As if symposiums and cocktails from luminaries including Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and David Wondrich weren’t enough, The Hukilau has added a flamboyant garnish to its 21st Tiki weekend: An all-star lineup of 17 guest bars that will serve tasty tropical drinks throughout the June 8-11 event on the South Florida oceanfront.
NEW: The Hukilau 2023 countdown: Full schedule and updates as 21st Tiki weekender approaches
The list includes some historic names (The Mai-Kai, Don the Beachcomber, Tonga Hut), key bars in the modern Tiki revival (Dirty Dick, Hidden Harbor, Inferno Room), plus many returning favorites (Esotico Miami, Tiki Tatsu-ya, Tiki Underground). All will be crafting drinks throughout the four days of pool and beach parties, symposiums, nightly bungalow parties, plus more.
Pop-up bars and bartenders: See the full lineup of participants
Bonus cocktail recipe below: Passport to Martinique from VenTiki
Also confirmed this week is a list of more than 30 artists and vendors who will be selling their wares in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar. They range from noted artists (Kymm! Bang, Robert Jimenez, Tom Fowner), to longtime Tiki merchants (Aloha Art and Alligators, The Modern Historic), to event newcomers (Bamboo Betty Wear, Trader Van’s).
Tiki Treasures Bazaar: See the full lineup of participants
The Hukilau 2023 – June 8-11 at the Beachcomber Resort & Club in Pompano Beach. Featuring live music (The Hula Girls, The Intoxicators, The Disasternauts, Shorty’s Swingin’ Coconuts, The Swingin’ Palms, Skinny Jimmy Stingray, Dan Cunningham), symposiums (Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, David Wondrich, Matt Pietrek, Garret Richard, Spike Marble, Tiki Tom-Tom), guest bars, rum tastings, pool parties, beach parties, Tiki Treasures Bazaar, plus more.
* TheHukilau.com | Instagram | Facebook page and group
Previous coverage: The Hukilau 2023 preview: 21st Tiki weekender in June is nirvana for cocktail fanatics
Beachbum Berry (an influential Tiki drink historian, author and owner of Latitude 29 in New Orleans) and Wondrich (award-winning author and cocktail historian) are the marquee names, but the other symposium presenters also bring a great depth and breadth of expertise on Tiki bars and cocktails.
Garret Richard, who leads the cocktail program at Brooklyn’s Sunken Harbor Club, has a new book coming out May 16 (co-written with Ben Schaffer). Tropical Standard: Cocktail Techniques & Reinvented Recipes is eagerly anticipated by both home and professional bartenders for its innovative yet reverential approach to modern mixology.
Matt Pietrek (author of Minimalist Tiki and Modern Caribbean Rum) will discuss classic tropical drink recipes, past and present. He’ll take today’s “authentic” golden era recipes and demonstrate how things changed without us realizing it. Author and photographer Tiki Tom-Tom will talk about his first book, The Polynesiacs: Tiki at Home, scheduled for release this month through Pietrek’s self-publishing company.
Joining Southern California’s The Hula Girls are two other bands from the New Jersey-based Hi-Tide Recordings label. Shorty’s Swingin’ Coconuts (Long Beach, Calif.) will be promoting a new vinyl LP, Surf Shack Shindig, scheduled to be released this summer. The Swingin’ Palms (Albany, N.Y.) will perform their signature lei’d back Hawaiian instrumentals, while Hi-Tide owners Vincent Minervino and Magdalena O’Connell will join the party with their distinctive DJ sets.
Rounding out the musical lineup are four Florida-based acts. The Intoxicators (Tallahassee), The Disasternauts (parts unknown), and Skinny Jimmy Stingray (Deerfield Beach) all perform hard-driving instrumental rock, liberally mixing original tunes with surf classics. South Florida’s Dan Cunningham, on the other hand, is a classic crooner and one of the area’s top Elvis tribute performers.
The Hukilau is centered around pool parties featuring live music and cocktails at the scenic Beachcomber Resort on the Atlantic Ocean in Pompano Beach, just north of Fort Lauderdale. There will also be two beach parties and nightly bungalow parties. The Tiki Treasures Bazaar and the symposiums are held under tents and thatched huts around the resort property. The overall vibe and festive atmosphere creates a legitimate South Seas paradise in the tropics.
