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  • Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale, FL is now an Historic Landmark

    Posted on February 25th, 2015 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments
    The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, FL

    The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Congrats to Fort Lauderdale’s Mai Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show for being granted National Historic Landmark status! (It’s about time!)

    The quintessential Tiki Bar/Lounge/Experience has been one of the world’s most elaborate (and famous) Tiki-themed establishments since 1956. It’s gone through a few changes over the years (The Molokai Lounge was created with the ship interior theme in the 1960s) but still retains much of its original architecture and decor, and all of its original charm.

    Tiki themed restaurants & lounges began sprouting up in the mid 1930s, and had their heyday from around the end of WW2 through the late 1960s (see our Tiki Culture page). But as society evolved out of the sophisticated cocktail culture of the American mid-century and into the torn blue jeans & acid rock culture of the late ’60s, Tiki Bars became less fashionable, less of an exotic escape and more as a kitschy joint for “the last generation”. Sales fell, and most of the grand and beautiful Tiki palaces fell too.

    My friends and me at The Hukilau 2011

    My friends and me at The Mai Kai, 2011

    The Mai Kai is one of only a handful of the original Tiki-themed restaurants to make it through the Disco era, the Mod ’80s, the bland ’90s and The Great Recession, along with multiple hurricanes and an insane buildup of furniture stores, strip clubs, strip malls and other restaurants along the strip of Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale…a stretch of road that was completely vacant and considered “way out west” when the Mai Kai was built in ’56. It’s a testament to the family who has owned this family-owned business and to the newest proprietors that it has remained not only open, but successful, for nearly 60 years.

    And it’s about time that fantastic, fantasy palaces like this are finally being recognized for what they are: A great piece of American history.

    -Tiki Chris, reporting from the lanai at the Mai Kai


  • International Exotic Cocktail Day is just a Week Away!

    Posted on September 26th, 2014 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    Mark your calenders! Get out your best Tiki mug! Friday, October 3rd will mark the third annual International Exotic Cocktail Day!

    exotic-cocktail-dayWhat is International Exotic Cocktail Day?

    It’s a day to celebrate the pleasure of enjoying an Exotic Cocktail at your favorite Tiki Bar, on the lanai, by the pool, in your living room or on the front lawn. It’s a day to imbibe in your favorite mixes with friends and family. It’s a day to remember the people who started it all and the people who keep the traditions alive today! Started by Tiki Chris of Tiki Lounge Talk, International Exotic Cocktail Day is really just a great excuse to have a fun time with your friends, while enjoying one of the simple pleasures of life: Tiki Cocktails.

    The Official International Exotic Cocktail Tiki Group in Facebook has been growing and growing with hundreds of people, like you, who are ready to spend a few hours drinking great Tiki cocktails with their friends and families. Click here to join!

    The Spirit of Tiki

    You don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy this day. I mean, if you’ve got a cool Tiki bar near by, then go! If not, you can turn your own home into a Tiki Palace for the night. Click below for a list of Tiki Drink Recipes, and ideas on how to build your own Tiki Bar.

    Tiki Cocktail Recipes

    Build Your Own Tiki Bar Cheap

    How To Host A Quicky Luau Party

    At the Tiki Bar...

    At the Tiki Bar…

    This year Tiki Chris & Wahini Colleen will be celebrating at The Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale, enjoying the Cutback Surf Band in the lounge. Come by and say hi, I’ll be the guy wearing the Hawaiian shirt ;)

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the Rum Storage Room at Tiki Lounge Talk

  • MAD MEN: Don Draper’s Record Collection

    Posted on June 4th, 2013 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 9 comments
    1950's Admiral Hi-Fi. I owned this exact model from aroun 1985 to 2000. Miss it.

    1950's Admiral Hi-Fi. I owned this exact model from aroun 1985 to 2000. Miss it.

    Fans of MAD MEN know that music plays a fairly important role in the series, but when it comes to individual characters, music generally takes a backseat.

    So, I was wondering what kind of albums the character of Don Draper might have on hand. We’ve heard him play classical music at a dinner party; we know he doesn’t dig the Beatles. But that’s about it.

    So what kind of music does Don Draper dig?

    I think, in order to answer that question, first we need to answer, “What kind of music does Don NOT like?”

