The historic Mai-Kai Polynesian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale ghoulishly presents its fourth annual Hulaween party in the crypt of The Molokai bar on Friday, Oct. 26, from 5 p.m. into the witching hours.
Featuring special fiendish performances by South Florida’s rockabilly zombies, Slip and the Spinouts, the event will also scare up a costume contest, special cocktails, and a retro-themed throwback party during happy hour.
The Atomic Grog will host the pre-party from 5 to 7 p.m., with The Mai-Kai offering up an appropriate special “lost cocktail” for the occasion. Last Rites, which was on the bar’s original 1956 menu, will be resurrected for just this one night.
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The Mai-Kai, which turns 56 in December, is considered to be one of the last remaining mid-century Tiki temples. There are surely a fair number of ghosts in the dark and mysterious dining rooms (check out the shrunken head in the Samoa room). And with iconic tropical drinks such as the Zombie, Shrunken Skull and Oh So Deadly, it’s the perfect spot to conjure up evil spirits.
But on Oct. 26, the living dead will be dancing amid the revelry in The Molokai, The Mai-Kai’s iconic lounge that transports you into the hull of the infamous 18th century British Navy ship HMS Bounty. In fact, some of the artifacts in the dark and cavernous bar were salvaged from the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando.
The Atomic Retro Happy Hour pre-party salutes the 55-year history of The Molokai. The nautical theme and decor was added in 1970, but the original bar opened in 1957. This legacy will be honored with the return from the grave of the deadly Last Rites, a classic cocktail selected for the evening’s festivities by manager Kern Mattei.
The Atomic Grog had the opportunity recently to get a preview of the Last Rites (see photo) and we weren’t disappointed. You’ll definitely want to try this potent concoction, which ranks right up there with the Zombie and Special Planters Punch as a classic tropical drink.
From 5 to 7, most of the nearly 50 tropical libations and dozens of lip-smacking Polynesian appetizers such as the Pupu Platter, Javanesian Beef and Crab Rangoon will be half-priced. To set the mood, there will be vintage mid-century tunes plus Halloween classics to get you warmed up for the party.
The retro playlist will be like nothing you’ve ever heard before, covering 50 years of music from the 1930s through the 1980s. The tunes will include vintage jazz and swing (Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Artie Shaw), exotica (Martin Denny, Robert Drasnin), mid-century lounge (Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini), roots and rockabilly (Wanda Jackson, Johnny Cash, Link Wray), classic surf (Dick Dale, The Ventures), ’60s rock and garage (Rolling Stones, The Who, The Sonics), and early New Wave (Ramones, B-52s, The Cramps).
After 7 p.m., the bash kicks off the cobwebs and gets into high gear with a longtime favorite on The Molokai’s Friday night live music nights. Slip and the Spinouts – or at least corpses that appeared to be the band – performed at two of the previous three Hulaween parties (2009 and 2011). Their eclectic blend of rockabilly, Western, swing, surf, blues and roots music is the perfect soundtrack for the freaky festivities.
Playing originals plus their own takes on classics by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Dick Dale, the Ventures, Hank Williams Sr. and many more, Slip and the Spinouts is The Mai-Kai’s go-to party band that never fails to knock ’em dead.
The Captain Morgan girls will be on hand from 7:30 to 9:30 with giveaways and free samples of Captain Morgan Black, plus prizes for the costume contest scheduled for 10 p.m. Participants will also receive other special prizes.
Another special cocktail has also just been introduced: The Captain Morgan Black Barrel is a new take on The Mai-Kai’s classic Barrel O’ Rum featuring Captain Morgan Black.
The Mai-Kai is at 3599 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, on the west side between Commercial and Oakland Park boulevards. Valet and paid self-parking. To make dinner reservations, call (954) 563-3272.