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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Bamboo Lounge, Kissimee/Orlando, FL (bar)
Bamboo Lounge, Kissimee/Orlando, FL (bar)
donhonyc
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2004-08-05 09:50 am   Permalink

Name:Bamboo Lounge
Type:bar
Street:4849 W. HWY 192
City:Kissimee/Orlando
State:FL
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:operational

Description:
Tiki Road Trip describes this place as 'ramshackle' which is being kind. This place is downright scary! And the thing is, I didn't even go into the place! Located on one of the main hotel drags in Kissimee/Orlando the Bamboo Lounge is hard to find, at least at night. On this main drag their seems to be two worlds; the world of the newer nicer hotels on one end, and the world of the scary old hotels that probably saw better days in the early years of Disney World on the other. That said, I don't have to tell you where the Bamboo is. When I asked the bartender at the Radisson (where I was staying while visiting Disney World) about the Bamboo Lounge, she immediately laughed and said "that place is a HOLE!". Well I have been to many 'holes' (crappy bars that is) in my day, so I decided to give it a go. What's the big deal, right? Like I said this place is hard to find at night. After going up and down Hwy 192 a few times, we finally found it. A small shack with no sign, and no lights accessible from the highway only by a small dirt road into a small dirt 'parking lot'. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) the place was closed. A handwritten note on the door mentioned something about plumbing problems, and it would be reopening soon. Even if it was open, I don't think my fiance' was willing to go in there, and she's usually not squemish about stuff like that. Hell...it freaked me out a little too! To put it plainly The Bamboo Lounge looks like one of those bars you see on 'Cops' when some toothless white-trash guy or girl staggers out only to be busted for DUI a few minutes later after trying to drive their decaying 1979 Caprice back home, if you know what I'm saying. It also reminded me of a place that would be talked about on 'America's Most Wanted'. I'm not kidding. I can just picture John Walsh saying "...this cold blooded killer is on the loose. Last seen at the Bamboo Lounge in Kisimee, Florida."

The next day we drove by the Bamboo unsuspectingly. It looked totally different in the daylight. At that point you could see an old airplane fuselage and a small airport 'control tower' (which looked more like a lifeguard tower) with a windsock flying above it in the dirt parking lot. So I guess this place actually worked on some sort of South Pacific WWII/Tiki theme.

If anybody out there actually gets to go in this place, I would love to hear about it. I'm sure it may look worse than it really is. But from what I saw, I would say enter at your own risk.





[ This Message was edited by: donhonyc on 2004-08-05 10:27 ]


 
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new2tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 100
From: Orlando, FL
Posted: 2004-08-06 1:44 pm   Permalink

Donhonyc:

Oh, man!! You're being WAY too hard on the Big Bamboo. Yep, it's a complete hole, but the inside (at least when I was last there, in '97) is great. They play almost all Big Band Music, and have a small selection of Specialty drinks. The decor is certainly "eclectic", but is a great mix of artifacts the late owner, Bruce, collected during his travels in WWII, and lots of Disney and other local memorabilia (sp?). It can't really be called a Tiki Bar in any way, IMHO, but it's a welcome "Real" place in a land of Make Believe. Check out their website at
http://www.bigbamboolounge.com/ .

Scott


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donhonyc
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2004-08-06 3:49 pm   Permalink

new2tiki!

I stand corrected my friend! I knew there was a slight chance that this place looked worse than it actually is. Damn! Now I wish the place was open. Thanks for the web site link. Their merch is preaty damn cool. I might actually order one of the t-shirts! The design is great. Cool and understated, not obnoxious like most bar t-shirts are. I can't believe they have a lunchbox for sale. That's high-larious! Wish they had a tiki mug for sale.

When I'm in that area again...whenevver that is. I'll be sure to stop by. It looks WAY friendlier than it seemed that night. ALoha!


 
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new2tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 100
From: Orlando, FL
Posted: 2004-08-07 4:41 pm   Permalink

DHNYC:

No prob, dude. Honestly, if I didn't know any better, and just saw the place, I'd feel like you did....but when I was introduced to it, I was just a "yung'in" and didn't really care what it looked like, just how cheap it was!!! =)

Anyway, we're going to Orlando at the end of the month for Mrs. New2 to go to a class, so I'm planning on checking it out again....I'll report back.

Scott


 
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Lipman
Member

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 1
From: Orlando
Posted: 2004-08-10 11:02 am   Permalink

I have been to the Bamboo on many occasions and the place is great. Yes it is a hole and it is hard to find but it is worth paying a visit to. Last time I was there this huge Samoan took off his boxers and they hung them on the ceiling. I have never seen shorts that big in my life. He had them custom made. The decorations range from tiki, to 40's era WWII collected by Bruce Muir and crap hung on the wall by patrons. It is frequented by local employees from Disney and most of the other local hotels and resorts. It is a great place to go and unwind and to get away from tourists. It has been closed for awhile but just reopened. Haven't been there since the reopening so I don't know if there have been any changes. If you are in the area stop in- definetly worth seeing.

