The Tiki Bar is a special type of drinking/eating establishment which was originally conceived of in 1933 by Ernest Gantt (aka. Donn Beach) in Hollywood California as his "Donn The Beachcomber" restaurant. Following Donn's lead, Victor Bergeron converted his "Hinky Dinks" restaurant in 1936 to the first "Trader Vic's" in Oakland California. From that point on, Donn, and Vic were the leading forces in the overall Tiki movement, but by no means the only ones. Over time, many more opened up across the country.
The attraction of these new faux Polynesian themed restaurants was that they provided customers with a quick escape from their everyday lives, allowing them to imagine they were in some far off tropical isle with exotic food, drink, and ambiance. This value was greatly enhanced since in those days the average American didn't travel much outside of America, so being able to have such a transporting exotic experience without the time or expense of actually needing to travel.
In the current age of "Political Correctness" an issue that has afflicted many American restaurants which are providing food and/or ambiance of non-American origin, is the notion of "cultural appropriation". This is when a person not indigenous to a particular culture appears to be taking advantage of that cultures cuisine and history for personal benefit.
- Tiki Culture (Wikipedia)
- Let's Talk Tiki Bars: Harmless Fun Or Exploitation? (NPR)
- Donn Beach (Wikipedia)
- Trader Vic's (Official Website)
- Tiki Ti (Official Website)
- Sven Kirsten's "Book Of Tiki" (Official Website)
- Tiki's by Bosko
- Jeff "Beachbum" Berry (Official Website)
- Latitude 29 NOLA (Official Website)
- Tiki Central
- Humuhumu's CriTiki
- Tiki Farm
- Mahalo Tiki