Following World War II there was an influx of restaurants and bars inspired by places frequented by soldiers stationed in the South Pacific. At some point these bamboo-walled establishments and their fruity beverages fell out of fashion, but lately Tiki bars have made a comeback in some of the country’s hottest cities, turning signature Tiki cocktails into handcrafted masterpieces. Here are seven to check out.
OTTO’S SHRUNKEN HEAD
New York City, ottosshrunkenhead.com
Decked out in kitsch, this East Village dive bar serves up fruity cocktails in mugs shaped like kittens, adorned with hula girls, and carved like Hawaiian masks. Come for the daiquiris, stay for the live music.
THREE DOTS AND A DASH
Equal parts Tiki bar and speakeasy (there’s a backdoor entry way), this watering hole serves up colorful craft cocktails. Just look out for the drinks marked with a skull, which indicates “impressive strength.”
Los Angeles, tiki-ti.com
This classic City of Angels tropical spot has been a staple since it opened its doors in 1961. Though it’s a cozy space (just 12 barstools), you’ll find no shortage of drinks, with 92 cocktails on the menu.
TONGA ROOM & HURRICANE BAR
San Francisco, tongaroom.com
Located inside San Francisco’s luxurious Fairmont Hotel, Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar takes Tiki to the next level. The swank atmosphere includes a menu full of tasty Asian cuisine and a pool in the middle of the room.
Bamboo walls, an array of masks and other Hawaiian artifacts, and lamps made out of real puffer fish set the tone at this hipster hang. And, you’ll have no problem getting lit: Drinks are ranked and organized by booziness on the menu, so you can figure out just how messed up you want to get.
FRANKIE’S TIKI ROOM
Las Vegas, frankiestikiroom.com
The folks at Frankie’s have taken great care to construct an authentic experience, even enlisting Bamboo Ben the world’s top Tiki bar designer, to create the spot’s look. You can drop by anytime—as you might expect from Vegas, the joint is open 24-hours a day—but if you own a Hawaiian shirt, you may want to stop by on Fridays. On Aloha Fridays, all Hawaiian-shirt-clad customers get their first drink at half price!
You might feel like you’ve gone back in time when you set foot into this Denver hub. Not only does it capture midcentury Tiki madness with its Polynesian inspired décor and menu full of retro drinks, but also with thanks to the TVs that play decades-old shows and movies.