Fundraisers, online sales aid The Mai-Kai during closure for refurbishment

The historic Mai-Kai restaurant may be closed for repairs and refurbishment due to damage caused by an October flood, but fans still have plenty of opportunities to support the staff and management. Several fundraisers have been organized, and online merchandise sales are ramping up for the holidays. There are also limited opportunities to take home cocktails, plus more special experiences to be announced.

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The Mai-Kai Trading Post

Organizers of the regular charity Online Tiki Bingo events were quick to step up with a benefit for employees of The Mai-Kai. Hosted by the Gumbo Limbo Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Moai, the virtual version of the long-running event was held Thursday evening (Dec. 10). Donations will directly benefit the furloughed staff.

A previous online bingo benefit was held for Mai-Kai employees in May during the closing due to COVID-19, and subsequent events aided other Florida Tiki establishments in need. In normal times, Tiki Bingo is held monthly at The Mai-Kai to benefit local charities and provide a fun social event for Tikiphiles in South Florida.

Benefit Auction for The Mai-Kai staff

In conjunction with the online bingo event, the FOM is hosting a virtual Benefit Auction for The Mai-Kai staff. Bids are being accepted through 6 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 13) on a variety of items, including:

* Tiki mugs by noted artists including Bai, Eekum Bookum and Tiki Tony.

The Mai-Kai's secret rum blend

* A ukulele signed at The Hukilau 2019 by many of the attendees, including Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid.

* Custom aloha wear such as shirts and dresses.

* Artwork including an Enchanted Tiki Room 50th Anniversary Series print by Shag.

* A bottle of The Mai-Kai’s secret rum blend used in many of the restaurant’s famous cocktails. This is the in-house mix that the bar started using in 2019 as a replacement for Kohala Bay, the longtime dark Jamaican rum that went off the market in 2016. It’s touted as “the first bottle to leave The Mai-Kai vault. Not available for purchase and considered invaluable.” Check out our full report on Kohala Bay, and stay tuned for more on the new rum blend.

All proceeds from the auction will go directly to the furloughed employees. You can also skip the bidding and donate directly via Paypal. Click here for a direct link to the auction site.

Merchandise: The Mai-Kai stocks up online Trading Post, launches new eBay site

The Mai-Kai has been closed since the last week in October after historically heavy rains caused a flood and structural failure in the roof of the back-of-house area. The closure is expected to last through the holiday season, but fans have been able to get their fix recently with the reopening of the online Mai-Kai Trading Post and the opening of a new eBay store selling one-of-a-kind items from the restaurant’s warehouse.

Items sold in The Mai-Kai's eBay store
Items sold in The Mai-Kai’s eBay store.

The digital version of the restaurant’s on-site gift shop features custom mugs, apparel, jewelry, tikis, artist prints, menus, and more. Inventory changes, so check back often. Check the social media links below for specials and discounts. Through Sunday (Dec. 13), there’s a 50 percent discount on kids clothing.
* MaiKaiTradingPost.com | Instagram | Facebook

Collectors should be excited to see follow the bidding on The Mai-Kai’s first-ever eBay store, created to sell vintage items that were used in the restaurant and never before available to the public. All of these warehouse items have a starting bid of $10.

Initial offerings included server aloha shirts, dinner plates, a bamboo menu holder, and the base of a lamp used in one of the dining rooms. In subsequent auctions, bidders snagged mugs and bar napkins, among other items.

Keep an eye out because new treasures are added weekly. The official eBay ID is “mai-kai-trading-post” or click here for a direct link.

Cocktails: Gallons to Go are back for the holidays

After closing in the early months of the pandemic, The Mai-Kai’s bar and dining rooms reopened to the public under social distancing rules in late May, remaining open until the massive storm hit just before Halloween. One of the positive results of these changing times was the emergence of a robust take-out menu, including gallons (and later quarts) of classic Tiki cocktails. Click here for our full coverage of the “Gallons to Go” offerings.

After the restaurant was closed for renovations, we enjoyed a take-home quart of Rum Barrels and a bottle of The Real McCoy 12-year-old Distillers Proof Mai-Kai Blend. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, November 2020)
After the restaurant was closed for renovations, we enjoyed a take-home quart of Rum Barrels and a bottle of The Real McCoy 12-year-old Distillers Proof Mai-Kai Blend. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, November 2020)

The extensive renovations prevent a full-blown take-out program, but The Mai-Kai is still offering limited windows for guests to make a curbside pickup of select items. Email director of public relations Pia Dahlquist if you’d like to be alerted to current and future offerings.

A limited quantity of gallons of the Barrel O’ Rum, Mai Tai and Jet Pilot were made available for pick-up on Dec. 18-19. In addition, The Mai-Kai put on sale two special rums: The Real McCoy 12-year-old Distillers Proof Mai-Kai Blend, and The Real McCoy 14 Year Limited Edition Bourbon Barrel Aged Rum. Also on the holiday menu: logo shot glasses and stemless wine glasses.

The 64-ounce jugs will go a long way toward quenching your thirst for a taste of The Mai-Kai. They stay fresh for a week or more if kept refrigerated. After blending with ice, these massive containers will yield eight Rum Barrels, 12 Mai Tais, and 14 Jet Pilots. Only a few bottles remain from the second batch of The Real McCoy’s Distillers Proof blend (92 proof), made especially for The Mai-Kai. The Bourbon Barrel Aged Rum (92 proof), a limited release in 2019, is the oldest rum ever produced by Foursquare Distillery in Barbados.

Stay tuned for more announcements related to The Mai-Kai’s 64th anniversary on Dec. 28.

The Mai-Kai online
* MaiKai.com | Instagram | Facebook

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