Updated May 24, 2022
The Mai-Kai’s revival of cocktails to go was a rousing Easter treat, paving the way for an expanded menu on three more holiday weekends in May and June.
While extensive refurbishments continue inside, guests will be able to drive up to the iconic porte-cochère and leave with quarts and gallons of four classic tropical drinks. You must pre-order by calling director of public relations Pia Dahlquist at 954-646-8975.
The new dates for pickup at the historic Fort Lauderdale restaurant are:
* Mother’s Day’s (and Cinco De Mayo) weekend: Friday-Saturday, May 6-7.
* Memorial Day weekend: Thursday-Saturday, May 26-28.
* Father’s Day weekend: Friday-Saturday, June 17-18.
Pick-up hours are 4-6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Special arrangements can also be made for other times.
In addition, guests of The Hukilau will be able to order quarts and gallons for pick-up at the conclusion of the June 9-12 event at the nearby Beachcomber Resort in Pompano Beach. The 19th Tiki weekender will host an exclusive Mai-Kai pop-up bar throughout the event, along with a special presentation on the renovation plans by the new ownership team. Attendees can pick up quarts and gallons on Sunday, June 12.
The cocktail selection has grown from three to four, with quarts available in addition to the signature “Gallons To Go.” Four of The Mai-Kai’s most popular drinks are now available:
* Barrel O’ Rum (gallon $95, quart $30).
* Black Magic (gallon $95, quart $30).
* Jet Pilot (gallon $156, quart $44).
* Mai Tai (gallon $142, quart $40).
Click on the links above for The Atomic Grog’s reviews, ratings, history and recipes.
NEW: Rum stash discovered in warehouse
A last-minute addition to the Memorial Day lineup was announced May 24. Previously believed to be sold out, The Mai-Kai’s limited-edition signature rum from The Real McCoy is back on the menu after a small supply turned up during renovations. You can order the The Real McCoy 12-year-old Distillers Proof Mai-Kai Blend ($85.60) along with your cocktails while supplies last. The 92 proof blend from Foursquare Distillery in Barbados is a rare release, custom made for The Mai-Kai by The Real McCoy and featuring notes of toasted pecan, vanilla and wood spice along with a long, elegant finish. The bottles are from the third and final batch produced in 2020.
* Rum review and past coverage
We’ve learned to live without many things in recent years, some easier to bear than others. Unavailable since September, The Mai-Kai’s legendary tropical drinks are one of the most notable pleasures we’ve missed.
The historic Polynesian restaurant – which is still months away from reopening amid an extensive, multimillion-dollar renovation – sprung an Easter surprise on its most loyal fans Wednesday with an e-mail touting the return of its popular “Gallons To Go” cocktail program.
Three of The Mai-Kai’s most popular drinks are available for pick-up Friday and Saturday at the historic property in Oakland Park, just north of Fort Lauderdale. The site has been under renovation since the announcement of a new ownership team that will pump more than $5 million into restoring the fabled eatery to its former glory.
Act now to reserve your very own gallon of the Barrel O’ Rum ($95), Mai Tai ($142), and Black Magic ($95). Supplies are limited, so locals (and those willing to make the journey to South Florida) and encouraged to confirm their order ASAP with director of public relations Pia Dahlquist by calling 954-646-8975. Pick-up times are Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Special arrangements can also be made.
This soft reboot of the takeout cocktail program did not come without difficulties, from delays in receiving all the proper supplies to other logistical hurdles. The offerings for Easter had to be ramped up quickly, but Dahlquist said that future takeout opportunities will be considered. They could also include quarts of cocktails, along with other past favorites such as the Jet Pilot.
Be one of the first to find out by signing up for the official Mai-Kai newsletter.
Mai-Kai cocktails will also be available in just over six weeks at The Hukilau, the 19th Tiki weekender in nearby Pompano Beach. The June 9-12 event will include a Mai-Kai pop-up bar, plus a symposium that will offer an exclusive look at the renovation plans.
UPDATES: Latest news on The Mai-Kai renovations and reopening in 2022
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The restaurant braved the worst of the pandemic by creating a novel takeout strategy that included food and cocktails by the gallon. But it could not survive a catastrophic roof collapse that destroyed a large portion of the kitchen and closed the dining rooms and beloved Molokai bar in October 2020.
From late 2020 through September 2021, The Mai-Kai continued serving cocktails to go while also hosting special events in its sprawling parking lot. Meanwhile, thousands of supporters united in support online, hoping their cherished Polynesian palace would be able to find the means to reopen.
Their wish was granted when Miami’s Barlington Group reached an agreement to buy the 2.7-acre property, retaining the founding Thornton family as minority owners to continue the 65-year legacy that includes the Polynesian Islander Revue. The nightly performance was long considered to be the longest-running authentic South Seas dinner show in the United States, including Hawaii.
Just as crucial to the restaurant’s success is the vintage cocktail program, which was mentioned in the 2014 listing on the National Register of Historic Places. “The restaurant is renowned for its expert tropical drinks,” according to the National Register of Historic Places Program.
Many of the cocktails are trademarked creations that date back to the original 1956 menu, crafted by legendary mixologist Mariano Licudine. Before he was hired by Mai-Kai founders Bob and Jack Thornton, Licudine spent 16 years behind the bar at Don the Beachcomber, the groundbreaking exotic cocktail concept that established the template for all who followed.
The Mai-Kai official sites and social media
* MaiKai.com | MaiKaiTradingPost.com
Twitter | Facebook: Official page | Friends of The Mai-Kai group
Instagram: Restaurant | The Molokai bar | Trading Post
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