Minimalist Tiki

Week in Tiki (April 1-15, 2016): The Hukilau, Tiki Caliente and more upcoming events; Miami fest’s award-winning rums; Tiki bar openings and closings, and more!

The Week in Tiki Get the latest updates on The Hukilau in June and the fast-approaching Tiki Caliente in May. Other event previews include Vintage Tiki Weekend in Wildwood, a Shag art release at Disneyland, and Dick Dale’s latest tour. We take a look back at the award winners at Miami Rum Festival, plus Tiki bar openings, closings and news from the first half of April. Regular features spotlight tattoo artist and historian Paul Roe; exotic California musician Voodoo Organist; the flagship Trader Vic’s location in Emeryville, Cnalif.; and The Rum Trader blog. The rum of the week, Clément V.S.O.P., is featured in the Broken Storm cocktail.
* Keep up with The Week in Tiki: Facebook page | RSS feed | See past weeks | Archive
* Weekly features: Artist | Band/music | Bar | Website | Rum | Cocktail | Events

THE HUKILAU: Tiki Road Trip announced, Pier 66 and The Mai-Kai sold out, new rum sponsors, and more!

The Hukilau has been gearing up for its 15th anniversary event in Fort Lauderdale on June 8-12 with a flurry of news and announcements since early April. Here’s all the latest:

Tiki Road Trip Pool Party

Get your tickets now for the Tiki Road Trip Pool Party, a condensed version of a cross-country road trip to five bars in five different states serving exotic tropical cocktails. On Friday, June 10, from noon to 4 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to sip cocktails and chat up the bar staff from Porco Lounge & Tiki Room (Cleveland), Foundation Tiki Bar (Milwaukee), Aku Aku (Orlando), plus The Happiest Hour and Slowly Shirley (New York City). Also joining the party will be Cooking Channel star Jim Stacy, who will be offering a sneak preview of his upcoming Tiki bar in Atlanta, the Barnacled Mermaid. The party takes place at the Pier 66 main pool and surrounding courtyard. Tickets ($20 for weekend passholders, $49 for non-passholders) include one drink from each bar. Also on hand will be the author of the book that inspired the event: James Teitelbaum (Tiki Road Trip, 2003). Also announced in early April was a special screening of Korla The Movie, a documentary film about eccentric and influential musician Korla Pandit (1921-1998). The screening will be held during the finale at The Mai-Kai on Sunday, June 12.
* Full report on Tiki Road Trip party and movie screening quick links: Buy tickets, passes | Schedule | Symposiums
Tiki Treasures Bazaar | Volunteer

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel
Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel

The host Hyatt Regency Pier 66 officially sold out of rooms for The Hukilau on April 20. But co-founder/organizer Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White quickly announced the overflow host hotel, the waterfront Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel. Located just over the Intracoastal Waterway bridge from Pier 66, the Hilton includes such amenities as free wi-fi and beach shuttle, plus a large pool and relaxing environment just a short walk from all the festivities. Room rates start at $119 for a standard king or double.
* Click here to book now

Also sold out: Both dinner shows at The Mai-Kai during the Saturday night main event on June 11. This means the entire restaurant will be the domain of The Hukilau’s villagers for the legendary Polynesian Islander Revue, the longest-running authentic South Seas stage show in the United States, including Hawaii. However, the show several times a night, so attendees are welcome to catch it on one of the other nights during the festivities. We suggest booking dinner in the showroom after the finale on Sunday, or during Wednesday’s opening-night party (or both). Also, there might be space available Saturday night in the restaurant’s back dining areas, especially later in the evening. Call The Mai-Kai at (954) 563-3272 for reservations and/or plan on arriving late that night. You can also email Pia Dahlquist ([email protected]) to get on a waiting list. Typically the crowd thins out as the night goes on. The Mai-Kai can hold nearly 1,000 guests, but efforts are being made to keep it from becoming too overcrowded with demand high this year. The venerable Tiki temple, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in December, was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places. Look for a special announcement about new additions at The Mai-Kai in time for The Hukilau. More info to come soon.

