WHERE DID 'TIKI' COME FROM?!

Tiki is getting away from the busy, fast-paced life we lead, even if it’s just for a moment.

The first restaurant with a Tiki theme was opened in Los Angeles in the 1930s, by Donn Beach after he travelled across the islands in the Pacific Ocean for several months.

Donn Beach decorated his bar with souvenirs from his trip and with nets and parts of shipwrecks he had found on the beach. The menu had exotic rum-based drinks, simply because this was the cheapest form of alcohol available. He called his bar "Don the Beachcomber", and the world’s first tiki bar was born.

His motto is “If you can’t get to paradise, I’ll bring it to you.”

Not too long after that, the first Trader Vic’s restaurant opened in Oakland with a similar theme. Both restaurants were incredibly popular thanks to their strong, yet utterly delicious cocktails and were famous for their laidback vibe. Bamboo, hand carved tikis, palm trees and Hawaiian music symbolized the blossoming era, and the popularity of tiki culture kept growing.

THE STYLE

The Tiki style is centered around bamboo, wooden masks and carvings, thatched surfaces, lava stones, hula girls... helping you escape the city and feel like you are on holiday on a tropical island. 

With a tropical cocktail in your hand, surrounded by tribal artifacts and Tikis, listening to mellifluous music, there's no need to remember what time it is. You're on island time.

THE FOOD

Hawaiian foods and a melding of Polynesian and Cantonese cuisines.

A few signature dishes to expect:

  • POKE  (Psst … it’s pronounced “POH-keh”)

Poke has become a "trendy food" in recent years, but Hawaii has been serving this delicious seafood salad for decades. Originating in Polynesia, poke bowls consist of cuts of raw seafood marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil, mixed with onions, veggies, and whatever toppings you want.

  • SPAM MASUBI

Spam musubi is a popular snack and lunch food in Hawaii composed of a slice of grilled Spam on top of a block of rice, wrapped together with nori in the tradition of Japanese omusubi. Spam musubi are commonly found near cash registers in convenience stores all over Hawaii.

  • PUPU PLATTER

Pu-Pu is a hybrid of island culture and increasingly popular Americanized Chinese food. The array of finger foods should be laid out on a round platter and includes a selection of items, each of which fits into one of three essential categories: skewered, fried or saucy.

 

MORE FOOD SURPRISES TO COME!

THE DRINKS

CRAZY MUGS

Tiki bars and restaurants would serve cocktails in different ceramic mugs, shaped like tikis: tiki mugs. Signature drinks were served in these mugs so visitors could take them home as a souvenir. 

WHAT’S WITH THE TINY UMBRELLAS?

Ah, glad you asked! According to Bamboo Ben, they were originally developed as a way of keeping the ice in a drink cold on a warm day out on the beach. They were popularized by Trader Vic in the 1930s, and caught on from there. 

SIGNATURE COCKTAILS

Your typical Tiki cocktail is a mix of light or dark rum, flavored syrups, and tropical fruit juices. Here are 2 cocktails to expect from The Woods Tiki Bar pop-up!

  • ZOMBIE

It’s often said that if you consume multiple servings, you’re guaranteed to turn into a zombie… 

Donn Beach kept his original 1934 recipe a closely guarded secret — to the point of encoding it. The code numbers corresponded to numbers on bottles in his bar, which had no other identification; the actual contents of the bottles were a complete mystery to the employees who mixed them.

This foiled rival restaurateurs who tried to steal Donn’s drinks by hiring away his bartenders — and forced competing Tiki bars to improvise their own versions of the Zombie. 

Here is what we do know about the Zombie cocktail:

Rum, and lots of it! The list always includes a light and dark rum, some add a third (typically 151-proof rum).

Fruit juice. Passionfruit seems to be the key to a great Zombie, but from there it could be orange, pineapple and/or papaya.

  • MAI TAI

Trader Vic tested a cocktail one evening on his Tahitian friends, who exclaimed "Mai tai roa ae!" - which means "Out of this World - the best!" So the cocktail was named Mai Tai.

The original formula is rum, lime, orange curacao, rock candy syrup, and orgeat.