Trader Vic's has to be the finest Tiki Bar in the UK, and not just because it's perhaps the only one left! It's recognised as one of the world's best, and justifies it's own section.
This is really a small bar tacked onto a Thai restaurant, but it deserves a mention as it has a pretty cool little bamboo bar and serves a 'Tiki God' amongst it's cocktails (Served in one of those cool glass Tiki bowl/mugs). It's not really a full-blown Tiki bar by any stretch of the imagination, but strikes the right note by having blow-fish dangling from the ceiling.
Late afternoon/early evening (4:30-7:00) there is a happy hour where cocktails are a whole lot cheaper.
Located at 28 Frith Street, Soho.
Sheraton Skyline near Heathrow
I learned about this during a brief chat with Josh Collins during the Wild Weekend 2. I was a tad drunk at the time and couldn't remember it's name, but now I've got a Daga mug from it, confirming it's existence. It's the Patio restaurant at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel.
Hardly a Tiki venue, nevertheless, this has Tikis painted on each of the two columns that sit at each side of the stage!
Located near the London Eye ferris wheel, the aquarium is relatively new, and of interest to tiki lovers because of the underwater moai. The moai are found in the most popular tank of all....the shark tank! The moai are scattered around the tank
and look impressively large, and the whole effect is actually rather calming. The gift shop sells rather tacky-looking kitchen towels with the moai on them too, should you wish
to have a tiki kitchen.
The British Museum
I visited recently & it's awesome. Report to come soon! Huge Moai!!
Butlin's Beachcomber Bars
Butlins, for those not raised in the UK, specialise in holiday camps.
These are large complexes, usually by the sea where (usually) working-class Brits take their kids for a well-earned, inexpensive break. They are not to everyone's tastes, as the regime often mirrored that of a POW camp, unintentially or otherwise. I've not been to one myself, but I discovered an ashtray in an antique shop bearing the legend 'Butlin's Beachcomber Bar', accompanied by a rather frightening looking Tiki. Once I get a scanner, I'll share the image! So, it looked like Butlins once had a Tiki bar of sorts in at least one of it's many resorts. A few months later, this possibility was cemented when I found an old Butlins biscuit (Cookie) tin bearing a variety of jolly scenes on it, one being a picture of a very Polynesian-looking bar! So, Butlins DID have some sort of Tiki bar, but was it in just one resort, or all? Butlins
were one of the first to have a Chinese takeaway in the UK (In the late 50's), so to have an exotic bar would not be too much of a sterch of the imagination.
Has anyone ever been to one, or perhaps watched as their parents went in, only to come out later with pineapple juice down their shirts and a big sloppy grin on their faces?
Watch this space as we do more delving into the Butlins Tiki mystery!
Bali Hai at Oakwood Leisure
Somewhere in deepest, darkest Wales (Near Camarthen, actually), there is a theme park with the added Tiki bonus of a Polynesian Club named the Bali Hai! I've not been there myself, so we need more info on the Bali Hai. From the small amount of information that I've got, there is a full Poynesian show, they serve cocktails, and sell Trader Vics style food, so that bodes well! Anyone fancy doing a little research in Wales!?
Shopping for Tiki stuff
Bad news folks. Tiki stuff is really hard to come by in the UK. Tiki mugs are almost impossible
to find, though I've bagged a few carvings from New Zealand while going to charity shops. It all boils
down to what people have brought back from abroad, rather than what they may have 'accumulated'
while in the UK. So, you might just get something from Hawaii if you're lucky, but as a lot more Brits go
to places like New Zealand, it's more likely that you'll find something from there.
Having grabbed a couple of Trader Dutch Tiki mugs at the Urban Outfitters
in San Francisco, I was chuffed when the first one opened in London on Kensington
High Street. Sadly there was a total dearth of anything Tiki there, but perhaps
things have changed since.
One of the few places to buy tiki mugs and other tiki stuff in the UK was Strangely Satisfying
based at Camden Market, London. The bummer is the fact that it's now closed, but Mark Pawson still operates his website 'Disinfotainment', though.
It's well worth checking out for copies of Tiki News, Shag T-shirts, Coop shit, 'zines, his own postal art (Think Kinder eggs & scalpels) and a whole host of great low-brow art stuff.
The Last Chance Saloon is a nifty little shop/art gallery selling a constantly changing array of lowbrow art, punk clothes, fanzines, books and all sorts of other bumf, and it's often possible to find Tiki stuff there. (Unfortunately, they seem to be selling more clothes recently, and running down their other stock....Nobody makes money from 'zines)
Tiki Surf is one of the Uk's oldest surf companies, and have become particularly well-known for their
bodyboards. Sadly they don't seem to use actual Tiki images in their graphics. http://tikisurf.co.uk
Intoxica (231 Portobello Road, London) has now been transformed into a cool Tiki Hut by the 'Exotic Entertainments' gang. It already sold damn good records, but now it's decor is far-out! This is the kind of place where you'll find records you've just heard rumours about, and it's now Tikified!
This tip from Elaine, a Tiki-phile from London
"It's based in a tattoo parlour called Into You in St John Street in Islington, London N1, and sells some Tiki stuff aloing with the more general alternative retro stuff -- Tiki gods, hip-shaking Hula girls for the back of your car, lotsa bowling shirts etc. by Toxico, Satan and suchlike, plenty of Vince Ray and Coop posters, glasses, ashtrays -- along the lines of Last Chance Saloon but a bit of a bigger range of the stuff we want to see"
Three huge Tikis spotted at Chester Zoo! Photo to come??
I'll add more whenever I stumble across anything Tiki!