Sponsor Rhum Barbancourt offered tastings of its distinctive rums, plus four special cocktails mixed up daily in a tropical-themed booth. (Atomic Grog photo)
Sponsor Rhum Barbancourt offered tastings of its distinctive rums, plus four special cocktails mixed up daily in a tropical-themed booth at The Hukilau 2015. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Rum sponsor rums are being added to The Hukilau at a rapid rate, quickly approaching the number you’ll find at smaller rum festivals. Tiki Kiliki has revealed the latest rums to be featured in tastings and/or cocktails: Ron Diplomatico (Venezuela), Koloa (Hawaii), and Santeria (South Carolina). The Hukilau will also welcome the Minister of Rum himself, Ed Hamilton, to Pier 66 for a special tasting of his acclaimed Hamilton Rums (date and time TBA). Hamilton’s Ministry of Rum Collection includes rums from St. Lucia, Jamaica and Guyana. The Ministry of Rum is also an online forum founded by Hamilton that unites rum collectors from around the globe and serves as a vital resource of reviews and information. Earlier in April, Rhum Barbancourt was announced as a “presenting sponsor” and will play a major role in several events. Details are scheduled to be announced soon, so look for updates on The Hukilau’s Facebook page. The Mai-Kai will be serving an original Rhum Barbancourt cocktail, the Spicy Hula Girl. Also added to the list of sponsors in April was Gubba Rum (Massachusetts), Rhum Clèment (Martinique), and Florida Mermaid Rum. Previously announced were Flor de Caña (Nicaragua), Sailor Jerry (Caribbean), Blue Chair Bay (Barbados), and Don Q (Puerto Rico).
* More coverage of the new rum sponsors

The Hukilau swizzle stick by Shag
The Hukilau swizzle stick by Shag. The artist’s logo appears on the reverse side.

On April 14, Tiki Kiliki posted a sneak peek of The Hukilau’s new swizzle stick, designed by Shag and created by sponsors Royer Corp. Earlier, she shared some of the 2016 glassware designs, showing off Shag’s homage to some of the distinctive Tikis (and shrunken heads) at The Mai-Kai. Both Mai Tai glasses and Zombie glasses are in the works featuring this colorful design, she said. Shag artwork will also appear on designer T-shirts as well as beach and bar towels, two new items that have never been offered before. Also shared on Facebook: The design for the 2016 pendant, carved by Crazy Al Evans and produced by Perry Drake. The pendant honors a giant Barney West carving that still stands at The Mai-Kai. John Mulder of Eekum Bookum is also hard at work on the official 2016 mug, which is modeled after another Tiki at The Mai-Kai. Previously announced is the Tower Barrel Mug, Mulder’s special mash-up of the Pier 66 tower and The Mai-Kai’s Barrel O’ Rum. These are reserved for guests who bought five-day South Seas passes before they sold out. Look for more merchandise announcements and info on how to order in the coming weeks.
* See photos of the designs, previous coverage of merchandise

Russell Mofsky (left) and Gold Dust Lounge.
Russell Mofsky (left) and Gold Dust Lounge.

Last but not least, another surf-influenced band was added to the schedule, adding to a lineup that already could be considered an instrumental surf music fan’s dream. Miami’s Gold Dust Lounge will be performing at Wednesday night’s pre-party in The Molokai lounge at The Mai-Kai, a role it has filled in past years to much acclaim. Guitarist and band leader Russell Mofsky has changed his lineup recently, so guests who haven’t seen the band since last year will want to make note of the new stripped-down and powerful Gold Dust Lounge trio.

The Hukilau: June 8-12, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring Shag, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Martin Cate, Paul McGee, Brian Miller, St. John Frizell, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, The Tikiyaki Orchestra, Jason Lee and the R.I.P. Tides, The Intoxicators, Skinny Jimmy Stingray, The Quiet Villagers, The Disasternauts, Gold Dust Lounge, Otto von Stroheim, Paul Roe, Tim “Swanky” Glazner, Humuhumu, Tom Fowner, Will Anders, Jeff Chouinard, Angie Pontani, Kitten de Ville, Lila Starlet, plus more.
* | Facebook: Page and Group | Twitter | Instagram

TIKI CALIENTE: Summer season’s first event nears sellout

Official Tiki Caliente print by Doug Horne
Official Tiki Caliente print by Doug Horne.

The Tiki event season kicks off with the eighth Tiki Caliente in Palm Springs on May 12-15, featuring an expanded schedule of symposiums, plenty of live music, cool vendors and merchandise, plus special parties. Held at the historic Caliente Tropics resort, the event is one of the more intimate events on the calendar and typically sells out, so be sure to get your tickets before they’re gone.

Wristbands sell for $99 and cover most of the weekend happenings. Symposium tickets are sold separately. All rooms have long been booked at both the Caliente Tropics and nearby Motel 6, but there should be plenty of other options in the desert vacation oasis. Among the more news and announcements:

The event’s newest sponsor, Don the Beachcomber, presents the “1000 Leagues Under the Sea” Lobby party with live performances by Jason Lee and the R.I.P. Tides on Saturday, May 14, from midnight until 2 a.m.

