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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki How fast are we losing tiki?
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How fast are we losing tiki?
pappythesailor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1566
From: Mass.
Posted: 2005-09-09 11:52 am   Permalink

Please forgive a topic this heavy coming from such a newcomer but this has been weighing on my mind. How fast are we losing tiki bars & restaurants? Tiki Road Trip was published only three years ago and I already can't find an alarming number of tiki joints in MA (where I'm unlucky enough to be from) gone to meet their ancestors. The Aku Aku, Honolulu, Hawaiian Village--history. Just the other day, CHRIS tells us the China Seas in RI is remodeled (read: gutted) right in the middle of this tiki revival of ours.

Remember the swing music revival a few years back? I thought it was to good to be true then and it was. Today pop music is worse than ever but for a brief moment, you could hear music that employed musicians on the radio before that whole thing busted. (Plus, did anyone like Big Bad VooDoo Daddy's second album?) Is this the same thing? Does this tiki revival have legs?

I'm those TCers living in Calitikifornia and Florida, the heart of the empire, are more insulated than we are out in the provinces when a tiki site falls.

So here are the questions that actually haunted my dreams last night:

How fast are we losing tiki? (Humuhumu?)
Am I just fretting about an obvious, irreversible course of events?
Is this all my fault for picking the Mandarin over the Polynesian restaurant all those times in the 90's?
Should I just stop worrying, buy a ticket to the Hukilau and enjoy it while it lasts?
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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-09-09 12:59 pm   Permalink

It's true that we're continuing to lose tiki places, but they're also opening at a faster rate now than they were just a few years ago. Nothing lasts forever, and these new tiki places will someday be gone, too. That's why it's important to support your local tiki! If one isn't out patronizing the establishments near you on a regular basis, then one can't be surprised when they close.

New England tiki has a bit of a different flavor than tiki around the rest of the country. Many of the locations opened up a little later, and bigbrotiki has cited the decor used in them as a sort of beginning-of-the-end -- prefab, lower-quality tiki out of the later Orchids of Hawaii catalog. Just as they were a bit behind the curve when they opened, perhaps they are also a bit behind the curve in their closing.

Some of the recent closures (and rumored ones) have indeed been alarming -- the Honolulu in Alexandria and the Chicago Trader Vic's leap to mind. And of course it's sad to see any older restaurant go. But then there are also older restaurants that have seen recent rejuvenations in their bottom line: the Mai Kai, Atlanta Trader Vic's, the Alibi.

So to summarize -- yes, we are losing tiki, but I think the rate at which we're losing it has been stabilized, for now. It's definitely better than in the early to mid '90s. And the new tiki places are getting better and better.

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JimTandem
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 02, 2005
Posts: 102
From: Ontario, Ca.
Posted: 2005-09-09 1:05 pm   Permalink

Hey Pappy
I'm a relative newcomer also but thats a good thing. It means that new folks are getting into it because its fun and makes them happy. It does for me. Just coming to this site and reading a few posts puts me in a better mood.

I can't answer you about how fast tiki places are coming or going. But I think you should go with your last answer and just enjoy it.

Some things come on like gangbusters and get so popular so fast they flame out too quickly. I guess I like that tiki is just kind of cruising along under the radar so to speak. There seems to be a healthy fanbase and that will always keep it alive.

To me its more fun that its not everywhere I look, so that when I do run across it, it has more impact. "Hey look! There's a tiki!"....stuff like that.





 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2025
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2005-09-09 4:23 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-09-09 11:52, pappythesailor wrote:
Should I just stop worrying, buy a ticket to the Hukilau and enjoy it while it lasts?



YES.


 
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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3187
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2005-09-09 4:34 pm   Permalink

No matter how fast (or slow ) we are losing tiki bars, it is still way too fast!!!
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2025
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2005-09-09 4:35 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-09-09 11:52, pappythesailor wrote:
How fast are we losing tiki?
Am I just fretting about an obvious, irreversible course of events?



Yes, but we ALl are!

I think the rate of Tiki loss is steady and inexorable, not stable.

As you point out, the number of key Tiki power spots lost just since the last pages of Tiki Road Trip were typed in December of 2002 is alarming.

The current Tiki revival is doing NOTHING to encourage places that might have gone out of business in recent years to remain open. Many of them have closed not beause of a lack of business or a lack of enthusiasm from the Tiki revivalists, but because of retirement, or insurmountable building repair costs, or development to the area forcing smaller, older businesses out.

