Tiki bars and lounges were popular from the ’30s to the ’60s, and there are many in the U.S. currently offering exotic drinks and a distinct atmosphere. Here’s a look at the top four tiki bars in America.
Forbidden Island – Alameda, California
Based on the lounges of the ’50s and ’60s, Forbidden Island comes with the proper décor including waterfalls and bamboo huts. Dine on appetizer fare like coconut shrimp, chicken wings, crab rangoon, and sweet potato fries. Enjoy the atmosphere full of blowfish lamps along with walls decorated with clubs and spears.
Forget about watching TV at Forbidden Island because it’s dedicated towards social activities. Want a beer or a glass of wine? Don’t ask for either at this tiki bar.
Kowloon – Saugus, Massachusetts
The Wong Family opened the Kowloon Restaurant in 1950 and it remains a favorite, especially for Bostonians. With seating available for 1200, this Asian restaurant offers food from the Cantonese, Szechuan and Thai regions.
The food will amaze you, but so will the décor. Outside visitors immediately notice the pagoda-shaped building guarded by a 15-foot tiki carving. Also inside is a moving volcano, walls painted with palm trees, a lagoon room and a huge fountain. The main dining area features bamboo blinds, and palm trees line booths to offer the feel of dining in huts. Visit the gift shop if you want to buy a tiki mask of your very own.
Omni Hut – Smyrna, Tennessee
Just a short 30-minute jaunt from Nashville is the Omni Hut. The Omni Hut boasts two dining rooms, and the ceilings are full of fish nets. Palm trees line the walls, and the waterfall is a must-see.
Founded by Jim Walls, the Omni Hut offers food and drinks based on the memories of Walls, who served in Honolulu during WWII. Exotic isn’t the right word to describe this establishment, but its “tiki” feel makes one feel as if they were inside an island paradise. Visitors will enjoy the abundance of orchids here, as well as the Hawaiian resin lamps spotted with seahorses and starfish.
The Tonga Room – San Francisco, California
This tiki bar sits on the grounds of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and has one of the best tiki atmospheres in the United States. Built around what was once the pool area and rumored as the inspiration for the Jimmy Buffett song “Altered Boy”, the Tonga Room delights its visitors.
There’s still a pool in the center of the bar, as well as a musical boat. There’s also many tiki huts around the pool. The feeling is very South Sea and the drinks are all tropical. There’s also a dance floor for those that want to swing the night away, but for those looking to relax, The Tonga Room has a large exotic menu. The Mai-Tai is their specialty, but it’s recommended to hold on to that Mai-Tai because the Tonga Bar has a tropical storm show that feels like lightning surrounds you.