Tiki Caliente's Kuroshio Drifter mugs, designed by Doug Horne and manufactured by Eekum Bookum
Tiki Caliente’s Kuroshio Drifter mugs, designed by Doug Horne and manufactured by Eekum Bookum.

A new mug design has been added to the list of official merchandise. Based on traditional glass fishing floats, a mainstay of Tiki bar decor for decades, these “secondary mugs” honor the mysterious and desirable beachcomber’s treasures. The Kuroshio Drifter Collection depicts two net-covered fish floats, separated by three circles of cork. The mug gets its name from the Pacific Ocean current where the drifting floats often spend decades before being swept up in other currents and washed up on shore. Designed by Doug Horne and manufactured by Eekum Bookum the mug is being released in various colors throughout the year. At Tiki Caliente 8, the Gulf Stream Green and Red Tide colors will join the collection, a throwback to the colors of the sought-after Trader Vic’s Port and Starboard mugs. The mugs are being made in very limited quantity (30 of each color) and will be available at the Tiki Caliente booth starting Saturday morning at 10 a.m. for $65.00 each, first come, first served. There will also be a few Pacific Blue mugs, which were introduced April 30 at Tiki Makeke at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach. The official event mug, a traditional Maori war club resting on a lava rock, sold out in advance. Also designed by Horne and produced by Eekum Bookum, it was limited to a run of 200. Be sure to stop by Horne’s booth and pick up the official event limited edition print (see artwork above) and limited-edition war club pedants.

Tiki Caliente schedule

Shag the Store in Palm Springs will host a special reception and party on Saturday, May 14, at the Caliente Tropics for “Trousdale Twist,” a massive painting from Shag’s new Palm Springs exhibition “Extravagant Stranger: New paintings by Shag.” The exhibition will feature many new original paintings by the artist Josh Agle (aka Shag) along with rare and newer prints, all available for purchase. The reception is free and open to the public from 7:15 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Shag will be in attendance to meet guests and sign items purchased from the Shag stores and Tiki Caliente vending space.
* Shag the Store: Official site | Palm Springs store Facebook page

Here’s the latest schedule for the whole weekend. Note that sponsored room parties are ongoing before, during and after musical performances. All events at the Caliente Tropics unless noted.

Thursday, May 12
* 2-3:15 p.m. – Symposium: “Punch and the History of the Communal Cocktail” by Chad Austin of Bootlegger Tiki
* 4-7 p.m. Pre-party at Tonga Hut in Palm Springs with Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid and release of a special limited-edition Mai Tai glass with matching Tiki Caliente 8 swizzle stick.
* 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Zulluu
* 11 p.m.-1 a.m. – The Jimmy Psycho Experiment

Friday, May 13
* 2-3:15 p.m.- Symposium: “Finishing Touches” by Marie King of Tonga Hut, Los Angeles
* 3-5 p.m. – DJ Baz & Jazif Music of the Savage Ritual
* 5:30 p.m. – Kickoff opening toast
* 5:45-8 p.m. – Voodoo Organist
* 8-10 p.m. – Creepxotica
* 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. – TikiTronic

Tiki Caliente poster by Doug Horne
Tiki Caliente poster by Doug Horne.

Saturday, May 14
* 10 a.m.-6 p.m. – Vendors open
* 11 a.m. – Symposium: “Thrift Tales from the Den of Sin: Keeping Your Tiki Collection in Flux” by Jason T. Smith
* Noon-2 p.m. Yacht Rock with Marty Lush and Rory Snyder
* 2 p.m. – Symposium: “From the High Seas to High Tiki: Rum’s Cocktail Voyage” by Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove (sold out)
* 5-6:15 p.m. – Surfbroads
* 6:45-8 p.m. – Don Ho “Suck on This” featuring Marty Lush
* 8:30-9:45 p.m. – The Do-Its
* 11 p.m.- Ding Dong Devils
* Midnight-2 a.m. – Jason Lee and the R.I.P. Tides

Sunday, May 15
* 10 a.m.-6 p.m. – Vendors open
* Noon – Jason Arimoto
* 4 p.m – Martini Kings

To get warmed up for Tiki Caliente, you might want to check out the latest podcast from the party animals at the Zen Tiki Lounge, recorded at Don the Beachcomber’s Tiki Makeke on April 30. The hosts were joined by event organizer Rory Snyder and participants Marty Lush (aka Digitiki of The Quiet Village); artists Ken Ruzic, Doug Horne and Big Toe; and Kari Hendler of Poly Hai. The show also featured music from bands performing at the event.
* Click here to listen to the podcast

Tiki Caliente: May 12-15 at the Caliente Tropics in Palm Springs, Calif.
* Official sites: | Facebook event | Facebook page

