Minimalist Tiki

The Mai-Kai thanks its customers for 55 years with party on Wednesday, Dec. 28

Behind the magic: A backstage tour of The Mai-Kai’s mysterious bars and kitchen NEW
Related sites: Facebook event | | Flickr group
Recent posts: Take 5: Mai-Kai General Manager Kern Mattei | Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide

The venerable Mai-Kai Polynesian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale will give back to its local clientele next Wednesday with a special party featuring extended happy hour prices and complimentary buffet.

Mai-Kai anniversary party

In addition, DJ Mike “The Jetsetter” Jones will be playing some of eclectic “retro-active” tunes plus old Mai-Kai favorites. The bash starts at 5 p.m. in The Molokai bar and half-price food and drink prices last until 9, maybe later.

Drop by to see old friends, make new ones, and marvel at the perfectly preserved mid-century Tiki temple. Management will also bring out the old scrapbooks for those who enjoy Mai-Kai memorabilia and want to take a trip back in time.

According to “The Mai-Kai is perhaps the last of the grand Polynesian palaces still operating from when Tiki was at its peak in the late ’50s and early ’60s. That The Mai-Kai not only still exists today, but is vibrant and thriving, is something we should all be very grateful for – but not take for granted.”

A recent profile in Wine Enthusiast magazine raves: “To call it merely a supper club would be doing it a great disservice. Before the nightly performances, The Mai-Kai gushes with a steady flow of patrons pouring into the tropical gardens, marveling at the Barney West Tiki sculptures, dreamily slipping past waterfalls, sipping barrels of rum and coconuts filled with hibiscus-scented concoctions. Having boasted one of the brightest stars of mid-century mixology, Mariano Licudine, The Mai-Kai still serves up his frothy, original creations.”

The Mai-Kai is at 3599 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, on the west side between Commercial and Oakland Park boulevards. Valet and paid self-parking only, though it’s possible the fee will be waived in the late-night hours. To make dinner reservations, call (954) 563-3272.

Modern Caribbean Rum
A vintage Mai-Kai postcard (courtesy of
A vintage Mai-Kai postcard (courtesy of

For more Mai-Kai postcards, check out this post on, Tim “Swanky” Glazner’s longtime site celebrating mid-century Tiki cocktails, architecture and more. Swanky will be presenting a special symposium, Mai-Kai: History, Mystery & Adventure, at Hukilau 2012 in Fort Lauderdale. Click here for more info. Also, his new Swank Pad Productions has produced an amazing Mai-Kai Mystery Girl Bowl and more affordable Mini Bowl. Click here for updates on his new line of bowls, the Mai-Kai Memories Series.

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