All 140 rooms at the Beachcomber are sold out, but The Hukilau’s villagers can get a special rate at the Plunge Beach Resort, about 2 miles south in Lauderdale By the Sea. Reserve a room via the link on The Hukilau website or call 407-536-2763. Use group code “HUKI” to get the discount.
Event tickets range from $149 (plus service fee) for the Saturday-only Palm Pass, to $599 (plus fee) for the four-day South Seas Pass. The top-tier pass includes many perks, including a VIP lounge, reserved seating at symposiums, and early access to the bazaar. The South Seas and Aloha pass ($359) include all presentations and parties, plus unlimited cocktails.
GUEST BARS: 17 top bar teams serve up signature drinks
A staple of The Hukilau, cocktails crafted by some of the world’s top Tiki bartenders are available throughout the event at no extra charge. Indulge freely (and responsibly) as you enjoy the music, symposiums and many other happenings around the Beachcomber resort. Here’s the lineup of bars for 2023, which includes many returning favorites:
Bare Bones Tiki* (Fort Lauderdale) – A trio of South Florida bartenders with decades of industry experience, known for their pop-ups and special events.
Bar Tiki* (Clearwater Beach) – New to The Hukilau, this waterfront rooftop venue in southwest Florida is known for its relaxing atmosphere and well-crafted topical cocktails served in colorful mugs.
Dirty Dick (Paris) – Bringing a taste of his native California to France, mixologist and bar owner Scotty Schuder is an ambassador of traditional Tiki cocktails as well as a creative force in the modern cocktail scene.
Doc Parks* (San Francisco) – The cocktail maestro – who helped create and manage such top-notch California venues as Pagan Idol, Zombie Village, and Wilfred’s Lounge – is now a solo artist. His 2023 tour includes special appearances from coast to coast.
Don the Beachcomber* (Tampa) – The resurrected iconic brand, founded by Tiki godfather Donn Beach in the 1930s, will give villagers a preview of what’s to come at a planned rollout of new locations across the country. The cocktail program is led by former Tonga Hut manager Marie King, a longtime participant at The Hukilau.
Driftwood* (Boynton Beach) – A craft cocktail bar and chef-owned restaurant in a nearby coastal Palm Beach County town specializing in inventive food and drinks. Driftwood recently hosted a Hukilau warmup party.
Esotico Miami – This modern take on Tiki reflects its location in the Magic City, but a new adjacent speakeasy (Kaona Room) gives owner and acclaimed mixologist Daniele Dalla Pola even more space to show off his creativity and reverence for classic Tiki. Dalla Pola and his team will also host the Wednesday night pre-party and rum dinner sponsored by Plantation Rum.
Hidden Harbor (Pittsburgh) – One of the most active and high-profile names in the recent Tiki bar revival, this modern craft cocktail bar pays homage to the past while also pushing the envelope with new cocktails and techniques.
The Honu (Dunedin, Fla.) – This South Seas themed bar and restaurant in southwest Florida is back at The Hukilau for a third straight year. Led by enthusiastic ownership and staff, The Honu will also sell its wares in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar.
The Inferno Room (Indianapolis) – Open just four years, this elaborately designed Tiki oasis in the Midwest is a throwback to the Polynesian palaces of yesteryear with upper-tier cocktails to match the authentic decor.
Luau Lads (Jacksonville, Fla.) – The freelance bartending team of Michael Bloom and Kurt Rogers has carved out its own niche with a constant flow of events, products and services. Their cocktails, from riffs on classics to their own originals, never disappoint.
The Mai-Kai (Fort Lauderdale) – It wouldn’t be The Hukilau without cocktails from the legendary Polynesian restaurant. Expect something a little different than the regular menu of quarts and gallons to go. The Mai-Kai will also be represented by members of the famous Polynesian Islander Revue, who will participate in a Polynesian dance performance on the beach..
Tiki Tatsu-Ya (Austin, Texas) – One of the country’s most eagerly anticipated new Tiki-focused restaurant/bar concepts has lived up to the hype since its September 2021 opening. A creative mash-up of Hawaiian, Polynesian, and Asian influences, Tiki Tatsu-Ya features cocktails that help take themed dining to the next level.
