Entries in the 'Continental Europe' Category

August 25, 2010

Ordinary Bars, Extraordinary Tiki Drinks

Filed under: Continental Europe,Drinks,Houston,London,Los Angeles,New York,Perfect Tiki Bar,Portland,Seattle,Tiki,Washington, D.C. — Humuhumu @ 2:23 pm

Bartender Michael Bertrand tends to his fire at Vessel in Seattle,
photo by Rocky Yeh

First, let’s get this out of the way: the outstanding bars on this list are not ordinary by any measure, but one… they are not tiki bars. These establishments are part of a new class of cocktailing, where constructing a beverage is paid the same attention as that given to preparing a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

But they are not tiki bars.

You won’t find them in Critiki, and they may very well be off your radar. They may not even be able to make tiki drinks any time, any day, as the ingredients required are notoriously numerous and fussy. But each location on this list has at least one bartender on staff who shares your passion, and wants to make your Nui Nui dreams come true. Some have regular or periodic tiki nights, some even have dedicated tiki sections of their menu. When it comes to tiki drinks, frankly these places are going to deliver better than most any tiki bar out there. Encourage them, won’t you?

Drink – 348 Congress St., Boston, MA
Drink keeps a number of flavored syrups around just for making tiki drinks–prepared for them with love and care by none other than Randy Wong of Waitiki!

Death & Company – 433 East 6th St., Manhattan, New York, NY
Though Brian Miller, a driving force behind Death & Co.’s tiki drinks, has moved on, his imprint lingers. Tiki drinks, and tiki-leaning beverages, can still be found on the menu.

Please Don’t Tell (PDT) – 113 Saint Marks Pl., Manhattan, New York, NY
There are reports that you may be able to snag a high-quality tiki drink at the world’s worst-kept-secret bar.

Flatiron Lounge – 37 W 19th St., Manhattan, New York, NY
Joe Swifka: ask for him by name. He’s gotten to have a bit of a reputation as the go-to bartender for tiki drinks in New York. Tiki drinks make frequent appearances on Flatiron’s rotating menu.

Clover Club – 210 Smith St., Brooklyn, New York, NY
Clover Club has the same owner as Flatiron Lounge, Julie Reiner. Reiner grew up in Hawaii and plans to open a tropical (but not tiki) restaurant in Manhattan later this year. Clover Club is Victorian in style, but if you ask nicely, they may be able to hook you up with the good stuff.

Dram – 177 S 4th St, Brooklyn, New York, NY
Dram’s rotating menu often has tiki items on offer—at this writing, it’s a Jet Pilot.

Dutch Kills – 27-24 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, NY
Dutch Kills is from the same team that opened New York’s latest tiki savior, Painkiller.

Rum Bar – 2005 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA
Rum Bar is, well, all about rum. Most of the cocktail list is Caribbean-focused, but a few traditional tiki cocktails are also on offer.

Embury – 2216 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA
Embury has a Tiki Tuesday event, and they’re game for tackling the complicated drinks.

Farmers & Fishers – 3000 K Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Zombies, Fog Cutters, Grogs… all part of their regular menu!

Anvil – Houston, TX
Anvil is perhaps most notable for their “100 drinks everyone should try at least once.” Naturally, tiki is part of the prescription, and Jeff Berry’s Grog Log is a heavily-thumbed reference behind their bar.

Vessel – 1312 5th Ave., Seattle, WA
Spur – 113 Blanchard St., Seattle, WA
Tavern Law – 1406 12th Ave., Seattle, WA
My hometown may be lacking in the tiki bar department, but I’m proud to say that when it comes to the drinks, it’s “ya sure, ya betcha.” All three of these establishments have the materials on-hand to whip up traditional tiki drinks, and each has periodic tiki nights. Vessel even serves some drinks out of tiki mugs.

Teardrop Cocktail Lounge – 1015 NW Everett St., Portland, OR
Teardrop hosts periodic Tiki Nights, typically with the involvement of local tikiphiles and cocktail obsessives Blair “Trader Tiki” Reynolds and Craig “Colonel Tiki” Hermann. The next one is on September 12.

Caña – 714 W Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Caña is dedicated to all things rum, so of course this means some tiki representation on the menu.

Lewers Lounge – Halekulani Hotel, Waikiki, HI
It’s tragically difficult to find a decent drink in Hawaii. You may have heard good things about the House Without a Key in the Halekulani Hotel, but the better bet is actually the Lewer’s Lounge in the same hotel.

