The East Coast’s largest annual gathering of Polynesian Pop enthusiasts has announced full details and tickets for its two signature events for 2015: A one-of-a-kind gathering of the country’s most acclaimed tropical drink barmen, plus a special “Three Hour Tour” Cruise with Mary Ann from iconic TV show Gilligan’s Island.
The Hukilau: June 10-14, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Special guest: Dawn Wells. Musical guests and performers: Alika Lyman Group, The Intoxicators, Gold Dust Lounge, Pablus, Slip and the Spinouts, Kinky Waikiki, Skinny Jimmy Stingray, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, King Kukulele. Symposium presenters: Arthur Dong, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily, Domenic Priore, Jeff Chenault, Jon Bortles and Tiki Gardener. Guest bartenders: Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Brian Miller, Martin Cate, Paul McGee, Dean Hurst, Straw Hat Barmen.
* TheHukilau.com | Buy tickets | Book hotel
* Facebook page | Twitter | Instagram
A newly redesigned official website is now live with full details and daily schedule for the 14th annual event, which draws attendees from around the world to South Florida for five days of live entertainment, expert symposiums, artists and vendors. For the first time, the host hotel will be the mid-century classic Hyatt Regency Pier 66, a landmark structure on the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach. And for the 13th straight year, revelers will again enjoy another mid-century marvel, the 58-year-old Polynesian palace The Mai-Kai.
In honor of Pier 66, The Hukilau has invited four of the country’s most celebrated Tiki bartenders to be your hosts at a special cocktail party in the revolving lounge 17 floors above Fort Lauderdale. Join Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (Latitude 29, New Orleans), Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco), Paul McGee (Lost Lake, Chicago) and Brian Miller (Tiki Mondays With Miller, New York City) as they each shake up a signature drink during a special two-hour happy hour on Thursday, June 11, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Let’s take a look at this Murderer’s Row of all-star mixologists:
* Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, award-winning author of six books on Tiki and cocktail lore, opened Latitude 29 in New Orleans in the fall to much acclaim. His hardcover epic, Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them, was named Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book at the 2014 Spirited Awards during Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Berry’s work, which dates back to the modest, spiral-bound Grog Log in 1998, has inspired an entire generation of tropical drink devotees. Berry also is one of the most in-demand speakers on Tiki and cocktail history. He’ll be presenting his 10th symposium at The Hukilau – a look at the colorful history of the Planter’s Punch – on Saturday, June 13.
* Atomic Grog links:
Take 5 interview | Never too busy to be a ‘Beachbum’ | Navy Grog ice cone
* Martin Cate’s 5-year-old San Francisco lair, Smuggler’s Cove, is regularly listed among the top cocktail bars in the world. Rising from the ranks of home enthusiast, Cate cut his teeth at Trader Vic’s flagship location before opening his first Tiki bar, Forbidden Island in Alameda, in 2006. After setting a new standard for bar craftsmanship in the Tiki revival, he upped the ante at the Cove, which features cocktails from over three centuries of rum history. Cate also travels around the world, speaking and judging rum and cocktail competitions. He’s writing on a book about Smuggler’s Cove, rum and Tiki to be published in spring 2016.
* Atomic Grog links: Take 5 interview | Martin Cate’s Punch | Rum Rat Pack’s Rumposium
* Paul McGee represents a new breed of Tiki cocktail bartender whose interest in the gene sprung from his devotion to traditional craft cocktails. McGee spent nearly 20 years behind the bar in Houston and Las Vegas before making a splash in Chicago in 2008 with The Whistler. Five years later, he created Chicago’s award-winning Tiki bar Three Dots and a Dash (named Best New American Cocktail Bar in the 2014 Spirited Awards). McGee left Three Dots late last year to join a new hospitality group, quickly opening Lost Lake, an homage to pre-Tiki tropical bars of the 1930s. Only months old, Lost Lake is already one of the most talked-about new bars on the scene.
* Atomic Grog link: Lost Lake cocktail recipe
* Brian Miller has become the biggest name in Tiki bartending in New York City without a proper Tiki bar to call home. Like his modern-day-pirate persona, Miller has meandered from location to location for the past four years, plundering lots of rum along the way. His popular “Tiki Mondays With Miller” pop-up event, now land-locked at Pouring Ribbons, is his claim to fame. But the veteran barman has also won numerous awards and worked behind the stick at many of the Big Apple’s most notable cocktail bars. You might have seen him at Pegu Club and Death + Company, where he was head bartender. His current regular gigs include ZZ’s Clam Bar and his own consulting company.
Guests of The Hukilau to cruise back in time with Mary Ann
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.
The most unique event scheduled for The Hukilau 2015 is a special “Three Hour Tour” Cruise actress Dawn Wells, best known as Mary Ann on 1960s television’s Gilligan’s Island, which lives forever in reruns. On Friday, June 12, some 300 cruisers will join Wells aboard the Lady Windridge Yacht as it sets sail from the Pier 66 Marina for a three-hour tour of the waterways of Fort Lauderdale.