    Well, lets take a look at his past: He grew up in the 30s & 40s, when big bands played the most popular music in the country. There were swing bands and sweet bands, and they dominated the music scene. It’s safe to say that big band swing and jazz were probably what Don heard most as he was growing up, along with more “localized” music that probably included country/western and folk. Since he considers his childhood a complete bust, I’m going to lay my chips on big band, jazz vocals, folk and country/western as being the kind of music that Don Draper (well, Dick Whitman, actually) hates with a passion. Hell, he might even go into a cationic fit whenever he hears “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” for all we know.
    It’s also a safe bet that Don wouldn’t be into Rock ‘n’ Roll. Let’s face it – Rock ‘n’ Roll was considered “kids music” back in the 1950s, and had a very small adult following. Don was already an adult (in his 20s) when he was in Korea (somewhere between 1951 and 1953), so like most men of the era, he probably dismissed RnR as kiddie pop.

    Don has never showed us a side of him where he sits and listens to sophisticated music, whether it be jazz or classical, for the pleasure of it. He sits in front of the tube a lot, but we never see him play an album (except for the Beatles song, which he completely dismissed). So it’s probably safe to say that he has never really bought a record for the enjoyment of the music. Unlike Meghan, who’s life revolves around music and acting, for his character, it’s just not that big of a deal.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • International Exotic Cocktail Day 2012- Friday, Oct 5th

    Posted on October 4th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    exotic-cocktail-dayIt’s nearly here – tomorrow is the third annual International Exotic Cocktail Day!

    #IECD is a day for celebrating all that is great, swingin’, kool and magical about Tiki & Exotic Cocktails. Hey, there’s a day for everything now…why not have a day to celebrate something that really matters? BOOZE.

    People all over the world will be celebrating this day by having an exotic cocktail (or two, or three…). Wherever, whenever, with whomever…as long as you have a Tiki drink in hand and a smile on your face.

    Colleen Drinking Cap'n Mack's Pirate Grog

    Colleen Drinking Cap'n Mack's Pirate Grog

    I’ll be celebrating this day all day. After all, I invented it so I guess I should, right?

    I’ll be making Zombies for my co-workers for at-work happy hour (I work at an ad agency, so liquor is ok here in moderation). With any luck and if traffic is on my side, I’ll be swinging by The Wreck Bar to see Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid’s underwater show, then will head over to the Mai Kai around 8 to drink Mai Tais and Jet Pilots, and listen to the Cutback Surf Band. Those cats can really rock old-school surf tunes.

    I’ll be finishing the night at home, at my private Tiki bar, affectionately known as Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar. I’m thinking I’ll mix up a Pirate’s Wench, my own Tiki cocktail concoction.

    maitaiHappy International Exotic Cocktail Day, kids! Live it up!

    Join the #IECD event on Facebook!

    -Tiki Chris, reporting from the liquor store on the corner of Tiki Island Road and Tropical Paradise Avenue, Florida

    For a list of Exotic Cocktail recipes, visit Tiki Lounge Talk’s mixed-up drinks page!

  • Puka Punch – Your Weekend Tiki Cocktail

    Posted on February 3rd, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    puka-punchHere’s one of those crazy Tiki bar drinks that we love to build because it uses just about everything behind the bar including the sink. Rum, rum, and more rum, fruit juices, Falernum…mix it all together and you get one of those drinks that is fun to make, looks impressive to your pals, and tastes pretty damned good. Plus it reminds me of the Puca rabbit Harvey, and that makes me smile.

    Puka Punch

    2 oz. white rum
    3⁄4 oz. dark Jamaican rum
    3⁄4 oz. 151-proof rum (optional)
    3⁄4 oz. fresh orange juice
    3⁄4 oz. pineapple juice
    3⁄4 oz. passion fruit syrup
    2 tsp. honey mixed with
    2 tsp. hot water, chilled
    1⁄4 oz. Falernum
    1 dash Angostura bitters
    1 oz. fresh lime juice
    Pineapple slice, orange wedge,
    and maraschino cherry

    Toss 1 1⁄2 cups of ice cubes into a blender and crush em up. Add all ingredients except the 151, blend on high speed. Pour into a Highball glass or tall Tiki mug. Then slowly pour the 151 rum over back of a (vintage) bar spoon into cocktail. Garnish with pineapple, orange, and a cherry on a little plastic sword. Cool drink!

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar, on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale, South Florida. Watch out for the alligators.