MORE UPCOMING EVENTS: Vintage Tiki Weekend in Wildwood, Shag at Disneyland, Dick Dale on tour

Vintage Tiki Weekend in Wildwood

Mod Betty of Retro Roadmap will host the second annual Vintage Tiki Weekend in Wildwood, N.J., on May 13-15. Last year’s inaugural event sold out at the vintage Caribbean Motel, a classic mid-century property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 2016 event returns to the motel for a full weekend of activities, plus Friday night’s opening Tiki cocktail reception at the Doo Wop Experience, the retro museum of Wildwood. You can also explore historic Wildwood on a virtual scavenger hunt. Motel guests can enjoy vintage vending, poolside parties and dancing, a fashion show, a limbo contest and shuffleboard. Other highlights: Happy hour with Blanko Dave of the Thrifty Discount DJs spinning vintage surf, lounge and exotica; and an authentic Hawaiian dinner. Last year’s event sold out, so don’t miss your chance to experience the Jersey Shore the way it should be. [2015 recap, photos]
* Retro Roadmap event preview | Facebook event
* Retro Roadmap on the Atomic Grog: Website of the Week (May 2015)

"A Wretched Hive" by Shag. (
“A Wretched Hive” by Shag. (

WonderGround Gallery at Downtown Disney in Anaheim celebrates the release of “A Wretched Hive” by Shag on Saturday, May 21, with a special appearance by the artist. Shag will participate in an artist signing during the unveiling of his latest work for Disney, inspired by Star Wars and depicting the iconic cantina scene from the original 1977 film. The art will appear on merchandise available for purchase, including shirts, buttons, a magnet set, a glass set, and a D-Tech iPhone case. Joining Shag at the event will be Dana and Melanie Harvey, who will be unveiling their “seatbelt collection” featuring “A Wretched Hive,” including a tote, hip pack and billfold. The artists will appear from 3 to 5 p.m. Merchandise will be available starting at 8 a.m. with a limit of five items. After your purchase, you’ll receive a voucher that gets you a place in line for the signing. Each guest is limited to two items to be signed by each artist, with no personal items permitted.
* More info on the event and merchandise
* The Atomic Grog on Shag: Modernism Week party | Shag the Store party
Artist of the week | Artist of the year | Shag at The Hukilau | Shag the Store
Don’t miss: Shag will be a guest of honor June 8-12 at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale, hosting the sold-out Shag’s Skylounge and presenting the symposium “I Learned My ABC’s in Waikiki” about growing up in Hawaii (tickets just $25). He’ll also be participating in signings and providing special event artwork. [Latest Atomic Grog coverage]

Dick Dale
Legendary guitarist Dick Dale performs live on his 2013 tour at Grand Central in Miami on April 25, 2013. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Still going strong after more than 60 years in the music business, surf guitar king Dick Dale hits the road again after celebrating his 79th birthday on May 4. His May tour includes dates in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. Stops in the Sunshine State are May 19 at Lou’s Blues in Indialantic and May 20 at Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale. Dale, known for such iconic instrumental surf-rock anthems as Miserlou, is scheduled to play special events throughout his home state of California all summer. He then heads out on an extensive tour in August, playing 19 shows in 29 days across 14 states: Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maryland. Then it’s back to California for more special concerts in the fall and winter. That’s a full schedule at any age, but Dale continues to defy the laws of nature, especially considering his recent battles with cancer and other health issues.
* Tour dates on
* Bodhisattva of the surf guitar: A conversation with Dick Dale (Weekly Alibi)
* On the Atomic Grog: Band/music of the Week (April 2015)
Exculsive Dick Dale interview: ‘I had both feet in the grave’
Live photos: April 2013 | April 2012 | June 2011

RUM NEWS: Koloa, Plantation and Don Q dominate awards at eighth annual Miami festival

Hawaii’s Koloa Rum won a festival-best nine awards at the eighth annual Miami Rum Renaissance Festival on April 15 at the DoubleTree Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center. The RumXP panel cited the new Koloa Coffee as Best in Class in the flavored rum category. The brand won five Gold medals and three Consumer Rum Jury awards.

Don Q reps serve up rum and cocktail samples at Miami Rum Festival on Sunday, April 17. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
Don Q reps serve up rum and cocktail samples at Miami Rum Festival on Sunday, April 17. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Plantation and Puerto Rico’s Don Q each won eight awards, including a festival-best seven RumXP medals. It was the third year in a row that Plantation, the boutique rum label owned by French spirits giant Cognac Ferrand, took home eight awards for its acclaimed Caribbean rums. Plantation had one Best in Class winner (Plantation 20th Anniversary, a premium aged rum), while all the Don Q awards were gold medals.