Tiki Tiki Bang Bang (Cincinnati, Ohio) – Back for a second year, this newcomer to the cocktail scene (est. 2020) is the premiere tropical escape in a city with a rich Tiki history. Led by a creative ownership team, Tiki Tiki Bang Bang takes the genre in a more cinematic direction.
Tiki Underground (Akron, Ohio) – After moving to a spanking new location, this Midwest favorite continues to evolve and improve its classic Tiki focus. The owners and staff of the 5-year-old bar are deeply involved in spreading aloha at events both at home and across the country, spotlighting their knowledge of Tiki history and their craft cocktail chops.
Tonga Hut (Los Angeles) – The oldest Tiki bar in Los Angeles (tracing its roots to 1958) is back once again to represent the genre’s birthplace and bring a well-crafted lineup of classic and original drinks.
VenTiki (Ventura, Calif.) – An often overlooked but well-respected and popular Southern California bar and restaurant, known for its aloha spirit and wide selection of custom mugs. In their first appearance at The Hukilau, they presented one of our favorite drinks last year. [See bonus recipe below]
TheHukilau.com: Latest info on the guest bars
There are a dozen returnees from last year, plus five newcomers (*noted above). Three are true newbies. But Doc Parks is no stranger to The Hukilau after representing several of his previous bars, including an appearance in the prestigious Tiki Tower Takeover. The Don the Beachcomber brand is iconic, but the current iteration is new to the scene. With Tiki veteran King in charge of cocktails, we have no doubt this event debut will be a smash success.
A non-stop flow of craft Tiki cocktails, created and served by premiere bar teams from around the world, has become the norm at The Hukilau. But that wasn’t always the case.
In the early years, many of the host hotels frowned upon such activity, citing rules and regulations. Other events across the country must deal with strict local and state laws. But in freewheeling Florida, the venues were more likely concered with their own bottom line and losing customers at their own (often subpar) bars.
All that changed when The Hukilau moved to the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in 2015. Taking advantage of the more liberal hotel management, The Hukilau’s co-founder and longtime organizer Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White slowly incorporated more and better cocktails into the event, setting it on a new trajectory.
Inspired by the prestige and success of Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, White created multiple events that would allow top bars and bartenders from across the country to not only participate, but showcase their creations to thirsty villagers.
Four of Tiki’s best barmen (Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Martin Cate, Paul McGee, and Brian Miller ) took over the Pier Top Lounge for a special event dubbed the Tiki Tower Takeover. In 2016, the four heavyweights were joined by a fifth (St. John Frizell from the original Sunken Harbor Club), while the new “High Tide” event added sponsor cocktails crafted by Miller and friends.
By 2017, White’s last year at the helm, a new wave of bartenders joined the Tiki Tower Takeover (including 2023 participants Dalla Pola, Schuder, and Richard). A total of 10 bar teams made the trip to Fort Liquordale during this pivotal year as the High Tide party added more cocktails, and the Rum Island Pool Party was introduced.
That year also saw the launch of the Okole Maluna Cocktail Academy classes taught by many of the visiting bartenders. Among the other featured pop-up bars that year were Hidden Harbor, Pagan Idol, S.O.S. Tiki Bar, and UnderTow.
The Hukilau’s new owner and organizer, Richard Oneslager, continued the event in a similar fashion, adding even more bars in 2018 and 2019, the final year at Pier 66. After skipping 2020 due to COVID, The Hukilau returned in 2021 at the Beachcomber with a more intimate gathering but a continued focus on the many great Tiki bars that continue to thrive across the U.S. (and around the globe).
Previous coverage: The Hukilau history
TIKI TREASURES BAZAAR: More than two dozen marketplace vendors to sell their wares
The Hukilau offers its villagers a unique opportunity to pick up vintage collectibles from a wide range of artists and merchants on Saturday, June 10. Shop for curated art, mugs, Tiki carvings, and much more. Following are the 32 confirmed booths, their specialty items, plus links to official sites when available.
Aloha Art and Alligators – Vintage Hawaiiana, Tiki and fashion accessories.
Aloha Products USA* – Clothing, wallets and bags, jewelry, and more products from Luau Leslie.
Bare Bones Tiki* – Cocktail related items including swizzle sticks, shirts and stickers.
