When Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt — who called himself Don the Beachcomber — opened the first tiki bar in Hollywood, California, just after Prohibition ended, it’s likely no one could have predicted the widespread popularity the concept would have, both as a mainstream escape then and a rediscovered obsession for many now.
Tiki culture is known for dark, heavily themed interiors and deceptively sweet drinks that mask just how strong they are. If you, like Don, are looking to escape to warmer climes and smoother seas, look no further than these regional favorites.
This bar regularly makes the lists of best bars of any kind in Portland, along with best tiki bars in the world. Choose from more than 50 cocktails (from classics to originals) and don’t miss the tropical small plates. If you’re wanting to dive deeper into the “House of the Volcano Goddess,” check out the loyalty program (where the goal is to try every drink on the menu) or the rum club.
Unlike some tiki bars, this Seattle rendition lets in natural light. Even so, the drinks are the real deal. Try one of the shareable tiki bowls (with versions that serve up to nine guests), or sample one of the single-serving tiki drinks, which stick close to the classics. Stay tuned for a menu overhaul twice yearly.
Though Devil’s Reef is the second tropically inspired bar dreamed up by its owners (the original closed in late 2018), this Tacoma, Washington, joint is full-on immersive tiki. Settle into a decked-out booth or admire the extensive rum collection from a seat at the bar. Order a classic tiki cocktail, a modern spin or one of the many fine rums on offer.
Though perhaps not a true tiki bar, this downtown Boise, Idaho, spot can help satisfy your craving for a Mai Tai or Scorpion. The joint prides itself on Polynesian-inspired food and regular live music events. Enjoy your evening inside or outside on the patio, both decorated in tiki style with lots of natural light.
This Vancouver, British Columbia, joint is all about creating a relaxed vibe — the menu isn’t overwhelming (you’ll find a mix of classics like the Blue Hawaiian and the Zombie as well as originals) and includes a wide selection of Polynesian snacks. Come on the right day and you might catch live music or hula dancers.
The Tiny Tiki
Nestled in the heart of downtown Spokane, Washington, in a space that used to house a hair salon, this bar is truly tiny. Opened in early 2018, Tiny is the first tiki bar in Spokane known for mai tais on nitro and a well-priced happy hour.
Brunch, happy hour, daily karaoke — Portland’s Alibi has it all — along with a healthy selection of classic tiki drinks and bowls, and a food menu with everything from a pupu platter to a burger. Don’t miss the signature slushies.