Why Jimi Hendrix Is The Best Guitarist And What That Has To Do With Tiki Bars

Ray with Jimi Hendrix and Tiki Mug
Ray with Jimi Hendrix and Tiki Mug

I’m a guitar player. I’ve been playing since I was thirteen.

Ray playing guitar 13 years old
Ray playing guitar 13 years old

Yep, that’s me!

We musicians love to talk about music. Who is the best drummer? Which is the first punk band, the Sex Pistols or the Ramones? Who is better, the Beatles or the Stones? We can debate these important topics for hours, but there is one thing we all mostly agree on: Jimi Hendrix is the best guitar player ever.

I think most people will agree, but I think it brings up a more important question: why is Hendrix considered the best?

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Tiki VIP #3 Peter Andrijeski (Seattlebars.org)

Pete owner of The Monkey Skull Voodoo Lounge
Pete, owner of the Monkey Skull Voodoo Lounge

What is the oldest bar in Seattle?

I’m finding out that the answer isn’t as simple as it might seem. I definitely got this sense as I’m talking with Peter Andrijeski of Seattlebars.org. “You have to think about a few things,” Peter said. How long has the bar been in business? How old is building? A bar may be in a building that’s really old, but that doesn’t mean the bar itself is that old as well. The correct answer is the Merchant’s Café, which is located in the oldest part of Seattle: Pioneer Square.

A few years ago, Peter had the grand idea to have a drink at every bar in Seattle. That’s right gang: every bar in Seattle. How would one go about doing this? Can this even be accomplished? Peter was going to find out!

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Tiki Field Report #6 Tiki Night at Rumba Seattle 5/11/16

Rumba Tiki night menu
Rumba Tiki night menu

“I’ll stop the world and melt with you…”

Who out there remembers that classic ’80s tune from Modern English? I know two people for sure and a few nights ago they were sitting with me at Rumba Seattle. My friends Coco and Zak were going to see Modern English play at the Neumos, from which Rumba is only a few blocks away. I really only know that one song from Modern English, so I didn’t join them for the show. When I thought about it, I asked myself, “Did Modern English have any other hits?” I was talking with Zak and we came to the conclusion that if Modern English played their hit first, everyone would leave right afterwards!

It was Wednesday, which is Tiki Night at Rumba. I asked Coco and Zak if they’d want to meet up for some drinks before they head to the show. They said “Yes,” to which I said, “Great, it’s a date!”

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Home Tiki Bar Spotlight #3 The Harpoon Saloon at The Moon Lagoon


The bar at the Harpoon Saloon photo by John
The bar at the Harpoon Saloon photo by John

Unincorporated King County.

It’s an area of Seattle that isn’t really Seattle. Actually, Unincorporated King County isn’t part of Seattle at all—or any other city for that matter. It’s kind of an interesting area: no stores, no downtown, just clusters of homes off random streets that seem to lead to nowhere. However, this is where one of the coolest Tiki bars in the Seattle area is located. It’s where you’ll find the Harpoon Saloon at the Moon Lagoon!

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Tiki Field Report #5 Tacoma Cabana 5/6/16

Robyn and Hanjing at Tacoma Cabana
Robyn and Hanjing at Tacoma Cabana

“No, I have never been to (insert Tiki bar here)” may be one of my favorite things to hear. It’s always fun to take friends out for a good time at a Tiki bar, especially if they’ve never been to one. Friends will order drinks that are stronger than what they’re used to. People let their hair down and things are more fun because everyone is just a little bit more tipsy than usual. At the end of the night, if I can turn someone new onto Tiki bars, I’ve done my job.

I hadn’t seen my friends Hanjing and Chris for a long time. We all used to go rock climbing together a few years back. I was totally into climbing until I realized that I have a fear of heights and it never went away. I moved on to other interests, but Hanjing and Chris never stopped. Good for them!

I told Hanjing and Chris about Tacoma Cabana down in Tacoma. They were interested in going, but there was one condition: we were going to go climbing the next day. Fair enough. It would be cool to throw my climbing shoes on and hit the rocks again.

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Tiki VIP #2 Dawn Frasier Sophista-Tiki

Dawn Frasier Sophista-Tiki breaking all the rules.
Dawn Frasier Sophista-Tiki: breaking all the rules.

David Bowie. We all loved him and his music. But why? What made him so special? I believe it was because Bowie always was two steps ahead of everyone else. He truly was a trendsetter. It takes guts to be into something no one else is doing and to break all the rules on how something is supposed to be done.

Bowie was a music trendsetter. Tiki has its own trendsetters. The Tiki revival started in the ’90s. Dawn Frasier was already ahead of the rest of us. She was living the Tiki lifestyle back in the ’80s.

Remember the ’80s? It was a decade of new wave and pop music, arcades and Atari, and bad clothing and hairstyle choices! Pastel pants and mullets: need I say more? While we were watching MTV, Dawn was painting Tiki landscapes and collecting Mid-Century furniture. When the ’90s finally came around and we started rediscovering Tiki culture, Dawn had already lived in Fiji for a few years.

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Tiki Field Report #4 North Shore Lagoon Bothell, WA 5/13/16


North Shore Lagoon Menu
North Shore Lagoon Menu

I don’t think anyone loves McMenamins more than my good buddy Rob, well except maybe his wife Laura! Laura and Rob live in Portland and every time I go to visit them, we end up at a McMenamins somewhere. Rob was coming up to Seattle for a concert, so he wanted to check out McMenamins Anderson School.

The North Shore Lagoon is part of McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell, WA. McMenamins converted an entire school campus into a hotel, a movie theater, a convention center, a fine dining restaurant, a pub, and of course, a Tiki bar. The entire place is pretty awesome. The North Shore Lagoon is in the building where the swimming pool was (or should I say, still is). The bar sits above the pool. You can enjoy a Zombie and look down and watch people swim. This is my review of the North Shore Lagoon if you want to learn about the bar itself.

North Shore Lagoon Tables
North Shore Lagoon Tables

After Rob’s flight into Seattle, I picked him up and we headed up to Bothell. It was during rush hour, so it took some time to get up there. However, good things come to those who wait. We arrived at Anderson School. I gave Rob the tour of the grounds and then we got down to business at the North Shore Lagoon…

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