Seattle did not avoid the Tiki craze that swept the nation in the 1950's. It's been surmised that G.I.'s, returning from South Pacific after World War II, brought an affection for the islands back with them, and Tiki Fever caught on with the nation.
Seattle, being located on the Pacific Rim, has always had a special tie to the islands of Hawaii and the South Pacific. Where folks on the East Coast often vacation in the Bahamas and other Atlantic destinations, Hawaii is a popular destination for many people living on the West Coast. The absorption of Hawaii into the United States in 1959 represents the apex of the cult of tiki; when investment capital began developing Hawaii as a tourist destination, some of it boomeranged back to the mainland. Tiki may represent the first stirrings of the notion of the Pacific Rim
Seattle had many Tiki and Polynesian themed businesses over the years, and leading the pack was Trader Vic's, located on the first floor of the Westin Hotel.
Trader Vic's was probably the most famous Tiki restaurant in Seattle and closed in 1989. The good news is another version of it will be opening the Spring of 2006 in Bellevue at Lincoln Square. Of course, it's Bellevue. And it can be nothing but a pale imitation. But as long as it has a Puu-Puu Platter and Mai-Tai's it will still be fun.
There's a long list of long-gone tropical Tiki has-beens in Seattle and around Washington State. Many people remember The Polynesian Restaurant on Pier 51 in Seattle.
The Polynesia cost $500,000 when it was built in 1961. It was situated on Pier 51 in downtown Seattle, overlooking Puget Sound.
It closed twenty years later in 1981, when the government condemned the pier... they wanted more space to expand the ferry terminal at Coleman Dock. The building with three A-frame roofs (minus interior fixtures & furnishings, which had been removed) was put onto a barge and moved to temporary site on the Duwamish River. It was later burned down for practice by the Seattle Fire Department.
5 incredible Home Lounges were on the tour over two days.
We visited Peter's Monkey Skull Voodoo Lounge in North Seattle, Marlow Harris and JoDavid's "Dead Elvis Lounge" on Capitol Hill, Tammy's "Starlight Lounge and Cabana Bar at The Atomic Abode, and Pat and Sandi's "Fantasy Island" in West Seattle
We ended the party at Terence's "Shrunken Head Lounge" in West Seattle.
Tiki torches, lava lamps, native islander masks, cocktails, micro-brews. Sometimes, live music. Once in awhile, a special art event or Polynesian/Tiki Theme party. No food, but you can "dine" down the street at Mama's Mexican Kitchen and eat in the Elvis Room, which also has a slight Mexican/Elvis/Tiki theme.
Happy Hour 3-7 daily. Open 3pm - 2am. 2226 2nd Ave. in Belltown.
Luau Polynesian Lounge 206-633-5828 2253 N 56th St, SeattleGreen Lake, Tangletown
The have frou-frou cocktails. They have food dipped in macedamia nuts. And they have a puu-puu platter.
What more could you want?
Ohana 206-956-9329 2207 1st Ave, SeattleBelltown
Ohana is advertised as a Japanese/Polynesian Grill and Bamboo Sushi Lounge. Could be. "Ohana" means "family" in Hawaiian. Check out Ohana with its surfing paraphernalia, tiki hut bar, colored lights and a little bamboo. Japanese and Hawaiian food is very tasty. Sushi bar. Full bar. Specializing in Hawaiian, Japanese, Polynesian. Music every night with DJ's, Wednesday night is live traditional Island music and on Sunday's is Karaoke.
The Islander 206-344-8088 96 Union St, Seattle Downtown If you need a bamboo fix, this spot will do the trick. Flowered patterned chairs complete the picture. Menu items include sushi, stir fries, noodles and combo plates. They also offer a number of "fast lunch" dishes for you busy downtown types. The really good news? They have access to that wonderful rooftop in front of them for one of the best views in the city. Specializing in Polynesian, Catering, Banquet, Sushi, Outdoor.
In a warm and inviting South Seas atmosphere, The Islander offers a unique dining experience influenced by timeless Asian style.
Bold flavors and cooking techniques enhance the skillfully prepared menu of delicious, modern interpretations of Pan Asian mainstays.
The decor celebrates the carefree feeling of the Pacific Islands and the expansive deck offers a view of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains that is nothing short of spectacular!
More Restaurants and Fine Tiki Drinking Establishments (some more Tiki than others.....) Thanks to www.SeattleDining.com
Kauai Family Restaurant 206-762-3469 6324 6th Ave S, SeattleSouth Seattle This Georgetown spot offers authentic Hawaiian foods in a casual atmosphere. Opened in 1993, it's still going strong and is a family place all the way through. Reality is that Spam is part of the Hawaiian diet, but it seems the same thing as offering Tang. There are so many other good options Specializing in Hawaiian, Polynesian.
Waimea Brewing Company 425-828-0404 111 Central Wy, KirklandKirkland What's spacious, has a thatched-roof bar and a small rock pond/waterfall? Okay, one more clue. It also serves Hawaiian and American food. You've got it! Waimea Brewing Company offers menu items like pork with taro leaves steamed in ti leaves and a Hawaiian favorite of beef on sticky rice with an egg, gravy, mushrooms and grilled onions on top. Too much for the kids? They have their own menu section with quite a few choices. With almost 50 kinds of beer, you can find something to go with every dish. Their banquet room holds approximately 80 folks. Specializing in Hawaiian, Banquet, Kid-Friendly.
Flo 425-453-4005 1188 106th Ave NE, BellevueBellevue Large windows, dark furniture, pale yellow walls and jazz make this a very pleasant place to enjoy a meal. The sushi bar is up front and center along an interesting sand-like wave wall (you'll have to see it yourself) and the dining room is a few steps down past a curved wall. You're in the flow now. Sushi is very fresh and the menu includes lots of rolls and interesting options. The daily special sheet is a very innovative place to be, combining Japanese and Hawaiian culinary treats. Specializing in Japanese, Sushi, Hawaiian
Kona Kitchen and Yuji's Lounge 206-517-5662 8501 5th Ave NE, SeattleMaple Leaf A low-key place with American Colonial-looking wood tables and chairs and lots of kitsch offers some Hawaiian specialties like roasted pork, loco moco breakfast, Hawaiian sweet bread French toast and plate lunches with two scoops of rice and mac salad. They also offer burgers and biscuits and gravy. Yuji's Lounge is their bar and has a very large TV along with the above-bar TV and a corner for music that includes a mini-disco ball hanging from the ceiling. Specializing in Hawaiian.
Tiki Bars and Ultra-Lounges
Mai tais and real gin martinis! Wood paneling, tiki idols and low-slung Dutch Modern furniture! Lounge and exotica music! Swanky ultra-lounges and tiki bars will take you back to Jet City circa 1962, in all its plastic and polyester glory.
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