Singlehandedly started by Don the Beachcomber (Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt) over 70 years ago, the Tiki Restaurant/Bar saw its heyday during the 1940’s thru the mid-60’s. Americans once flocked to these tropical themed environments to escape from their every-day lives and become urban primitives, even if it was just for a few hours. You could find a Tiki bar, sometimes several, in almost every city across the country. The lifestyle was so popular that it inspired fashion designers, a television series, feature films like Elvis’ Blue Hawaii and South Seas Island Theme Parks!
Tiki fell out of popularity in the 1970’s and became a fading memory. Thankfully, a few of these historic locations survived and were rediscovered by a group of self professed urban archeologists which led the path to a resurgence that is now 15 years strong and here to stay! The always growing Tiki movement shows little evidence of slowing down as new Tiki bars and restaurants pop up in cities like San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago, London, Berlin and many more.
The Hukilau is a celebration of all things Tiki, the history of the Mai-Kai and Polynesian Pop Culture. The above two paragraphs barely scratch the surface of this incredible phenomenon that swept the country and still survives today. To get an idea of what Tiki is all about plan to become a Villager and attend The Hukilau or another Tiki event near you. Or, perhaps you have a Tiki bar on a street corner near you where you can celebrate as often as you like – we hope so!
Want to know more about Tiki? We would recommend the following Tiki Tomes to further your research:
- The Book of Tiki – Sven Kirsten
- Tiki Modern – Sven Kirsten
- Tiki Pop – Sven Kirsten
- Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean – Jeff Beachbum Berry
- Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki – Martin Cate
- Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant – Tim Glazner