Big Mike’s Tiki Gods / Gill’s Art and Collectibles – Original art, masks, Tiki and retro collectibles.
Black Cat Jo Boutique* – Swimwear, clothing, and accessories.
Captain Cowfish* – Tiki/tropical/oceanic décor, signs, and necklaces.
Dead Serious Customs – Accessories, purses, jewelry, hair flowers, hats.
NEW: Deco Dermot – Tiki mugs, postcards, hula girl figures, bric-a-brac, Hawaiian shirts.
NEW: Esotico Miami* – Mugs and other merchandise from the tropical oasis in the gateway to the tropics.
The Honu – Branded T-shirts, mugs, and hats from the Dunedin, Fla., restaurant and Tiki bar.
Kymm! Bang – Gravel art, jewelry, and more from the Chicago artist.
Livin A Dream – Authentic Hawaiian clothing, Hawaiiana trinkets, vinyl records.
Mahalo Max’s Electrified Oddities* – Hand-made Tiki lamps from “Mahalo Max” Shaw.
The Modern Historic – Records, vintage clothing, and Tiki home goods.
Momma Q’s Craft and Jewelry* – Handmade one-of-a-kind jewelry and designer sneakers.
Mondodeluxe* – Sunglass hats and straw bags.
Rarabird the Primitivadiva* – Hair flowers, hat fobs, original artwork, and prints from artist Laura Harper.
Retro Tiki Designs – Mid-century and Tiki-inspired artwork, swizzle sticks, ornaments, wood engraved pieces.
Retro-Verte* – Vintage and Tiki reproduction clothing, jewelry, and home decor.
Robert Jimenez* – Original art and prints from the South Florida artist.
Sew Cute and Quirky – Handmade aloha bags, purses, totes, organizers.
The Shrunken Monkey – Ceramic artifacts, home bar lightning, exotic props, and decor.
Skaterdaterdude* – Vintage Hawaiiana and clothing (aloha shirts).
Sweet Siren Designs* – Handmade jewelry, graphic T-shirts, clothing, backpacks and totes, canvas art prints, barware.
Taboo Relics – Handmade ceramic exotica, Tiki swag lamps, Tiki mugs.
Tikiphile – Tiki-inspired ceramic shot glasses and mugs, decorative tiles.
Tom Fowner – Hand-carved Tikis, pendants, and more.
Trader Van’s* – Vintage (made In Hawaii) aloha shirts and dresses.
Tropical Impressions – Tropical and Tiki-themed artwork and homemade jewelry.
Trunkers* – Swim trunks, skorts, backpacks, towels.
Vienna Boutique – Hand-crafted, scented soaps.
TheHukilau.com: Latest info on the vendors
There are many returnees from 2022. Among those who didn’t participate last year (*noted above), some are no stranger to The Hukilau. Jimenez rarely missed the event before the pandemic. He and Harper are marking their return for the first time since 2019. Vassar is another returnee from back in the day. Others, like Sweet Siren Designs from Los Angeles, are just starting to venture to East Coast events.
In a change from past years at the Beachcomber, the vending space will be expanded from the courtyard tent and poolside area to surrounding indoor bungalows.
Previous coverage: What’s new
BONUS COCKTAIL RECIPE
Tucked away near the entrance to the Friday night luau at The Hukilau 2022 was a hidden gem of a cocktail served up the friendly folks from VenTiki. This popular Ventura, Calif., bar and restaurant has a loyal and enthusiastic following, and now we on the eastern seaboard know why.
PASSPORT TO MARTINIQUE
As served by VenTiki at The Hukilau 2022
(Interpreted by Hurricane Hayward, The Atomic Grog)
* 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
* 1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup
* 1/2 ounce orgeat
* 1/4 ounce orange curacao
* 1 ounce Denizen Merchant Reserve rum (86 proof)
* 1/2 ounce unaged Martinique rum (100 proof)
* 1/2 ounce Wray & Nephew overproof Jamaican rum (126 proof)
Shake or pulse blend with 1 cup of crushed ice. Pour unstrained into a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with mint and/or an orchid.
A simple but very effective take on the classic Mai Tai. Purists will scoff at the inclusion of passion fruit syrup, but it adds nice balance and gives the drink a distinctive twist that seemed perfect for The Hukilau. The added sweetness is a welcome counterpoint to the raw punch of the unaged, high-proof rums.