Two upstart American distilleries made an impression with two Best in Class awards from the experts: Bayou (Louisiana) won for its silver and Select aged rums, while Siesta Key (Florida) earned top honors for its gold and spiced rums. Siesta Key also won the Best in Class award from the Consumer Rum Jury for its Toasted Coconut rum. Also winning two Best in Class awards was the venerable Pusser’s for its Gunpowder Proof and 15-year-old Navy rums sourced from across the Caribbean.

Mezan won four awards for its all-natural Caribbean rums, including Best in Class vintage aged rum for Jamaica 2000. A half-dozen brands walked away with three awards each: Blue Chair Bay (Florida), Cartavio (Peru), Duran (Panama), Fwyago (Florida), Panama Pacific (Panama), and Puerto Angel (Mexico). Look for more coverage coming soon of the entire weekend of tastings and seminars at the April 15-17 festival.
Full Atomic Grog coverage: See all of the awards, photos, more

Bryan Davis, creator of Santeria Rum, enjoys cocktails in The Molokai bar at The Mai-Kai with Marie King from Tonga Hut in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 12, during a Miami Rum Festival party. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
Bryan Davis, creator of Santeria Rum, enjoys cocktails in The Molokai bar at The Mai-Kai with Marie King from Tonga Hut in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 12, during a Miami Rum Festival party. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

On April 12, dozens of Miami Rum Festival judges, VIPs and locals flocked to The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale to kick off a long week of “rum is fun” get-togethers. For the members of RumXP panel, it was a chance to unwind after the first day of blind tastings. For most in attendance, it was an opportunity to reconnect with friends from across the globe.

Many arrived by bus from the Doubletree, mingling in The Molokai lounge before and after dinner. Festival organizers Robert A., Robin, and Robert V. Burr were gregarious dinner hosts, while The Mai-Kai’s owner, Dave Levy, and marketing director, Pia Dahlquist, greeted arrivals in the bar.

The event was sponsored by the new Rational Spirits distillery, who picked up the tab for the guests to attend the dinner show and also provided complimentary Santeria Rum cocktails. Santeria is an exciting new rum created in association with the revolutionary Lost Spirits Distillery in California. Named for the mysterious Caribbean religion, Santeria is a “dunder pit style” Jamaican rum that clocks in at 92 proof and contains all the hallmarks of a funky pot still rum from the Caribbean island. What’s unusual is the rum is actually created in a matter of days, not years, by Bryan Davis of Lost Spirits using a high-tech system that accelerates the aging process. Is it voodoo? You’ll have to taste it to believe it.
Full Atomic Grog coverage: The Mai-Kai pre-party and Santeria Rum cocktail recipe

TIKI BAR NEWS: Wauwatiki opens, Naked Tiki closes, The Wreck Bar expands, The Golden Tiki serves up new mugs

Wauwatiki Bar & Grill
One of the communal bowls at Wauwatiki Bar & Grill near Milwaukee. (From

Delayed nearly a year, Wauwatiki Bar & Grill finally opened (minus the grill) on April 4 in Wauwatosa, just west of Milwaukee. Issues installing plumbing and a kitchen in the former office building derailed the plan to open last June, according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The kitchen is set to open in the coming weeks, along with 70 outdoor seats to supplement the 99 inside. The extensive Tiki cocktail menu was created by Kendall Lockwood from Ball & Biscuit in Indianapolis, the Journal Sentinel story said. It includes classics (Vic’s Mai Tai, Pina Colada, Singapore Sling, etc.) and original creations (Wauwatiki Sour, Caribbean Caffeine, Island Smoke, et al.) priced from $8 to $15 and served in a variety of custom mugs and special vessels, such as a cored pineapple. Most impressive are the five different communal bowls, from the $35 Scorpion Bowl that serves up to four, to the $225 Shiver Me Timbers that serves up to 10. The OnMilwaukee website offered a sneak preview with photos showing many of the elaborately garnished cocktails and a tropical-themed, though spartan, interior. Until the kitchen opens, Wauwatiki is open daily from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m.
* Official website | Facebook | Tiki Central discussion

