2017 Tiki Bar Visits

I visited 25 tiki bars in 2017, which is a mix of luck and effort. I was fortunate to visit some new cities, where I was able to visit some great tiki bars. In particular, the tiki bars in San Diego and Portland were highlights. Some bars below I was able to visit several times.

Surprises? Tiki-Ko in Bakersfield is amazing and well worth going out of your way to visit. I had suuuuuper high expectations for False Idol and Hale Pale and in both cases all the expectations were exceeded. Superb places!

The Jungle Bird in Sacramento

The Jungle Bird in Sacramento

  1. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (Orlando)
  2. Trader Vic’s Emeryville
  3. Smuggler’s Cove (SF)
  4. Forbidden Island (Alameda)
  5. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar (Anaheim)
  6. The Jungle Bird (Sacramento)
  7. Longitude (Oakland, RIP)
  8. Kona Club (Oakland)
  9. Pagan Idol (SF)
  10. Hukilau (San Jose)
  11. Cat Eye Club (San Diego)
  12. Bali Hai Restaurant (San Diego)
  13. False Idol (San Diego)
  14. Trad’r Sam (SF)
  15. The Alibi (Portland)
  16. Hale Pele (Portland)
  17. The Shameful Tiki Room (Vancouver, B.C.)
  18. Tiki-Ko (Bakersfield)
  19. Bamboo Hut (SF)
  20. The Royal Hawaiian (Laguna Beach)
  21. Aku Aku (Orlando)
  22. Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room (Santa Cruz)
  23. The Kon-Tiki (Oakland)
  24. The Tonga Room (SF)
  25. Luau Lounge (SF)

Thanks to Julie Crossman who was my partner in crime for most of these visits.

Also thanks to Jim and Richelle for the fun SF Tiki Bar Crawl on the hottest day in San Francisco history. It was too hot but still lots of fun. We visited three bars in one night (Smuggler’s Cove, Bamboo Hut, and Pagan Idol).

Favorite Albums of 2017

It was a weird year music-wise for me. I listened to a total of 2345 songs according to iTunes play counts, which is up a lot from last year. Most of the increase was in the Exotica genre, where I loaded up on releases from past years including Tiki Joe’s Ocean and Tikiyaki Orchestra/Tikiyaki 5-0.

In terms of albums released in 2017, here is my ranking.

1. Voodoo III - Robert Drasnin
Plucked from obscurity in the 1990s when his 1959 exotica album Voodoo was discovered by tikiphiles, Drasnin spent his later years working on two follow-ups. Voodoo III was recorded just before his death and released in a limited edition at Tiki Oasis in 2015. The first “anyone can buy it” release was this year, so we’re counting it as a 2017 release. This is great stuff if you like Exotica, the mostly instrumental mix of jazz and Latin percussion. Voodoo III includes several songs with wordless-vocals. One song features sung lyrics, the appropriately entitled “Aloha.” It’s a great album.

2. Wonderful Wonderful - The Killers
A comeback album featuring one of their best singles, “The Man.” I still like the Killers and saw them live for the first time this year.

3. Number 1 Angel - Charli XCX
I was surprised I liked this “mixtape.” Most songs feature a hip-hop collaborator but I’m still digging Charli’s give-no-fucks attitude. I’m not sure what the genre is called but it is definitely more of a mellower electronica. I like Charli’s more alt/pop leaning material but this will do (I wasn’t a fan of her Pop 2 mixtape released at the end of the year)

4. I Love You Like a Brother - Alex Lahey
Song pop hooks from Australian alternative singer-songwriter Alex Lahey. Her single “Every Day’s the Weekend” was one of the best of the year.

5. Concrete and Gold - Foo Fighters
An OK release from the Foos, with a few songs I thought were really good but mostly were fairly generic. I totally dug the song “Sunday Rain” featuring regular drummer Taylor Hawkins on vocals and guest drummer Paul McCartney (the song does have a Beatles vibe).

6. Songs of Experience - U2
An okay album but nothing special from U2. Nothing overly catchy or memorable but at least I do like listening to it.

7. Witness - Katy Perry
I got this album when I purchased tickets to her concert, so I guess I’ll count it. Follows the more mellow pop trend. I liked the lead single “Chained to the Rhythm” but like most music fans felt this was a step back from the pop hooks we’re used it.

8. Spirit - Depeche Mode
Disappointing release with only one just-okay song “So Much Love.” Otherwise forgettable.

New License Plate

Finally received personalized plates for the Civic I bought last year (the KEVDO plates I’ve had for many years are still on my old car). I wanted to do something to celebrate tiki culture that I’ve had renewed interest in. MAI TAI was already taken, so I chose this one: 44MYTAI.

This is a reference to the 1944 origin of the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, as has been often celebrated. One of the best trends in the past few years is that bars with a craft cocktail or quality-cocktail orientation have been listing the “1944 Mai Tai” on menus to indicate to savvy customers what kind of Mai Tai they’re going to get. Not a “Mai Tai” prepared with grenadine, orange juice, and other “improper” ingredients, but a Mai Tai made the “correct” way according to the Trader Vic’s original formula. So, referencing ‘44 seemed to be a good way to indicate to other tikiphiles that I’m one of them.

Now, let’s hope this doesn’t mean I get pulled over by the Police on a much more frequent basis.

Be the Yammer rock star at your organization with the Yammer Mobile App and device notifications

I had the pleasure of presenting at Microsoft’s Ignite conference a few weeks ago. My Expo Theater presentation was a 20 minute session and I covered how Yammer’s mobile application can be used by community managers, Yammer network admins, power users, group owners, and even folks new to Yammer to be more engaged with their networks.

The session’s presentation deck is available in the Microsoft Tech Community, but the session itself was not recorded. So, I recorded a version of the presentation and uploaded to YouTube.

Tiki Bar Visits - Updated

Here’s the latest from my Critiki profile. I’ve been fortunate this year to visit to some more local tiki places, and filled in some visits from previous years. I also visited tiki bars in Portland and Vancouver on our recent vacation.

tiki-updated

The great thing about Critiki is that you can rate the bars on various categories including drink quality, drink variety, decor, music, and more. Here are my top 10 rated tiki bars, with my personal rating on scale of 10.

  1. Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco) 9.6
  2. Trader Vic’s (Emeryville) 9.5
  3. Hale Pele (Portland) 9.4
  4. Forbidden Island (Alameda) 9.3
  5. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar (Disneyland) 9.3
  6. La Mariana Sailing Club (Honolulu) 8.9
  7. False Idol (San Diego) 8.8
  8. Tiki-Ti (Los Angeles) 8.8
  9. Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room (Santa Cruz) 8.5
  10. Tonga Room (San Francisco) 8.5

New Favorite Mai Tai Recipe

Have been experimenting a lot this year with new Mai Tai recipes and rum blends. Any of the rums I’ve included here would be great on their own, in fact the Appleton+El Dorado combo was what Smuggler’s Cove was using before they recently changed over to the Denizen’s. My blend includes the dark Koloa that I think adds even more flavor.

½ oz Appleton Reserve
½ oz Koloa Dark
½ oz El Dorado 12 year
½ oz Denizen’s Merchant Reserve
¾ oz Orange Curaçao
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Simple Syrup
Juice from 1 lime

Mai Tai

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