16 Tiki Bars You Have to Visit
The island-inspired cocktails are making a big comeback. Check out these iconic spots plus what to order.
Photo By: Jochen Hirschfeld
Photo By: John C Jones
Photo By: Anjali M. PInto
Photo By: David Roark
Photo By: Eric Risberg
Frankie's Tiki Bar, Las Vegas
Let's be honest, Vegas is known for its excess and Frankie's Tiki Bar embodies that with a Polynesian twist. Pull up a stool, order the Kapu I'A and don't forget to purchase a commemorative glass to take home. Their selection is incredible.
Hale Pele, Portland
Hale Pele is located in the cocktail mecca of Portland. With the volcano theme running throughout the bar, order yourself a Lava Flow. This visual masterpiece is a strawberry variation on the Pina Colada.
Honi Honi, Hong Kong
Lucky enough to find yourself in Hong Kong? Head over to Honi Honi for the authentic tiki experience. Try the Dragon Fire cocktail which is prepared "blazer-style." This means the spirits are warmed and set aflame as the bartender "rolls" (pours) them between two cocktail shakers.
Don the Beachcomber, Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach (outside of Los Angeles) is home to one of the original tiki bars, Don the Beachcomber. This spot is a pilgrimage for any hardcore tiki fan and you simply must order a Zombie.
If Anthony Bourdain likes this place, so should you. He visited on No Reservations and rightfully so. It's the first tiki bar in Finland, and the best. Stick with the classics or venture out to one of their original works.
Beach Bum Barry's Latitude 29, New Orleans
It's hard to select only one place to visit when you go to New Orleans. But the arguable cocktail capital of the U.S. has this brilliant bar. "Choosing a favorite at Latitude 29 is not an easy task," says Ann Tuennerman, co-founder of the famous Tales of the Cocktail festivals. "You really can’t go wrong up and down the menu. But if you pushed me to pick just one, I’d say the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver."
"Mahiki is a tropical escape from reality in Mayfair London. The closest you can get to holiday in Hawaii without a plane ticket," says Georgi Radev of the Spirit of Tiki Team in the United Kingdom. Check out their signature drink: the Honolulu Honey featuring Honey Cream.
Maikai, Ft. Lauderdale
With epic Hawaiian stage shows, you are in for a treat at this Florida hot spot. The owners recommend the Black Magic cocktail featuring coffee and rum flavors.
Otto's Shrunken Head, New York City
NYC has hundreds of bars but Otto's Shrunken Head is the…head…of the class. Kelly and Paul from the Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en Show know their tiki and recommend the namesake cocktail, Otto's Shrunken Head. "Great downtown vibe, friendly folks, fabulous decor and delicious (strong) drinks."
Porco's, Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland has extraordinary bars that are under the radar on the national scene. "One of my favorite drinks ever is the Jungle Bird," says Shane McGrath, president of the Greater Detroit U.S. Bartender's Guild. You'll adore the beautifully decorated bar and patio at this Midwest tiki treasure.
Shameful Tiki, Toronto and Vancouver
Spanning the Canadian coasts, with Vancouver and Toronto locations, is Shameful Tiki. If you dare, order the Mystery Bowl. The drink requires two or more imbibers and comes with a fair warning and lots of hoopla.
Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco
One of the modern kings of tiki is Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco. Camper English, founder of Alcademics.com, recommends the Jet Pilot. With a gorgeous bar like this, you can't go wrong with your selection. Grab their new book on the way out and bring some tiki home with you.
Three Dots and A Dash, Chicago
Every night this bar is organized chaos with lines wrapped around the building and energy-pumping music. It's not your typical tiki bar. Yet the drinks speak for themselves. Order a Chief Lapu Lapu, for you and your friends, off their delightfully retro menu.
Trader Sam's Grog Grotto, Disneyland and Walt Disney World
Disney knows how to bring fun and entertainment to any situation and tiki is no exception. With locations in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, check out the latter for an even more exciting experience. Certain drinks on the menu trigger events to happen in the bar. This could be rain, eruptions or singing by the staff. Order the Nautilus, if you don't believe me.
Trader Vic's, Emeryville, California
Just outside of San Francisco lies the other champion of the classic cocktail era: Trader Vic's. The worldwide empire that invented many famous drinks and launched 19 locations started here. The one drink you must order is the iconic Mai Tai.
Jungle Boy, Melbourne
A speakeasy-style tiki bar is the clever combo you find in Melbourne with Jungle Boy. You have to enter through the secret entrance in a sub shop and the bar only seats 40, so be patient if you can't get in this popular spot. Try the Zombie with an "American" style sub.