The Bamboo Lounge was one of several themed areas of the defunct Naked Tiki in the Stiles Hotel on South Beach. Was the concept too big for its own good? (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
The Bamboo Lounge was one of several themed areas of the defunct Naked Tiki in the Stiles Hotel on South Beach. Was the concept too big for its own good? (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Celebrity chef Ralph Pagano’s ambitious Naked Tiki restaurant and bar in Miami Beach closed suddenly and without notice in early April, just two months after opening to much fanfare in the historic Stiles Hotel on Collins Avenue. While the restaurant remains listed on the hotel’s website, visitors arriving during the Miami Rum Festival in mid-April were greeted by a deserted venue with all the decor packed up in boxes. They were told that a Latin concept is slated to replace the Tiki bar and restaurant, though it’s possible the tropical-themed pool bar may remain. The restaurant website and Facebook page have not been updated, and Pagano has issued no statement regarding the latest of his “Naked” concepts, which also includes the more successful Naked Taco and Naked Lunch. While Pagano’s food at Naked Tiki was outstanding, the sprawling layout of the hotel and disjointed bar and dining areas may have worked to his detriment. This left many tables to fill in a competitive restaurant scene unaccustomed to retro-themed Polynesian-style cooking. The most successful new Tiki bars and restaurants opening across the country over the past several years have typically been tucked into compact spaces with overhead kept to a minimum. Even in trendy South Beach, this is an economic fact of life that should not be ignored.

Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid shows off the new porthole windows in the expanded area of The Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort on Fort Lauderdale Beach. (Facebook photo)
Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid shows off the new porthole windows in the expanded area of The Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort on Fort Lauderdale Beach. (Facebook photo)

Renovations are under way at The Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort on Fort Lauderdale Beach, including the restoration of two original portholes offering views of the underwater performances by Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid and her pod of aquaticats in the hotel’s pool. Though it was originally reported that the bar would remain open, it’s scheduled to remain closed until the end of May for the construction work that will result in an expanded bar along with the newly revealed windows, which were sealed off decades ago when the area was turned into a prep room. “Stoked to have our additional porthole windows open again to the public,” Marina wrote on Facebook. “Stay tuned as our Wreck Bar lounge area continues to nautically evolve, with wood features added to the walls, and more to complement the main bar.” While the work also forced the cancellation of the mermaid shows, the hotel is offering photo ops with Marina and her crew at the beach pool on Fridays and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m.
Updates: B Ocean Resort | The Wreck Bar on Facebook
Marina on Twitter and Facebook
Don’t miss: Catch Marina and her mermaid friends as they perform three special swimshows in the pool at The Wreck Bar during The Hukilau in June. The June 8 and June 11 shows are sold out, but $15 tickets remain for the 2 p.m. Savage Jungle show on June 9. The regular Friday and Saturday shows at 6:30 p.m. are free and open to the public.

The Golden Tiki Bone White Mascot Mug
The Golden Tiki Bone White Mascot Mug

On April 13, The Golden Tiki in Las Vegas released its first-edition Golden Tiki Bone White Mascot Mug, designed by Doug Horne and sculpted by Tiki Diablo. Limited to a run of 150, the mugs sold out in 10 days.

***** Links of the week*****
* No Bones Beach Club: A vegan Tiki bar with a cause (The Seattle Times)
* Miami’s top mixologists share off-menu cocktails and the best beach drink (Ocean Drive)
* Don the Beachcomber on Maui (The Hula Girls blog)
* It’s time you add the Boo Loo to your drink-making repertoire (Uproxx)
* How to make falernum, the classic Tiki staple (Tales of the Cocktail)
* Best in Class – The World Rum Awards (The Fat Rum Pirate)
* Innswood: The Jamaican rum distillery that time forgot (Cocktail Wonk)
* DDL launches $500,000 50-year-old rum (Kaieteur News)
* House of Angostura repackages international rums (The Floating Rum Shack)
* Rum 101: City Nomads’ guide to drinking rum (City Nomads)
* Top 7 reasons why you should drink more rum (PPcorn)

Paul Roe

A native of England, Paul Roe has been a working tattoo artist for the past 14 years while becoming a noted historian on both ancient and modern tattooing. The longtime owner of Britishink Tattoos in Washington, D.C., is a regular at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale, where he has presented symposiums on such topics as “Hunting the Urban Primitive” and “Mark of the Beast – Animal Spirits Tattooed.” In 2012, he even did a live “tatau” on The Hukilau’s Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White during his “Mark of Civilization”‘ symposium (see photo). With a degree in fashion design, Roe spent 10 years in graphic design and illustration before pursuing his passion for tattooing. He’s proficient in many different tattoo styles and much in demand for his custom, one-of-a-kind tattoos. He has a particular interest in traditional Japanese and Polynesian designs. In June, Roe will be moving his operations to Syracuse, N.Y., where a new studio is being built in a historic building near downtown. To mark the 60th anniversary of The Mai-Kai and the 15th anniversary of The Hukilau, Paul has designed a limited edition set of flash designs that will be available for purchase as artwork (and as tattoos) to attendees of The Hukilau on June 8-12 at Kreepy Tiki Tattoos in Fort Lauderdale.
* Find Paul: | Facebook | Britishink Tattoos | Flickr
* See past artists of the week

