Tiki Bar Review #22 The Mai Kai Fort Lauderdale FL

Mai Kai sign
Mai Kai sign

I live in Seattle. I booked a flight and flew six hours across the country to go to the Mai Kai. Why? Because when it comes to Tiki bars, the Mai Kai is it! My visit to the Mai Kai lasted five hours and I could have stayed longer. What is so special about the Mai Kai you may ask? Well, let’s start from the beginning…

Mai Kai during the day

The Mai Kai opened in 1956 and it is one of the last remaining Tiki supper clubs. Instead of dying out or selling out like most other Tiki bars after the ’60s, the Mai Kai thrived. The premises actually grew as time went on. The Mai Kai is huge!

Polynesian Islander Revue at The Mai Kai
Polynesian Islander Revue at The Mai Kai

It has not one, but eight dining rooms and they fill up!

The Mai Kai

The crowd watching the show at The Mai Kai
The crowd watching the show at The Mai Kai

The Mai Kai may be the biggest restaurant I have seen. There is seating inside and out.

Outside seating at The Mai Kai
Outside seating at The Mai Kai

Outside seating at The Mai Kai

What packs the people in is the Polynesian Show…

Polynesian Islander Revue at The Mai Kai

For about $15 you get to see a two-hour Polynesian show that includes dancing…

Polynesian Islander Revue at The Mai Kai

music…

Polynesian Islander Revue at The Mai Kai

grass skirts…

Polynesian Islander Revue at The Mai Kai

and fire!

Polynesian Islander Revue at The Mai Kai

If you’re lucky, they might even have you come up on stage to dance like me!

Ray hula dancing on The Mai Kai stage
Ray hula dancing on The Mai Kai stage

Another reason why people come to the Mai Kai is for the drinks…

Rum Barrell at The Mai Kai
Rum Barrell at The Mai Kai

This is the Molokai Bar…

Molokai Bar at The Mai Kai
Molokai Bar at The Mai Kai

Molokai Bar at The Mai Kai

Molokai Bar at The Mai Kai

The Mai Kai has an ace in the hole: it’s channeling Don the Beachcomber through its drink menu…

Mai Kai drink menu
Mai Kai drink menu

Back when the Mai Kai opened, some of the original bartenders from Don the Beachcomber came on board and they brought the drinks with them. To this day, the Mai Kai is the closest thing you can get to having a Don the Beachcomber experience. If you order a Zombie at the Mai Kai, it’s pretty much the same thing you would have had at the original Don the Beachcomber.

Dave drinking a Zombie at The Mai Kai
Dave drinking a Zombie at The Mai Kai

After you’ve had a couple Zombies from the Molokai bar (Only 2!) and have been thoroughly entertained by beautiful women dancing in grass skirts and the fire dancers for almost two hours, you can chill out and enjoy the Mai Kai Gardens…

Tropical Garden at The Mai Kai

The Mai Kai gardens is almost the size of the Mai Kai itself and it has paths that you can walk around where you’ll see tropical flowers…

Tropical Garden at The Mai Kai

palm trees…

Tropical Garden at The Mai Kai

waterfalls…

Mai Kai waterfall
Mai Kai waterfall

ponds…

Tropical Garden at The Mai Kai

and Tikis!

Tropical Garden at The Mai Kai

It’s truly stunning during the day and even better at night.

Mai Kai Tropical Garden at night\

Mai Kai Tropical Garden at night\

Mai Kai Tropical Garden at night

The Mai Kai at night

The Mai Kai is an important place. It’s a piece of Tiki history. It’s the biggest Tiki bar/restaurant there is. It has close ties to Don the Beachcomber. The drinks are great and the Polynesian Show is spectacular. I love the Mai Kai. I don’t ever want to see the Mai Kai shut down. Guess what? The state of Florida feels the same way. The Mai Kai is on The National Register of Historic Places! I think that says it all.

The Mai Kai at night

Here is the Mai Kai’s website.

And Facebook page.

I would like to thank Dave Gittleman of Gittleman Studios for all the pictures used for this post!

Ray and Dave at The Mai Kai
Ray and Dave at The Mai Kai

Here is Gittleman Studios webpage.

And Facebook page.

4 thoughts on “Tiki Bar Review #22 The Mai Kai Fort Lauderdale FL

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