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Commercial The Alibi - Portland

commercial tiki bar


Staff member
Made a visit to Portland’s oldest Tiki bar, The Alibi. Decor was excellent. Very dark which highlighted the awesome lighting. Bartender was friendly and chatty. Volunteered some historical info on the location. Drinks were delicious served quickly. One downside was slot machines placed in various locations of the bar. 🙀. Also a thumbs down for offering karaoke. That took a little away from the tiki vibe. Still a must see Tiki bar.

Down in Scottsdale Hulas Modern Tiki does something similar, great drinks but no decor to speak of. (Although the one I visit does have a small room that has traditional decor) I call those establishments “not quite tiki”. That’s why I try to visit these jewels when traveling, make me appreciate the work these bars have put in. Some folks may not care about the decor, but for me personally it’s got to have bamboo, matting, and some cool lighting and music. Extra points if the bar has a few velvet paintings. 😂. I want to feel like I am somewhere exotic, a thousand miles away from work, troubles and stress.
The only reason The Alibi survived the 90’s, 00’s and beyond was because of the crowds Karaoke brings in the evening and weekends. Likely still the case now. With such a huge space, you need to people that stay all night drinking and singing, and bringing large groups of friends. Without those people, it would be virtually impossible for a place like The Alibi, in the area of Portland that it is, to make enough money. It’s not a place you just wander to like if it were downtown, it’s a destination. Same principle goes for the lottery machines, there were (presumably are still) so many regulars that come in during the day to play the machines and drink and eat, and the bar’s portion of the the Oregon Lottery‘s payouts typically keeps the lights on at bars, and that’s why places have them.

Plus in my mind, both Karaoke and the gambling lend to the old-school Vegas vibe!

(Disclosure: I worked at The Alibi for quite a few years prior to the new ownership)
Really wish I knew where the old sign went to! Have a hard time believing it would have simply been destroyed!


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We visited the Alibi back in 2017. Agree 100% on the decor. Classic 1950s tiki frozen in amber. Alas, back then the drinks were uneven and the music... sorry, but Tin Lizzy, Foghat and Bachman Turner Overdrive is inappropriate audio for tiki. I get the value of karaeoke evenings, but this was late afternoon with only a handful of patrons.

Still, I recommend visiting at least once.