Paparazzi – Laurinská 133/1, Bratislava, Slovakia
Paparazzi’s Stanislav Vadrna knows his way around a tiki drink… he’s even hosted a tiki drink seminar at his bar.

Cotton’s Rhum Shack – 55 Chalk Farm Rd, London, UK
Cotton’s Rhum Shack in Camden has a very long rum list, and a smattering of tiki cocktails to match. There is a sister location, Rhum Jungle in Islington, that may be worth trying, too.

The Merchant Hotel Bar – 16 Skipper Street, Belfast, Ireland
Crowned as the Best Bar In the World, the Merchant Hotel Bar’s menu is more of a book. The menu is exhaustively thorough, and tiki drinks do not get short shrift. On the contrary: Bar Manager Sean Muldoon takes tiki drinks so very seriously that he has the last remaining bottle of the true original Mai Tai rum: vintage 17 year Wray & Nephew. This is the only place in the world you can have a truly old-style Mai Tai—though it’ll cost you about $1,000.

Mahalo nui loa to the following for their assistance in compiling this list: Peter Andrijeski, Alice Berry, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Dan Budiac, Robert A. Burr, Nicole Desmond, Boris Hamilton, Liz Lang, Kiki Lenoue, Georgette Moger, Ben Wagner, Doug Winship

January 28, 2007

Where’s the Tiki in France?

Filed under: Continental Europe,History,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:23 am
Insignia from a French Foreign Legion regiment
Insignia from the French Foreign Legion’s
5ème RMP

A thought crossed my mind today… in the past few years, most of the countries of western Europe have seen a tiki bar or two open: Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland each have at least one, Germany has a half-dozen of them, the UK has a bunch, and Spain of course has more than their fair share. But as far as I can tell, France comes up with a great big goose egg. I once found a family pizza place that had tiki masks in relief in the cement outside the building, but that’s been it so far. Of course, France has its stamp all over Polynesia — Tahiti and the other islands of French Polynesia in particular, where French is the official language.

Why is this so? Is there Polynesian Pop in France and I’m just missing it? Do rum-based drinks hold little interest in wine-lovin’ France? Are the French just so over the whole Polynesian Pop thing, preferring their tiki a bit more legit?

On a related but different note: on Tiki Central, tikipedia recently posted a picture of a lovely insignia (slightly different from the one pictured here) for the 5ème Regiment Mixte du Pacifique, a division of the French Foreign Legion that was deployed to French Polynesia from 1963 until the unit was disbanded in 2000.

September 25, 2006

Yet Another Spanish Tiki Bar: Hawaika

Filed under: Continental Europe,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:49 pm
Smoking drink at Hawaika in Valencia, photo by Abha Malpani
Smoking drink at Hawaika in Valencia,
photo by Abha Malpani

A post on Gridskipper this morning by Abha Malpani has alerted me to a Spanish tiki bar I had not heard of before: Hawaika. For some reason, tiki kept going strong during the ’80s and ’90s, when tiki places were closing left and right here in the states. There are enough tiki bars in Spain that there is a local tiki mug manufacturer; Spanish tiki mugs are often complex and finely painted affairs, and are highly coveted by collectors. Today, Spain sports no fewer than 10 tiki bars, and an entire Polynesian-themed land in the Port Aventura amusement park. This is particularly impressive when you consider that Spain is about the same size as the state of Texas, which has pretty much bupkis in the tiki department (though that will thankfully change soon when Trader Vic’s opens again in Dallas in the coming months).

I’ve added Hawaika to Critiki, but I couldn’t find much information out there about it, which surprises me… does anyone out there know anything about this place?

August 1, 2006

New Trader Vic’s Concept: Mai Tai Bars

Filed under: Continental Europe,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 5:59 pm
Trader Vic's Mai Tai Bar
Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Bar

I learned on the Tiki Talk blog about Trader Vic’s intention of starting a new line of their restaurants, called Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Bars. They’re scaled-back versions of Trader Vic’s restaurants, featuring a large drink menu, but a very small food menu centered on appetizers, with a few sandwichy-type items. Most notably absent is the hallmark Chinese ovens; these suckers are large and not easy to install, work with, or design around, so while it feels sad to see a Chinese oven-less Trader Vic’s, it does make sense.