Tickets are available now for $99 if you’ve already purchased a wristband for The Hukilau, $149 without a wristband. The cruise, which boards at noon and runs from 12:30 to 3:30, includes food and an open bar of craft Tiki cocktails.
Dawn Wells has starred in more than 150 TV shows and seven motion pictures. She’s also a producer, author, spokesperson, journalist, motivational speaker, teacher, and chairwoman of a non-profit foundation that aids children, women, families, and seniors in her home state of Nevada.
Six symposiums include Disney artists, Oscar-nominated filmmaker
The presentation by Beachbum Berry and Brian Miller on the history and influence of the Planter’s Punch is just one of six symposiums on Tiki and mid-century history scheduled for The Hukilau. Other presenters include Disney artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily (exploring the Polynesian Village Resort), Oscar-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong (Chinese American Nightclubs), author Domenic Priore (Southern California’s Pacific Ocean Park), historians Jon Bortles and Tiki Gardener (Florida’s Tiki Gardens), and author Jeff Chenault (The Kahiki supper club in Ohio).
Bands performing everything from jazz to exotica to surf will travel near and far to play The Hukilau. Among the acts scheduled are The Alika Lyman Group (Hawaii), The Intoxicators (Tallahassee), Gold Dust Lounge (Miami), Kinky Waikiki (Georgia), Pablus (Tampa), plus Slip and the Spinouts and Skinny Jimmy Stingray (South Florida). California’s King Kukulele, who has served as master of ceremonies for The Hukilau since the very beginning, will return to host the 2015 festivities. And the unique retro-aquatic performer and fire dancer Marina Duran-Anderson, aka Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, will once again grace The Hukilau stages as well as her own pool at the nearby Wreck Bar in the B Ocean Resort (formerly the Yankee Clipper hotel).
The Atomic Grog: Complete run-down on the symposiums and entertainment
TheHukilau.com: Symposiums | Speakers | Bands and performers
Updated daily schedule includes 5 days of authentic Tiki experiences
The official website now includes dates and times for all the symposiums, plus a basic daily schedule, to help guests plan their weekend and purchase tickets. Some passes and symposiums will sell out, so it’s best to buy sooner rather than later. All passes and tickets are sold a la carte. The top-tier ticket, the $155 Big Kahuna Pass, includes admission for five days, not including symposiums and special events. One-, three- and four-day passes are also available. The Kahiki presentation is free with admission to Sunday’s finale. The Planter’s Punch symposium is $55, including free cocktails. All others are $25. Ticket prices will increase after April 1, when they also become non-refundable (though they can be transferred). All events are indoors and not subject to inclement weather.
TheHukilau.com: Buy tickets now
Here’s the latest schedule. Check the official website for updates.
Wednesday (The Mai-Kai)
* Pre-Party in The Molokai lounge, 8 p.m.-1 a.m.
Friday (Pier 66)
* Tiki Treasures Bazaar, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
* Symposium: They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot: The story of Tiki Gardens, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
* “Three Hour Tour” Cruise with Dawn Wells: Noon-4 p.m.
* Symposium: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles’ Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
* Symposium: Forbidden City, USA – Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970, 6-7 p.m.
* Main Event, 8 p.m.-midnight (Alika Lyman Group, more TBA)
* After Party: Midnight-2 a.m.
Saturday (Pier 66)
* Tiki Treasures Bazaar, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
* Symposium: Prefab Paradise: A Look Back at Walt Disney’s World’s Original Polynesian Village, 10-11 a.m.
* Symposium: Brigands, Barons & Beachcombers: The Many Faces of Planter’s Punch, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Saturday (The Mai-Kai)
* First seating: Happy hour 4:30 p.m., dinner show 7:30
* Second seating: Happy hour 7 p.m., dinner show 10:30
Note: All guests must make dinner reservations ASAP by calling The Mai-Kai at (954) 563-3272
Sunday (The Mai-Kai)
* Finale: Noon-4 p.m.
* Symposium: The Kahiki: Crown Jewel of Polynesian Supper Clubs, 1 p.m.
The Tiki Treasures Bazaar will be held in the 7,500-square-foot Crystal Ballroom, the hotel’s grand ballroom just off the lobby in the main tower. The Kick-Off Party, Main Event and symposiums will be held in the 5,800-square-foot Panorama Ballroom overlooking the marina and Intracoastal Waterway. Locations and times of live entertainment and the after parties will be announced. Big Kahuna, Aloha and Luau passholders will recieve free transportation to the Wednesday and Saturday events at The Mai-Kai. Click here for more info on transportation.
More on The Atomic Grog
* The Hukilau announces six historic symposiums, ticket sales for June event
* The Hukilau is movin’ on up …. to the landmark Pier 66 hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach
* Following ‘magical’ 2014, Tiki Kiliki has big plans for The Hukilau in 2015 and beyond
* Past photo recaps of The Hukilau: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
* Full coverage of The Hukilau
* The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide | All Mai-Kai posts