* Try to stick with Denizen Merchant Reserve, billed as an 8-year-old blend of pot still rums from Jamaica and rhum grand arôme from Martinique. It has become a staple of modern Mai Tais in many bars. If necessary, substitute an 86-proof Jamaican rum, such as 8-year-old Appleton Estate Reserve.
* Clement Canne Blue was featured at The Hukilau, but another unaged agricole rhum clocking in at 50 percent ABV works just as well. We employed Rhum J.M. Blanc.
* J. Wray and Nephew’s unaged white rum is iconic, but you can also find similar 63 percent ABV funk bombs from other Jamaican distilleries. We also recommend Rum Fire and Rum-Bar Overproof.
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!
THE HUKILAU 2023: PREVIOUS COVERAGE
The Hukilau 2023 preview: 21st Tiki weekender in June is nirvana for cocktail fanatics
The June 8-11 event on the South Florida oceanfront will feature Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and David Wondrich plus more industry experts and bartenders, nightly parties, live music and much more.
>>> FULL EVENT PREVIEW
THE HUKILAU: PAST COVERAGE
The Hukilau 2022: Daily recap, photos and video
The 19th Tiki weekender featured four days of live music, educational seminars, cocktails and rum tastings, plus lots more.
The Mai-Kai’s new owner reveals renovation plans during The Hukilau
Tiki enthusiasts got preview of refurbishment of the 65-year-old landmark during a discussion at annual event in June.
* Full 2022 coverage
* 2021: Daily recap, photos and video | Zombie party is final challenge | Full coverage
* 2020: Virtual events honor The Hukilau, help those in need
* 2019: 10 highlights and photos | Social media recap | Full coverage
* 2018 social media recap | More highlights
* 2017 daily recaps, news, photos and video | More highlights
* More recaps: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2002-2008
MORE EVENT COVERAGE
UPDATES: The Tiki Times: Exclusive events guide
Check the calendar for all of the major happenings around the world, from Tiki weekenders to rum festivals to marketplaces and music fests.
>>> SEE ALL OF THE TOP 2023 EVENTS
The Year in Tiki 2022: Take a trip back to the year’s top events
Relive the year’s top happenings with photos and video, social media posts, plus promotional artwork and links to official sites.
MORE ON THE MAI-KAI
The Mai-Kai renovations, April 2023: Bora Bora building comes down as restoration efforts pick up steam NEW
The structural footprint of the historic South Florida restaurant changed dramatically with the demolition of a long-dormant building. Meanwhile, work accelerated restoring the vintage dining rooms and rebuilding the back of house.
>>> EXCLUSIVE NEWS, PHOTOS AND VIDEO
EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Behind the scenes at The-Mai-Kai as restoration ramps up in 2023
With work accelerating on the exterior, craftsmen meticulously restore the historic South Florida restaurant’s elaborately themed interior guest areas in exacting detail.
>>> LATEST NEWS ON THE RENOVATIONS
>>> REBUILDING PARADISE: Typhoon Tommy leads restoration efforts
The Mai-Kai officially begins work on first phase of $8.5 million renovation projects
With three key building permits in hand, the new ownership group is finally moving full-steam ahead on major construction projects that will restore and reshape the historic Polynesian restaurant.
New details on The Mai-Kai renovations, new merchandise revealed at Inuhele 2023 in Atlanta
New images and renderings of the historic restaurant’s multimillion-dollar refurbishment unveiled during presentation at Tiki weekender. Attendees also got a sneak preview of new mugs and other merchandise along with a new signature rum.
Historic preservation board approves The Mai-Kai’s renovation plans, clearing way for project to move forward
Landmark Polynesian restaurant allowed to remove old building, make other enhancements in sweeping plan to reimagine 66-year-old, 2.7-acre property.
The Mai-Kai turns 66 as work progresses on multiple renovation projects
There are many reasons to be hopeful that the 67th anniversary in 2023 will be the first since 2019 when we’ll once again be able to gather inside the historic South Florida restaurant to appreciate its grandeur and beauty.
Okole Maluna Society: The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide
Hurricane Hayward reviews and rates the historic restaurant’s current and past tropical drinks, plus reveals a treasure trove of ancestor and exclusive tribute recipes.