Don’t miss: Paul will present his fifth symposium at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, June 10, at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are available now for $20 for “Innocence Lost, Paradise Found – The Evolution of ‘Old School’ American Tattooing.” Sponsored by Sailor Jerry, the symposium includes a free rum cocktail.
* Facebook event

Voodoo Organist

Voodoo Organist

On his ninth album, Organ Voodoo, Scott Wexton goes full-on exotica with 12 loungy songs that put you in another time and place, doing justice to his shared birthday with Martin Denny. Since transforming himself into Voodoo Organist in 2001, the former punk/noise musician has dabbled in exotica as part of a rich musical stew that includes jazz, blues, goth, industrial and rock. The self-described “house band in Satan’s Tiki Lounge” settles in with a much more mellow, space-age vibe on such tunes as Mojave Midnight Moonlight and Rattlesnake Rhumba. The organ is supplemented by a bevy of exotic instruments, most notably bongos and other percussion such as maracas. You’ll hear the requisite vibraphone and even some theremin mixed in for good measure, creating an otherworldly vibe. Released in July on Dionysus Records, the album also includes such gems as the catchy, surf-inspired Bombay Beach Bondage Boogaloo, and a subversive tribute to Denny’s classic Quiet Village called Violent Pillage. A former church organist in his youth in Detroit, Wexton was seduced by the dark side of rock ‘n’ roll and ended up playing with legendary noise band Today Is the Day. A near-death experience led him to become the Voodoo Organist and set up shop in the Mojave Desert, where he seems to have drifted back toward another heavenly sound: Tiki nirvana.
* Official website | Facebook page | Reverb Nation page
* Buy Organ Voodoo: Dionysus Records | Amazon
* Buy past Voodoo Organist releases: Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby
* All past bands/music of the week

Don’t miss: Voodoo Organist will be performing at Tiki Caliente in Palm Springs on Friday, May 13, at 5:45 p.m. See full preview above.

 The Emeryville location features Tiki decor from closed Trader Vic's restaurants around the world. (From
The Emeryville location features Tiki decor from closed Trader Vic’s restaurants around the world. (From

Trader Vic’s, Emeryville

The flagship location of the venerable Polynesian restaurant chain founded by Trader Vic Bergeron in 1937 has been in its waterfront location overlooking San Francisco Bay since 1972. It underwent extensive renovations in 2010, resulting in a more Tiki-centric design that highlights the carvings and decor inherited from defunct Trader Vic’s restaurants around the world. While the Emeryville restaurant is still owned by the Bergeron family, the remainder of the 20 locations are franchises, and all but Atlanta are outside the U.S. But in the San Francisco Bay area, Trader Vic’s is a local treasure. After 44 years, it has long surpassed the 35 years of the original Vic’s in Oakland. Guests enjoy fine dining in a South Seas setting, exploring a fusion menu that offers tastes from around the globe and meats cooked in the traditional Chinese wood-fired ovens. Of course, there’s the iconic Mai Tai, invented by Trader Vic and beloved as perhaps the most iconic Tiki cocktail. He created hundreds of other drinks, and many are still featured on the Emeryville menu, including the Samoan Fog Cutter, Scorpion, Navy Grog, and Tortuga. While the focus is mainly on dining, you can find plenty of happy hour times, including 4 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. There are also multiple special event spaces, which makes the sprawling restaurant a favorite spot for private parties. That popularity, unfortunately, has led to an ongoing dispute with neighboring condos over noise that could threaten the restaurant’s bottom line.
* Trader Vic’s Emeryville: Official site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
* More Trader Vic’s: Shop for merchandise | Corporate site
* Critiki profile | Tiki Central discussion
* Related bars of the week: Trader Vic’s, Atlanta | Trader Vic’s, New York City
* See past bars of the week

Scott French

Scott French is an über-enthusiast who has been blogging about rum and cocktails since 2008 as The Rum Trader. He shares his enthusiasm with a constant flow of news, reviews and inside info on his website while attending some of the top rum and Tiki events across the country. The Columbia, S.C., resident recently served as a guest RumXP judge at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, and you’ll find extensive coverage on his blog and an array of social media platforms. He also enjoyed the Midwest Rum Festival in Chicago and plans to attend The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale in June. A collector who has amassed more than 300 different rums, French lives the lifestyle he writes about. When he’s not writing about rum, he hosts tastings and visits distilleries to expand and better share his knowledge.
* | Facebook page | Twitter | Instagram | Pintrest
* Interview with Scott French by The Rum Lab
* See past websites of the week

Clément V.S.O.P.

