The TV show Portlandia has made the city of Portland famous. It’s a really funny show that pokes fun at some of stereotypes about Portland’s residents. The parodies are pretty much spot on. Portland has a very big cycling scene, cute little shops selling bric-a-brac, punk rockers, hippies, punk rock hippies, and more organic food shops that anyone could ask for. But when I think of Portland, I think of one thing: Tiki bars! Portland has not one, but three! It has the Alibi, Trader Vic’s, and last but not least, Hale Pele.
Today is Tuesday March 15. I saw the news that Trader Vic’s in Portland OR had a fire and it’s looking like they won’t be reopening. This is very sad news…
I live in Seattle. I love my city. There are tons of things to do. There are more than enough restaurants, bars, coffee shops, places to buy cupcakes (I love cupcakes!), etc. But sadly, Seattle is lacking one important thing: a really great Tiki bar!
Sure, there is The Lava Lounge in Belltown, but it’s not really a Tiki bar in a traditional sense. I’d go there to hear some punk rock and drink a couple PBRs! I wouldn’t go to hear exotica or to order a Mai Tai, though.
There is Hula Hula, which actually is the first Tiki bar I ever visited. It started my love affair with Tiki! (I will be doing a review of Hula Hula really soon.) At first, Hula Hula had it all going on. It had a very large menu of drinks, plenty of surf music, and awesome decor. But over time, Hula Hula started putting up large screen TVs and eventually it became more of a karaoke bar. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent some time on Hula Hula’s stage singing my favorite tunes from the ’80s while I had a few cocktails in me. But I digress…
So I started searching online for Tiki bars outside Seattle. I found one here and there, but the “Tiki bars” I discovered were pretty lame. Throw the word Tiki in front of a guy’s name. Put up a Tiki head somewhere. Throw up some bamboo, offer some “blue” cocktails, and there you go: a “Tiki” bar!
Then I came across Tacoma Cabana.
Hey gang! This is my first Tiki bar review and I figured I wanted to keep it sort of local. I live in Seattle. Bothell is about 25 minutes away (with no traffic). In Bothell is a Tiki bar called North Shore Lagoon. Before I begin with the review of the Tiki bar itself, I need to give a little background about the North Shore Lagoon.
The North Shore Lagoon is part of the McMenamins Anderson School. If you’re not familiar with McMenamins, they are a bar and restaurant chain that buys and restores old, classic, historical buildings and turns them into pubs, restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels. The cool thing is they maintain the integrity the of the buildings they acquire. They have places all over the Pacific Northest including Portland, Centraila, McMinnville, Mill Creek, and now Bothell.
What McMenamins did with the Anderson School is completely turn the entire school—which is several buildings—into a large entertainment complex. There’s a fine dinning restaurant, a pub, a movie theater, a convention center, a hotel, and last but not least, a Tiki bar, which of course is the North Shore Lagoon.
So… who am I?
Hello! My name is Ray Wyland. I live in Seattle, WA. Welcome to my Tiki blog!
I’ll be talking about Tiki culture and music, Tiki drinks, and doing Tiki bar reviews. Really, I’ll be covering pretty much anything dealing with the Tiki lifestyle.
So… why am I doing this Blog?
Bars, bars, and more bars…
There are so many types of bars. Let’s name a few, shall we? There are dive bars, sports bars, Irish pubs, English pubs, craft cocktail lounges, breweries, and so on and so on. When you’re heading out to a bar, you’re going out to have a good time and enjoy a drink or two. Maybe sometimes you want to have a little escape. With a Tiki bar, the escape is paramount. A good Tiki bar should create a mood—a relaxing mood. When you step into a Tiki bar, the outside world doesn’t exist anymore. The combination of a Tiki cocktail (which usually has two or more shots of alcohol!) with the decor and music creates a unique tone. It’s a tone and feeling that can only be achieved at a Tiki bar, at least for me. To be honest, I rarely even get anything to drink when I’m with friends at any other type of bar.
Of course, all Tiki Bars are not created equal. Some Tiki bars got it dialed in! Others, not so much. This blog is my journey of going to and checking out Tiki bars anywhere and everywhere! I plan on posting pictures, talking to the owners, and giving my take on each Tiki bar I visit.
This blog is going to be about more than Tiki bars and drinks, though. I’ll discuss music, clothing, actual cocktail recipes, lifestyle and more. I hope you all enjoy this blog! -Ray