If you want to get away without actually getting-away, I highly recommend checking out these tropic-inspired tiki bars! Catch a glimpse of paradise and enjoy an adult beverage or two while relaxing at these trendy new hot-spots across the country. Get your aloha on all summer long and cheers to a little vacation you can walk home from!
Mother of Pearl - New York, NY
Opening Date: Anticipated late May or early June 2015
Located in the East Village space that formerly housed Gin Palace (which closed because it was sinking into the ground and extensive reconstruction was needed), Mother of Pearl will open as a “tiki-influenced” bar helmed by Amor y Amargo’s Sother Teague. The drink list has been described as “Postmodern Polynesian,” with plenty of rum, which we love!
Trader Sam's Grog Grotto - Lake Buena Vista, FL
Opening Date: April 2015
Located within Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (yes Disney), look for drinks like the Polynesian Pearl and Castaway Crush. And they have drinks imported from the original Anaheim outpost, like the Krakatoa Punch and HippopotoMai-Tai, yum! Cheery collectible tiki mugs are on hand, of course, because after all, it is Disney. Trader Sam's is a sprawling operation, seating 50 at the lounge inside, plus another 82 on the patio.
Lost Lake - Chicago, IL
Opening Date: January 2015
Run by bartending vet Paul McGee, formerly of lauded Three Dots and a Dash, with a rum list curated by Martin Cate of San Francisco tiki haven Smuggler’s Cove, the bar describes itself as a “tropical oasis-meets-flotsam-strewn island hut” that channels the “rugged nautical aesthetic of the original Don’s Beachcomber Café". I wouldn't mind floating away here! Drinks pay homage to tiki classics, though there are plenty of new creations, including the Coconut Grove Cooler (Scotch, passion fruit, pomegranate, pineapple and lemon juices) - sounds like on my boyfriend would love!
End of the Century - Queens, NY
Opening Date: December 2014
Although it’s not a tiki bar per se, but the group behind the Forest Hills venture includes vets from bars formerly known as Painkiller and Dutch Kills. They brought on drinks like the Kon-Tiki Mai Tai (rum, absinthe, fresh juices, ginger syrup) and enormous Scorpion Bowls created from their previous experiences. The dark wood walls are hung with travel souvenirs like Indonesian masks and maracas from Cuba.
Latitude 29 - New Orleans, LA
Opening Date: October 2014
This hotly anticipated new bar and restaurant was conceived and spearheaded by writer and tiki guru Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and is located within the French Quarter’s Hotel Bienville. Head bartender Steve Yamada oversees the drinks, which span from Mai Tais and other classics to more adventurous undertakings, including “communal drinks” like the Aquadesiac, intended for two to share (gold Barbados rum, blue curaçao, Bénédictine, lemon, almond and caraway, served in a shell-like vessel). I need to go here!
The Happiest Hour - New York, NY
Opening Date: October 2014
Though it’s not a tiki bar, it sure looks like one, decked out with palm frond wallpaper meant to evoke mid-century Florida and California resorts; beach-y knickknacks on the wall (boats, seashells, flamingo figurines); and golden pineapples tucked in along the back bar. Garret Richard, host-creator of the Brooklyn Luau, is behind the bar, transforming tiki classics like swizzles into frozen drinks. And to top it off or really bottom it off - they've opened “Slowly Shirley,” an exclusive lounge beneath the bar.
Longitude - Oakland, CA
Opening Date: August 2014
From Suzanne Long, former bar manager at Alameda’s Forbidden Island, this space has been lauded for the dazzling tropical-themed interior, full of lush greens and bamboo—even an East African thatched hut. Plus, there’s an ambitious menu of tiki drinks, like the Black Orchid (flambéed rum cordial, Angostura 7 Year Old rum and citrus, garnished with an orchid and freshwater pearl).
Tonga Hut - Palm Springs, CA
Opening Date: February 2014
It’s an offspring of Los Angeles’s oldest tiki-themed watering hole: the iconic Tonga Hut in North Hollywood, built in 1958. Bigger than the original, the new desert outpost features mid-century décor, vintage Polynesian collectibles, and plenty of classic tiki drinks. Unlike the original, there’s also a full menu of Polynesian and Cantonese food—and a speakeasy-ish secret tiki room, entered through a PDT-style phone booth. This is evoking a lot of excitement with us! Who hasn't dreamed of entering a bar that way? I feel like after a few drinks, I may not find my way back out though!
Flask & Cannon - Jacksonville, FL
Opening Date: January 2014
This “urban tiki” bar near Jax Beach prides itself on having plenty of rum and minimal kitsch. A sister bar to the chill, equally cocktail-centric Sidecar, look for trivia nights, live music and drinks like the Santiago and Dunbar (Kappa Pisco, Fidencio Mezcal, Yellow Chartreuse, pineapple, lime and Abbott’s Bitters, intended for two people).
You can bet that I will be planning my next vacation around these tiki-inspired dreams come true. If you're getting away soon, don't forget to devour the details of these nine different kinds of paradise (and have a drink for us too)!