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The Tiki Bars & Restaurants One Sentence Challenge


Well-known member
List your favorite tiki bars and restaurants and give one sentence, and no more, that relates to your visit. It can be a review, interesting memory, or pithy observation.

Kelbo’s, Los Angeles - Where, as a child, I learned to love tiki.

Tiki Ti, Los Angeles - Small, cramped, amazing.

Don the Beachcomber, Palm Springs - Where I saw that my dad’s fellow doctors, after being in all day seminars, could run up huge bar tabs.

The Beachcomber, Malibu - Where my uncle in 1980 gave me a $100 bill for my 18th birthday.

Makai Island Kitchen, Santa Cruz Pier - Round and round she goes.

Hula Island Grill, Santa Cruz - Beautiful, classic, dark back room.

Trader Vick’s, Palo Alto - Tikiyaki Orchestra!

Forbidden Island, Alameda - The Missionary’s, and my, Downfall.

The Tongan Room, SF - Awe inspiring (except for the drinks).
False Idol - I learned to appreciate the art of lighting a Tiki bar. (Amazing light fixtures)

UnderTow - I discovered that the more attention to detail you allow, the more immersive the environment becomes. (inside a ship)

Hale Pele - Bartenders can make or break your Tiki bar. These bartenders are some of the best in the biz. (drinks are outstanding)
The Bishop Museum - Neither a restaurant nor a bar, but the carving of Ku in the main hall always impressed and intimidated me as a kid and I was drawn to it.

The now removed Hawaiian weapons display at the Smithsonian - After moving to the east coast, I regularly visited this display for years and always felt a connection with home.

Frankie's - It's where it dawned on me that a great bartender is part of the secret sauce for a good tiki bar.

Trader Sam's (WDW) - It's the bookend where I learned that a brusque bartender can nearly ruin an otherwise stellar tiki bar experience.

The Pagoda - It's not tiki, but it gave me my love of the bamboo, ponds, and garden rockwork aesthetic.

Tahitian Lanai - The dormant brain worm that all came rushing back to me when I set foot in the Honolulu decades later.

The Honolulu - It is where I began to appreciate tiki.