 
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bibliotiki
Member

Joined: May 02, 2004
Posts: 4
From: new york
Posted: 2004-08-15 9:26 pm   Permalink

I go to the Boo whenever I'm in town. It was my hangout when I was an underage Disney CM (employee) so it holds fond memories for me. FYI, back in May I noticed a change--and not for the better. Gone was the great 40s music, replaced by hip-hop. Not cool. However, the drinks are still cheap and oh-so-strong.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11103
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2004-08-16 12:42 am   Permalink

An authentic dive in a town full of 90s fakery, opened by a Pacific War veteran.

I always dug the concept of having the house cocktail, the Big Bamboo, served in glass jars. And I really liked the lonely original Barney West Tiki in the lounge. I wonder if it is still there, it was only 2-3 feet, and not achored in any way...

And I always loved the "dirty" Calypso song The Big Bamboo.


 
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new2tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 100
From: Orlando, FL
Posted: 2004-08-31 7:17 pm   Permalink

Sven Said it best.

If you haven't been there, or haven't checked out the website, Bruce Muir started the place long before the Mouse came to town...and decorated it with his own treasure trove of stuff from around the globe. Sadly, Bruce passed on a few years back, and his will dictated to keep the establishment open for 4 years (for the clientele) and then be sold (for the family). I'd imagine the land is worth a mint....it's a prime corner lot.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Boo this past Friday night---one of the faithful somehow worked it out to buy the place, so it looks as though it will be around for the foreseeable future. They are still working on a hard liquor license, so right now it's just beer and wine, but they're hoping to be serving the Big Bamboo and other fine exotic cocktails again in the next few weeks.

Get past the exterior and check it out the next time you're in O-town.

Scott


 
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Pomaika i
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2003
Posts: 209
From: Orlando, FL
Posted: 2005-04-12 06:03 am   Permalink

The Boo is still closed and is unlikely to reopen. We used to go every single Saturday night and the place was just great. Actually, my fiancee and I went there on our first official date.

I love the Boo and some of the regulars go to a horrible tropical themed piece of crap bar called Coconut Willy's, which the only good thing about it is that it's close to where the Boo was

About once a month, we drive by and into the parking lot to see if any activity is going on (like reconstruction or ANYTHING). If I find out anything, I'll post.


 
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Kahiki-Dude
Member

Joined: May 08, 2005
Posts: 8
From: The Tiki Mountains
Posted: 2005-05-09 04:10 am   Permalink

Man, I miss the "Boo". It looks like it gone forever. I think the 3 hurricanes we had last fall kinda destroyed the place a little, and to rebuild a lounge like that would ruin the charm of the place. I remember ordering "Milwaukees Best" on tap (the only beer they had on draught) and they served it to you on toiletpaper coaster. Great music, great stories and great people...it will be missed!

 
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ikitnrev
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1313
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2005-07-05 4:47 pm   Permalink

More bad news concerning the Bamboo Lounge, according to a July 4th article in the Orlando Sentinel.

Not only did the Bamboo Lounge experience hurricane damage last year, since then vandals have done additional damage to the place. The article quotes one source as saying "At this point, the place is pretty much destroyed and vandalized and gone. So even if it did open back up, it still wouldn't be the same."

Two daughters of the original owner, Bruce Muir, would still like to re-open the lounge, but they are unable to locate their father's widow - a woman Muir married 6 months before he died (in 1999) who happens to be the main heir of the Lounge. Meanwhile, the executor of the will sold the liquor license at a fraction of its value, and - this is hard to believe - cancelled the insurance on the building shortly before hurricane season.

The full article, and a couple of pictures, can be located for a short time by doing a google news search on 'Bamboo Lounge Disney'- it is currently the article that pops up first.

I visited the Bamboo Lounge after the 2003 Hukilau -- it was a welcome and rustic oasis in the middle of Disney commercialism, and I was and still am saddened to see that it is closed.

Vern


 
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Pomaika i
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2003
Posts: 209
From: Orlando, FL
Posted: 2006-01-24 11:56 am   Permalink

More info on the Boo:

http://bigbamboolounge.com/pages/boo_Fire.pdf
http://bigbamboolounge.com/pages/Boo_Fire_Sentinel.pdf


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I dream of tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 494
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2006-02-10 10:17 am   Permalink

That's such a shame. Insult to the existing injury of it closing.

 
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countritiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 23
Posted: 2006-08-13 10:14 pm   Permalink

For a long time I wondered, "where was that way cool bar I went to out near Disney---a long time ago!?" Now I know it was the Bamboo. Someone took me there and I loved it, kind of otherworldly, especially since we are talking about Orlando where 95% of the bars are corporate crap. I went some time in the late 80's. Wish I had made it more.
CT


 
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Kahiki-Dude
Member

Joined: May 08, 2005
Posts: 8
From: The Tiki Mountains
Posted: 2007-05-04 2:36 pm   Permalink

Just got an email for a final BYOB party in the parking lot of "The Boo". What is left will soon be razed by bulldozers and a new gas station will be installed on the sacred ground. We are losing these treasures quickly it seems.

 
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