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.
This is the entrance (the North Shore Lagoon has it’s own building)…
The building the North Shore Lagoon is in used to be a full size Olympic swimming pool. They totally converted the pool into a Tiki oasis!
The bar itself is situated above the pool and looks down over it. The bar has a Robinson Crusoe/treehouse feel which I really dig!
The place looks amazing. It’s hard to believe it used to be a school.
McMenamins totally got the decor dialed in! It sort of has a Trader Vic’s vibe, which means it feels more like a restaurant (which it is) than a bar. I honestly don’t have a problem with that. I really dig the food McMenamins serves. The North Shore Lagoon serves a abbreviated menu of the standards, plus they serve items not on any of the other menus at the other pubs/restaurants at Anderson School.
But enough about food. Let’s talk about the drinks!
This is the cocktail menu…
They also serve beer and wine.
So far, I have ordered the Zombie and the Mai Tai.
The Zombie is the best one I ever had! No, really! They use the Don The Beachcomber 1934 recipe including the Pernod! It’s a really strong drink (which it should be) so needless to say, after one of these I’m good for only one more, which was the Mai Tai…
Again, they knocked it out of the park! The Mai Tai is pretty much the Trader Vic’s 1944 recipe. Some of the ingredients are made in house, so the Mai Tai has a unique taste but is still true what a Mai Tai should be. Like the Zombie, this is a really powerful drink. I wanted to try another cocktail but I was pretty toasted by then.
I think it’s safe to say that I really love the North Shore Lagoon. Everything is dialed in. They have great, high quality drinks and great ambiance, which includes the decor and the music. Oh yeah, most the music playing was mellow reggae, jazz, or traditional Hawaiian music. If you are a lover of all things Tiki, you really need to come here as soon as you can! -Ray
One last thing: the Bartenders say that it gets really busy Friday and Saturday evenings starting around 5. The wait could be over an hour and up to 2 hours long! I went during the week in the early evening and it was no problem at all getting a seat.
Here is the link to the Anderson School.
And here is a video showing the making of McMenamins Anderson School. Very interesting…