For the first time since launching one of the most intimate and authentic Halloween parties in South Florida in 2009, The Mai-Kai will host this year’s bash on the night of All Hallows’ Eve. Fort Lauderdale’s legendary Polynesian restaurant will be crawling with Tiki-fied ghouls and zombies on Halloween night during its sixth annual Hulaween in The Molokai bar.
Until this year, the festive event never landed on Halloween night itself. Will The Mai-Kai’s ancient Tiki gods be pleased or annoyed? You’ll have to attend the party to find out. The eerie event, sponsored by Appleton Rum, starts at 5 p.m. and features live music by South Florida roots rockers Slip and the Spinouts, a costume contest, deadly drink specials and retro Halloween tunes during happy hour.
The haunted happy hour runs from 5 to 7 p.m., with most of the bar’s dangerous tropical drinks, such as the Shrunken Skull and Shark Bite, priced at 50 percent off. Also half-priced are the tasty Polynesian appetizers such as the Pupu Platter, ribs, chicken, shrimp and salads. Check The Atomic Grog’s Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide for other deadly treats.
Also during happy hour and until Slip Mahoney and his band of costumed characters take the stage, The Atomic Grog will be programming more than 2 hours of retro Halloween-themed tunes, from early blues and exotica to jazz, rockabilly and surf. This will be the band’s fourth Hulaween appearance, a testament to its popularity and staying power as torch-bearers of the South Florida rockabilly scene. Slip and the Spinouts is The Mai-Kai’s go-to party band that always knocks ’em dead.
The Mai-Kai’s Molokai bar was filled with costume-clad revelers on Friday, Oct. 25, for the historic Polynesian restaurant’s frighteningly festive Halloween bash known as Hulaween. South Florida surf band Skinny Jimmy & the Stingrays performed three sets of retro classics and choice originals, there were many creative entries in the costume contest, and a good time was had by all at the fifth annual event. See below:Browse 20 photos from the event
The bar opened at 5 p.m. for happy hour and exotic Halloween tunes programmed by The Atomic Grog. The band hit the stage after 7, cranking up the energy as Skinny Jimmy channeled Satan himself. The rest of the band took on the personas of famous Halloween characters as they ripped through instrumental surf hits from the past 50 years, including such appropriate songs Moonlight Surf, Dark Eyes, Jack the Ripper, Ghost Riders, and the Munsters TV show theme.
A Mexican wrestler and a pirate, better known as Mai-Kai manager Kern Mattei and marketing director Pia Dahlquist, once again hosted the costume contest and awarded the grand prize to a creative couple who came to the party as a pair of Tikis. Runners-up included several artistic Day of the Dead couples, the scary Sleestak and a confused Rastafarian Scotsman.
The band kept the party rockin’ until midnight as attendees enjoyed The Mai-Kai’s legendary tropical drinks in the nautical-themed lounge. Sponsor Captain Morgan also presented rum and cocktail samples featuring its tasty Captain Morgan Black.
The fifth annual Hulaween at The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale will feature a lot of classic elements, from the surf music of Skinny Jimmy & the Stringrays to the cocktails, food and decor at the 56-year-old Polynesian palace. One additional classic element for 2013 is a theme centered around a classically bad B-movie.
The Horror of Party Beach is a 1964 horror film intended to be “a take-off on beach parties and musicals.” What it ended up being is one of the 10 worst films of all time, according to The Book of Lists. It was also among the films in the 1978 book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.
Shot in black & white on a miniscule budget in Connecticut, the film stars laughable creatures that are said to be derived from water plants and dead human tissue mutated from radioactive waste. The monsters become humanoid by attaching themselves to skeletons in a shipwreck, then proceed to hunt down and kill a series of comely young women. The official trailer:
The 56-year-old Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale hosts many signature events throughout the year, such as The Hukilau in June and the legendary Polynesian restaurant’s anniversary party in December. But perhaps the most distinctive (and frighteningly festive) is Hulaween every October.
Marking its fifth anniversary on Oct. 25, Hulaween has become one of South Florida’s most authentically fun Halloween bashes. No fancy gimmicks or wacky concepts, just a good old-fashioned costume party in The Mai-Kai’s nautical-themed Molokai bar featuring some of South Florida’s best retro-themed bands.
Deerfield Beach surf band Skinny Jimmy & the Stingrays will be making its Hulaween debut this year, providing the perfect soundtrack of classic instrumental tunes from the ’50s and ’60s, plus their exceptional originals. Once again, The Atomic Grog will dig up 50+ years of rockin’ Halloween tunes to play between sets. Expect the dance floor to again be filled with zombies and monsters of every persuasion.
Slip and the Spinouts rocked the house during The Mai-Kai’s fourth annual Hulaween on Oct. 26 in Fort Lauderdale. The South Florida rockabilly favorites were the highlight of the seven-hour party that also included a costume contest, retro tunes and the return of a special “lost cocktail.” See below:Video, photos from the party
* See the Hulaween poster | Event preview
The party kicked off in The Molokai bar with the Atomic Retro Happy Hour pre-party from 5 to 7 p.m. hosted by The Atomic Grog. In a salute to the half-century-old Mai-Kai, the musical playlist featured tunes spanning the 1930s to the 1980s, from Skip James to The Cramps. A special thanks to Mrs. Hurricane for digging up most of the eclectic music.
Partygoers were also treated to a “lost cocktail” that was on The Mai-Kai’s original 1956 menu but has been retired for years. The Last Rites was a deadly concoction perfect for the occasion, impeccably crafted and presented by manager Kern Mattei’s bar staff.
* Click here for a Last Rites review and new tribute recipe
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.
* See the poster artwork | Facebook event
The Mai-Kai’s cocktail menu includes many drinks that have survived since the Fort Lauderdale Polynesian palace’s inception in 1956. Our unofficial count is 33 originals among the current menu’s 47 cocktails. The origins and recipes for some of these have long been mysteries, and we hope this guide unravels a few.
But even more mysterious are the great lost cocktails of The Mai-Kai. Those drinks that appear on early menus but for one reason or another were retired or replaced. Among the 12 of these that we’ve been able to identify are such exotic temptations as the Impatient Virgin, Dr. Fong and Liquid Gold. Those three, along with many others, were descendants of Don the Beachcomber cocktails that original Mai-Kai bartender Mariano Licudine reconfigured after spending decades learning from tropical drink originator Donn Beach.
This connection, along with the rich history of The Mai-Kai, is detailed in depth by cocktail historian Jeff “Beachbum Berry” in his excellent 2007 book, Sippin’ Safari. This lavishly illustrated guide is recommended not only for all the great recipes, but for the stories behind the cocktails that you won’t find anywhere else. Look for a special 10th anniversary edition – featuring new recipes, photos and stories – to be released in July 2017.