Witness all of the major places we have lost in, say the past five years, such as Kahiki, Kona Kai (Chicago), as well as smaller beloved places like your local spot in Alexandria, and it all points to one thing: sooner or later, it'll ALL be gone.

The Tiki community has never successfully saved a place that was on the way out. Ever. There aren't enough of us in any one city - even LA - to make a difference.

In fact, many of the new Tiki bars (Rock A Tiki, Taboo Cove etc) aren't making it to the 2-year mark either.

So get out there and enjoy them while you can. Your patronage or lack thereof won't make a bit of difference to whether places like Trader Vic's in Chicago survives, but at least you'll enjoy yourself and soak in the good times and memories while you can.




 
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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3187
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2005-09-09 4:44 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-09-09 16:35, tikibars wrote:
Quote:

On 2005-09-09 11:52, pappythesailor wrote:
How fast are we losing tiki?
Am I just fretting about an obvious, irreversible course of events?



Yes, but we All are!

I think the rate of Tiki loss is steady and inexorable, not stable.
So get out there and enjoy them while you can. Your patronage or lack thereof won't make a bit of difference to whether places like Trader Vic's in Chicago survives, but at least you'll enjoy yourself and soak in the good times and memories while you can.





Well put. Folks, if you have a favorite business -ANY favorite business-PATRONIZE IT!!! It is so easy to forget about your local places. Especially the older ones that seem like they will be around forever. Sometimes you go only to find out that it closed three weeks ago. Don't ever assume that something will last forever. Maybe the business does good to great financially, then something happens like a kitchen fire or the city wants to add a highway off ramp and must bulldoze your fave joint. Like James said, there ar so many reasons why a business closes shop.
_________________
I'm the most thirstiesterest of all!
TRADER VIC'S, Vintage, Vegas & more on EBAY 1957SPUTNIK
http://shop.ebay.com/1957sputnik/m.html
If you like it, it is ZAZZ! If you don't it is RAZZ!


 
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freddiefreelance
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 15, 2003
Posts: 3006
From: San Diego, Ca.
Posted: 2005-09-09 7:24 pm   Permalink

Always Support Your Local! This goes for more than Tiki, but for anything you like. I always support Stone Brewing, Oggi's, Pizza Port, AleSmith, Karl Strauss, etc. when it comes to beer. I buy wine from Escondido & Temecula, I shop at Farmers Markets when I can, I buy computer parts from shops on Kearney Mesa...
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Fez Ape
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2005
Posts: 104
Posted: 2005-09-09 8:41 pm   Permalink

[quote]
On 2005-09-09 16:35, tikibars wrote:
Quote:


I think the rate of Tiki loss is steady and inexorable, not stable.

The current Tiki revival is doing NOTHING to encourage places that might have gone out of business in recent years to remain open. Many of them have closed not beause of a lack of business or a lack of enthusiasm from the Tiki revivalists, but because of retirement, or insurmountable building repair costs, or development to the area forcing smaller, older businesses out.

So get out there and enjoy them while you can. Your patronage or lack thereof won't make a bit of difference to whether places like Trader Vic's in Chicago survives, but at least you'll enjoy yourself and soak in the good times and memories while you can.



Well said.


 
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Geeky Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 533
From: Las vegas
Posted: 2005-09-09 9:18 pm   Permalink

Oh, man, my cynical gene turned on.

Tiki will live on so long as the/us Tiki Insiders never control the actual movement.

Tiki should be an amusement, a diversion, a lark.

It was created thus and was then usurped by people who walk around using the words ohana and moai and acting superior if someone doesn't get the reference.

Tiki was NEVER a raison d'etre, non?

Tiki is part of a greater society, not a refuge from it.

Original, authentic Tiki didn't give a shit if a mug was made in 1959 or 2005 - by Trader Vic or Munktiki.

It NEVER saw an argument over whether someone had Tiki credentials, it didn't bother to act offended by the Jimmy Buffet of its day, and allowed August Holland to bask in uncommented upon obscurity at Sear's.

The only thing that can kill Tiki is if we are allowed to become the arbiters of Tiki.

Tiki was/is an amusing affectation, not an avocation with a rigid soundtrack or dress code.

If you wanted Tiki to go away for ever, just insist that everyone take it as seriously as we do.

____________________________________
____________________________________

Yikes, apologies. I was having a Tiki conversation with an acquaintance and she was kvetching how a certain Tiki bar had been full of "Twenty somethings in Gap jeans and Old Navy Aloha shirts" and what a "tragedy it was for true Tiki"...and I snapped. Our Tiki forebears bought Aloha shirts at Liberty House and wore khakis and penny loafers...who the fuck am I/are we to pick nits? Why shouldn't Tiki be at Target?