In theory, the scaled-back concept could also be installed in smaller locations, which would hopefully be a lower risk to the company and any franchise investors, and could weather the stormy restaurant business a bit better. Most intriguing to me: a smaller size means the decorating budget goes a lot further; sadly, the concept sketches on the Trader Vic’s website look disappointingly bland (although they indicate an intention to have some nice, big tikis at these Mai Tai Bars). A March 2006 article in Nation’s Restaurant News stated that the new Mai Tai Bars are aiming for a 50-50 ratio between food and beverage sales, vs. 60% food to 40% drinks at a typical Trader Vic’s.

As earlier reported on Humu Kon Tiki, Trader Vic’s Palo Alto relaunched its bar area as a “Mai Tai Bar,” which made no sense at the time — the changes to the space were laughably minimal, the only real change was the addition of a few boring items to the food menu (woodfired pizza?). While I’m still a bit puzzled by the Palo Alto remodel effort, it does make a bit more sense now if they were using it as a sort of test ground for the Mai Tai Bar concept, as an attempt to appeal to an after-work crowd.

Another interesting angle to all this: Palo Alto Trader Vic’s has had some pretty decent live music in the bar area, and it looks like this is another part of the new Mai Tai Bar concept.

The first official Mai Tai Bar has opened just outside of Estepona, Spain; no word yet on what it’s like. Any tiki-lovin’ Spaniards care to report?

March 31, 2006

Amsterdam: Tiki Art Exhibition

Filed under: Art,Continental Europe,Events,Music,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:42 pm
Netherlands Tiki Art Exhibition
Netherlands Tiki Art Exhibition

Opening Sunday, April 16 and continuing through Sunday, April 21, Cafe Cantine in Amsterdam is showing a Tiki Art Exhibition. Featured artists include Southern California’s Tiki Tony, Spain’s Mappe, Britain’s Tiki Racer, and Netherland’s own Jasper Fijnvandraat, Claudia Hek and Michiel Hoving. The opening event on the 16th will include a performance from rockabilly band Mischief. Cafe Cantine is at Rietlandpark 373, and the event is free.

January 9, 2006

Washington Post Article on Barcelona Tiki Bars

Filed under: Continental Europe,Tiki,Washington, D.C. — Humuhumu @ 2:30 am

The Washingon Post ran a piece on the tiki bars in Barcelona in yesterday’s Travel section. While the article shows the typical signs of a tiki-related puff piece (“tacky” rears its head in the title: “Barcelona Puts the Tiki in Tacky,” and I’m pretty sure that Martin Denny was not famous for his voice), the author is certainly one-up on me, as I haven’t made it to the tiki bars in Europe myself, yet. And it certainly feels good to see Tiki Central get a mention in the Washington Post.

October 4, 2005

Rock-A-Tiki Art Exhibition in the Netherlands

Filed under: Art,Continental Europe,Events,Music,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:29 am
By Claudia Hek
By Claudia Hek

From November 20 through December 18, 2005, the cafe/restaurant Patronaat in Haarlem, the Netherlands is hosting a tiki art exhibition. Featured artists are Angelique Houtkamp, Claudia Hek (who did the piece pictured to the left), Michiel Hoving and Mappe. The opening event is happening on Sunday, November 20 from 5-11 p.m, with rockabilly performances from Miss Mary Ann & the Ragtime Wranglers, Mischief and Milwaukee Wildmen. Cost for the event is 9 Euros.

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About Humuhumu
Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

- Website Design and Programming

- A Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

- Tiki Mugs & More: Track & View Collections




Arkiva Tropika
Mimi Payne’s massive Polynesian Pop collection

Barefoot Bloggin’
A surfin’, ukein’, freewheelin’ monkey boy

Beachbum Berry
Author of Grog Log and Intoxica!, and one of my dearest drinkin’ buddies

Blog from the user interface designer extraordinaire

Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

Dumb Angel
A look at the 1960s Los Angeles mod, pop, surf, and music scene

Eye of the Goof
Pop culture with a tiki tinge

Forbidden Island
My Wednesday hangout, the Bay Area’s best tiki bar

Humuhumu’s Life in Photos
Pictures of my adventures

I build websites

Junkyard Clubhouse
Random interesting things from Humuhumu & Hanford Lemoore

Kevin Kidney
Kevin loves tiki, I love Kevin, you will too

Tiki links galore

Mai Tai Online
Montreal-based tiki ‘zine

Tiki Mug Collection Organizer

The Jab
Follow the way of the jab

Tiki Bar TV
Public Access meets Modern Drunkard

Tiki Central
Community forums

Tiki Magazine
Periodical publication covering the wide world of Tiki

Tiki Talk
Hot Lava’s Tiki Blog