It’s always kool to hear about an original modern-era Tiki Bar that’s thriving. It’s even kooler when they are almost 100% original from 1963. Kooler yet – real torches on the sign.
I’ve been spoiled by the Mai Kai. Living only 15 minutes from Fort Lauderdale, and working within walking distance of it a few years ago, seeing live fire torches on the side of the highway was status quo. I guess in other parts of the world, no so much.
This Saturday, April 10, the Kon Tiki in Tucson, Arizona will be relighting their torches after a 25 year black out. This is great news for any kats that dig Tiki culture – every Tiki bar needs a little fire, after all! I poked around and tried to find out why the torches haven’t been lit since 1985, and can’t find an answer. Could it be some ridiculous city ordinance against open flames? Were the torches busted, and too costly to fix? Or were they just being lazy? Whatever the reason, the Kon Tiki will light up the night once again!
From the Kon Tiki’s Press Release:
“Unlit for 25 years, Tucson’s oldest tiki bar will join forces with Flam Chen, Tucson’s renown fire performance group, to make the grand relighting of the Kon Tiki’s signature tiki torches a truly scorching affair. The evening festivities will include a relighting ceremony by Flam Chen, accompanied by local drumming troupe The Disillusionists, a dinner show with The Tikiyaki Orchestra, the muscial stylings of Tucson’s own Shrimp Chaperone and the hypnotic rhythms and hula-hooping gyrations of Las Vegas’ Thee Swank Bastards.
The Kon Tiki is one of the last remaining, operational tiki temples from American’s mid-century tiki past. The interior is almost completely original from the opening day – including, what some tiki historians call, the largest collection of Milan Guanko tikis, still in situ, in the world. The collection is about to get bigger as two more recently discovered Milan Guanko tikis, original to the Kon Tiki, will be returned to their proper place and unveiled for Relight the Night. We have many local and California artists that have donated items for our charity raffle, proceeds from which will benefit Hope Animal Shelter, Tucson’s only no kill dog and cat shelter.”
Believe me kats & kittens, if it weren’t clear across the country I’d be there. And my wife Colleen, who is very active in rescuing abused and neglected animals, would be there double quick. I may have to settle for a souvenir Tiki Mug, or just for pix of the event. Either way, It’s GREAT to see a true old-style Tiki Bar doing well, even in these kooky evil economic times. Long live TIKI!
-Tiki Chris for Tiki Lounge Talk, the Blounge (web-lounge, get it?) for Tiki Culture and Retro Night Life