Long live Tiki at Party Central stores and in the Penny's catalog!

"Tiki For Any And All" is the answer, not Tiki only for those who qualify. We must be protean, not fixed or rigid.

Apologies again, I'll now go put my Tiki qualification stick back up my butt.


WAITER! More....!!!!!!!!



 
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stentiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 892
From: Huntington Beach
Posted: 2005-09-09 11:07 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-09-09 16:35, tikibars wrote:

So get out there and enjoy them while you can. Your patronage or lack thereof won't make a bit of difference to whether places like Trader Vic's in Chicago survives, but at least you'll enjoy yourself and soak in the good times and memories while you can.



Amen.

Hey Pappy, it's nice to see someone in MA that actually gives a damn! In my humble opinion, you have one of the best tiki establishments in the country -- Kowloon. Each year, I travel to MA twice a year and make my pilgimage to Kowloon. And each year since 2002, I put the call out to anyone on the board to meet me for drinks there. Each year there are no takers. It's hard to believe that a state that has Kowloon, the Bali Hai, Tahiti and other tiki establishments did not have anyone who was active on this forum until recently. Or maybe drinks with a lonely business traveler like me is just not that appealing?!

The good news is that you also have the fairly new Tiki Room (neo-tiki bar) near Fenway. And while the Tiki Room still needs work (better drinks, music, etc.), I've always thought it had potential and I try to make it there when I'm staying in the city.

Anyhoo, I'm grounded for this year so my first point is moot, but as JT said, get out there and enjoy it while you can. Like everything else, this most certainly won't last forever but that's beyond our control. So have fun now, go to Hukilau, and meet some new and interesting people who love tiki as much as you do!



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Arty



"It's times like these you learn to live again" - Foo Fighters

[ This Message was edited by: stentiki 2005-09-09 23:10 ]


 
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pappythesailor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1566
From: Mass.
Posted: 2005-09-10 03:02 am   Permalink

Thanks, Stentiki. Thanks, everybody.

There is one thing I was thinking. Maybe we should bring a copy of TRT to every tiki joint we visit. Get it signed by the owner or manager. Let them know we came for the tiki. Let 'em know it's a GOOD thing, not something to be ashamed of.


 
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procinema29
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 31, 2003
Posts: 474
From: los angeles
Posted: 2005-09-10 05:39 am   Permalink

Great thinking from everyone. I was always a big fan of the saying "advertising works"...I think everyone should wear some shirts with tikis on them, and put the statues out by the road so that all can see. Let everyone feel the cultural impetus; teach by example! Show the world your tiki! Well, maybe I should rephrase that last bit.

 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5276
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2005-09-10 2:24 pm   Permalink

It's all still a business, and if the food sucks or the drinks are awful or whatever is making it lose money, it'll close. It's the locals that will make or break a place. Us tiki tourists don't make a dent in their bottom line probably.

Home tiki bars outnumber real tiki bars I bet. Mine has been losing money for years, but I keep it open for friends and locals, like myself and my fiance...

I was in the Omni Hut yesterday and they are still there after 40 years with no liquor! Great food and great service. In a small town that's too far for most Nashvillians to come to.


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2987
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2005-09-10 2:53 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-09-09 21:18, Geeky Tiki wrote:

Tiki is part of a greater society, not a refuge from it.



I disagree. It was, and is, a refuge from it. Most people could live their lives and never get affected by it, unless they went to a tiki bar or restaurant or luau, or traveled to Hawaii or other Pacific Islands. I grew up in San Diego and lived there until 1988 and never once visited a tiki bar or restaurant, and there were many in SD. Perhaps in the peak in the late 50s to mid 60s, one could stumble upon it, but not in the 80s through today.

Quote:


If you wanted Tiki to go away for ever, just insist that everyone take it as seriously as we do.




I don't think anyone is insisting that, and I also don't think taking it seriously is detrimental.

I take the loss of history (especially recent 20th. century history) very seriously because the pace of change seems to be accelerating, the aesthetic of most new places doesn't appeal to me, and many people don't appreciate what they have until its gone (so others have to do something for preservation now).

I agree with what tikibars said, that they probably all will close eventually, so we should spend our money in them as often as possible. They are businesses and are only in it to make money, and as we learned from the Kahiki nothing can save tiki from the wrecking ball except customers (and I don't mean after they already plan on closing).

Mug collections, exotica record collections, tiki events, home bars, etc. are all fine, but the day there are no more good tiki bars to escape to is the day tiki dies for me.


 
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