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Tiki Bars Worth the Journey

Tiki culture—which seems to have been cobbled together from authentic Polynesian iconography and cheap plastics by teams of ad executives in the 1950s—has been both studied and vilified, but endures like the flame of a torch driven into the sand. These bars, which all embrace the ukelele, bamboo building materials, and pineapple garnishes, vary from solemn reenactors of a pretend Polynesian civilization to fully blown museums of kitsch culture. Step through the beaded curtains to find fruit-laden beverages and a good time.
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2330 Kalakaua Ave #330, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Upscale food halls are having their day and here James Beard-winner and Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina takes a star turn. Of special note is the Myna Bird cocktail bar, inspired by Don the Beachcomber, the joint that kicked off the...
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1363 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Top Chef finalist Tiffani Faison showed off her versatility in opening Tiger Mama, her second restaurant, as an un-Americanized Asian-fusion concept—wildly different than Sweet Cheeks Q, her Boston barbecue joint. What’s similar is Tiger Mama’s...
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French Polynesia
Bloody Mary's, entertaining tourists since it opened in 1979, is one of those Bora Bora experiences that simply must be done. The ambience is beach-bar hip, with sand floors, colored lights, and coconut stools in a dining room under a thatched...
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1378 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L7, Canada
The West End neighborhood of Parkdale, once considered an unsavory part of town, has undergone a transformation. One of the new arrivals is the Shameful Tiki Room, a Vancouver transplant with a kitschy Polynesian atmosphere....
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3154 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
If there were ever a city where a tiki bar is bound to succeed, it’s Chicago—during warmer months, they can help us embrace our short-lived summers; and during winter months, they help us escape the reality of subzero temps. As such, the seats of...
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321 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Owner and tiki archaeologist Jeff “Beachbum” Berry spent the better part of three decades researching early tiki drinks—he’s noted for unearthing the once-thought-lost recipe for zombies (dating back to 1934). He’s also the author of eight books...
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1712 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89102, USA
The kitschy beachcomber designs of Frankie’s are the brainchild of Bamboo Ben Bassham, the grandson of a creator of Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room. The bar is chock-full of carvings, totems, thatch, and bamboo....
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950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
This 70-year-old Polynesian-inspired bar at the Fairmont Hotel is part Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean and part theme party with potent drinks. The bartenders mix rum cocktails of their own creation and showcase...