One of the many superior aged rhums from Martinique’s venerable Clément, V.S.O.P. Rhum Agricole Vieux is perhaps most well-known as the crucial flavor in a classic Trader Vic’s Mai Tai. This distinctive rhum (the French term for rum) is bold and complex with strong oak overtones plus a smoky nuttiness. According to the official website, it’s aged a minimum of four years in virgin Limousin barriques and re-charred Bourbon casks. What makes agricole rhums from Martinique special? The strict standards handed down from France, plus the unique base of sugarcane juice instead of molasses. If you’re ever in Martinique, you can learn more by visiting the Habitation Clément estate and checking out the museum, ancient Créole house, art galleries, aging cellars and a new tasting room.
* Related Rum of the Week: Clément Select Barrel
* Official sites: | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
* Clément V.S.O.P. in a classic Mai Tai (5 Minutes of Rum podcast)
* See all past rums of the week

Don’t miss: Rhum Clément is one of the rum sponsors at The Hukilau, the annual Tiki weekender in Fort Lauderdale on June 10-14. Enjoy tastings, special cocktails and more. See more coverage above and click here for tickets.

Broken Storm featuring Clément VSOP. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, July 2014)
Broken Storm featuring Clément VSOP. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, July 2014)

(By Steve Yamada, Ace Hotel, New Orleans)

* 1.5 ounce Clément V.S.O.P.
* 1/2 ounce Fernet Branca
* 1 ounce fresh lime juice
* 3/4 ounce simple syrup
Shake all ingredients and double strain into a cocktail coupe. Top with a passion fruit foam and some finely grated dark chocolate.

* Note: Passion fruit foam is made with 1 cup passion fruit puree, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup simple syrup, 1/4 cup water, and 3-4 egg whites (depending on size). Put all ingredients into an iSi canister and double charge. Allow to sit for at least an hour.

A creative craft cocktail from the former Latitude 29 co-manager that flirts with Tiki and also makes an excellent dessert drink. Featuring great balance and unique flavors that pop and don’t overwhelm each other. Don’t skip the foam (a great excuse to experiment with an iSI canister) or the chocolate. The rich and sweet flavors temper the pungent rhum and bitter Fernet Branca. Instead of a plain simple syrup, I used the rich Petite Canne syrup from Martinique as a great finishing touch.

Yamada created this recipe when he worked at Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans. He shared it with The Atomic Grog in 2014 after appearing with Jeff “Beachbum” Berry at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale to preview Berry’s acclaimed Tiki bar that opened that fall in New Orleans. He returned in 2015 to participate in the Tiki Tower Takeover with Berry and some of the country’s top Tiki barmen in the 15th floor rotating lounge at Pier 66. This April, Yamada moved on to other opportunities in New Orleans (first to 12 Mile, then the Ace Hotel). In June, Berry and Latitude 29 will return to The Hukilau to participate in the second Tiki Tower Takeover.
* See all past cocktails of the week

SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming events

The Hukilau 2016 artwork by Shag

***** In Florida *****
* June 8-12 – The Hukilau, Fort Lauderdale. [Atomic Grog coverage]

***** On the Eastern Seaboard *****
* May 13-15 – Wildwood Vintage / Tiki Weekend
* June 23-26 – Ohana: Luau At The Lake at The Tiki Resort, Lake George, N.Y. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* July 20-24 – Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans, La.

Tiki Oasis

***** Across the U.S. *****
* May 12-15 – Tiki Caliente, Palm Springs, Calif. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* July 8-10 – Tiki Kon, Portland, Ore. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* Aug. 5-6 – Hot Rod Hula Hop, Columbus, Ohio.
* Aug. 13Surf Guitar 101 Convention, California.
* Aug. 18-21 – Tiki Oasis, San Diego, Calif. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* Aug. 26-27 – California Rum Fest, San Francisco.
* Sept. 17 – Makahiki: A Night of Tiki, Indianapolis, Ind.

***** Worldwide *****
* May 19-21 – Surf O Rama Festival, Valencia, Spain.
* May 29 – St. Croix Rum Festival
* May 30 – June 2 – International Rum Congress, Madrid, Spain.
* June 16-19 – Surfer Joe Summer Festival, Livorno, Italy.
* Oct. 15-16 – German Rum Festival,, Berlin.
* Oct. 22-23 –
The RumFest: London, United Kingdom.
* Nov. 4-5 – Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival, St. Maarten.

Keep us informed: If you have news or events to report, simply e-mail [email protected] and let us know what’s happening, along with any appropriate links. Feel free to send photos and flyers. You can also send a message via the Facebook page. If you post news or updates on a regular basis, let us know how to follow you (website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

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