Tiki culture is experiencing a revival fueled by renewed interest in craft cocktails and, of course, nostalgia. After sailing the South Pacific, Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt changed his name to Donn Beach in 1933 and opened Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood, California, America’s first Polynesian-themed restaurant and bar. Victor Bergeron followed with his Trader Vic’s chain, and by the 1960s Polynesian culture was raging across the country. What Tiki bars had in common was exotically presented Chinese food, a large selection of frozen drinks, and a laid-back tropical atmosphere under a thatched roof.
Locally, Harold’s Place offers a casual, sprawling, poolside Tiki retreat. While the food is classic sports bar (think nachos and burgers), the drink menu is heavy on frozen cocktails. Marco Island’s Dolphin Tiki Bar offers sushi along with pub food, and the blenders turn out a steady stream of Mai Tais, margaritas, and daiquiris. At Kane, a Balinese-inspired beachfront grill and tiki bar in the JW Marriott on Marco Island, there’s even a Pupu Platter in the Trader Vic’s tradition. The rum menu lists more than 60 spirits from around the world, organized into tasting flights.