tikis and Tiki Bob Cantinas of this sad modern world -- don't forget to Critiki the cruddy places, too, as a warning to your brother tikiphile!

SCD, I won't be doing any sponsorships or relationships with businesses on Critiki -- it's important to me that it remain impartial, and I have no particular desire to get any money off of it. I can afford to run it just fine, it's not an imposition at all. If businesses want to offer discounts to attract our crowd, TC is a much, much better place to do that, anyhow.

Trader Woody -- thank you so much for your kind offer. I'll contact you via email to discuss it further.

Travellin' Tiki -- the Polynesian Room is occasionally rented out for events that are open to the public. Lushy, a Seattle band you'll get to hear at Oasis, played a New Year's Eve event there a few years ago. Also a couple of years back, someone gave a talk on tiki there that was open to the public. I never have made it up there, but the few pics and descriptions I've come across make it sound really wonderful. Be sure to weasel your way in there one way or another.

Martiki: hee! There wasn't any music when I was there, either, but Cynful said that sometimes they have creepy music playing.

Thanks again to all of you for all of your incredibly kind words, and also for your deluge of critikis! Keep 'em coming!


Looking good Michelle! Thanks for putting this out. I'll see what I can contribute to your lovely website.


Hee hee! I've been up way past my bedtime to work on this, and I had to do a cheap hack to get it to work, but it's so worth it. Check it out:

Browse by Globe

It's a Java applet, so it won't work if you don't have Java. Ordinarily I'd stay away from using technology that's not universally installed, but this is just too cool to not do, even if not everyone can see it. It's worth getting Java on your machine! It's free, it's just a bit tricky -- ask a computer-savvy friend to lend you a hand and they'll have you running in a jiffy.

This first pass I've done only includes locations that are currently active (not closed ones) and only ones for which I have a n accurate latitude/longitude.

Next I'll work on a globe that displays defunct sites, too, and I'll include sites for which I don't have specific location info (i.e., just the city). That should bump up the international representation a bit. This current version only shows ~200 of the 460+ locations in Critiki (but you're probably more interested in these not-closed sites, anyhow).

Edited to add: the Java plug-in that comes with Internet Explorer 6 doesn't work properly. You'll need to get the latest Java plug-in from Sun. http://www.java.com

I had it all backwards -- the best bed is the one that's stumbling distance from Tiki-Ti, or the Mai Kai, or the Lagoon Room, or the Alibi, or the Kon Tiki, or...

[ Edited by: Humuhumu on 2004-04-14 13:05 ]

Critiki is FAB ~ i dont know how your post snuck past me.. but now i'm Critiki-ing away..

how did you do such a thing? in your vast quantity of spare time..between work, finding work, moving, jetsetting around ...

im astounded. and impressed. and glad you're sharing your "baby" with all of us!


Thanks so much dogbytes! It means so much to me that people are finding Critiki useful, or at least fun to play with!

I've updated the globe applet, and Mig reports that it's working with Internet Explorer now, so if you tried it earlier and it didn't work (or if the globe displayed but the red pins didn't), try again, and it should work.

So, I've got my own plans for what to do with this latitude & longitude info, but GPS stuff hasn't really been my focus. I know that there are people who are really into it, but I don't know much about how it's used. How can I make this data available in a useful fashion? If I just display the coords on the page, is that enough, or is there a keen-o-reeno website I could link it up to (like one of those geochaching thingys)? Do the OnStar-type GPS-guided vehicle systems take destinations in this format?

That Globe feature is awesome! The planet is adorned with markers that represent active tiki establishments. You rotate the globe with your pointer, click on the marker and up comes the info. Pics too! Just plain nifty, Humu.

Awesome site! Great job!


Humuhumu ----
WOW!!!!! I am sooooooo thrilled with Critiki!!!! I liked the scavanger hunt through the Tiki Road Trip. I am embarrassed to admit, that I had to do it twice. I didn't read the 3rd question thoroughly and had to redo it! DAH!

You did a fantastic job! I just traveled all over the US from one tiki location to another thanks to Critiki! It will really come in handy when we travel.

Your pics are really good. You have a great tiki eye!

Thanks for such a great website!!!!! AWESOME!!!


Thanks for the kudos, guys!

Otto's Tiki News announcement for Critiki has sent a mind-blowing number of people to the site, and they've added lots & lots of critikis. I now have enough critikis to finish my work on the Browse by Rating feature; I'm hoping to get to it this weekend.

Shockingly, the Mai Kai hasn't been rated enough times to register on the highest rated locations (I don't include a location until it's been rated by at least five people). Tons of other locations have been rated by more than 5 people, but for some reason, our beloved Mai Kai has been left out in the cold. I know it can't be that people are so dispassionate about the Mai Kai. Why no love for the Mai Kai???

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