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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Ever think of opening a Tiki Bar?
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Ever think of opening a Tiki Bar?
Okolehao
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2006
Posts: 234
From: Monterey, CA
Posted: 2007-07-27 4:25 pm   Permalink

There's a small vacant bar that's part of the old Gray Hound bus station building in downtown Salinas. It's been closed for probably 20 years. The front is made of stacked carmel stone and is set back at an angle to the door with a planter under the eve - a perfect place to put tropical plants and a Tiki. It has that 'it was cool in the early 60's' vibe in a just sleezy enough building (even though that part of town is gentrifying) to be interesting. I don't know if the interior still has fixtures, but everytime I pass there I think what a cool place to make into a Tiki bar. I know the donut shop on the other end of the building only pays $500 a month rent so I'm sure the bar could be leased for a song. I'm half tempted to contact the owner and see what I could negotiate. I think I could reduce my financial risk by starting with a cheaper beer & wine license and make tropical mocktails using sake or soju. That's how one Hawaiian/Tiki restaurant here started. The later got their full liquor license when the place was able to stand on it's feet financially. There's even Chinese food place on the same block that I could get hourdevers from on the fly so I wouldn't even need a kitchen.

One big problem though - I've never ran a bar before.

It's a pie in the sky idea, but I'm interested in other peoples stories if they've tried it.

Or does anyone want the excitement of investing in a cheap, pre-sleezed Tiki Bar?
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Bohemiann
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 29, 2004
Posts: 444
From: Sarasota, Fla.
Posted: 2007-07-27 4:55 pm   Permalink

Dude,

I think about it every day.

If you have never worked in a bar or as a bartender learn how & get a job doing it right now. Even if it's just for a month or two.

Read three books on how to do it. they are out there, just google it.

Get your business plan in order. Books on this to, some have great templates. So again, read!

Avoid Business partners

Research & Read!

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."
~~Aristotle

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[ This Message was edited by: bohemiann 2007-07-27 17:58 ]


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sushiman
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 28, 2007
Posts: 313
From: Kumamoto , Japan
Posted: 2007-07-28 02:45 am   Permalink

Yes ...just the other day ...But I have doubts that it would go over in the hinterland of Kumamoto ( people tend to be insular and close minded ) ...Young people have few places to hang out around here, though , and they'd be the target ( 20-35 ) ...Liquor license relatively easy to obtain in Japan ...

 
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sushiman
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 28, 2007
Posts: 313
From: Kumamoto , Japan
Posted: 2007-07-28 02:46 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-07-27 16:25, Okolehao wrote:
think I could reduce my financial risk by starting with a cheaper beer & wine license and make tropical mocktails using sake or soju.



Soju ? You mean Japanese sho chu ?


 
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MrBaliHai
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 799
Posted: 2007-07-28 05:14 am   Permalink

Quote:

Soju ? You mean Japanese sho chu ?



Soju is a Korean liquor distilled from rice, very similar to Japanese Shochu.

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[ This Message was edited by: MrBaliHai 2007-07-28 05:15 ]

[ This Message was edited by: MrBaliHai 2007-07-28 05:15 ]


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tikiyaki
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2708
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2007-07-28 09:56 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-07-27 16:25, Okolehao wrote:
There's a small vacant bar that's part of the old Gray Hound bus station building in downtown Salinas. It's been closed for probably 20 years. The front is made of stacked carmel stone and is set back at an angle to the door with a planter under the eve - a perfect place to put tropical plants and a Tiki. It has that 'it was cool in the early 60's' vibe in a just sleezy enough building (even though that part of town is gentrifying) to be interesting. I don't know if the interior still has fixtures, but everytime I pass there I think what a cool place to make into a Tiki bar. I know the donut shop on the other end of the building only pays $500 a month rent so I'm sure the bar could be leased for a song. I'm half tempted to contact the owner and see what I could negotiate. I think I could reduce my financial risk by starting with a cheaper beer & wine license and make tropical mocktails using sake or soju. That's how one Hawaiian/Tiki restaurant here started. The later got their full liquor license when the place was able to stand on it's feet financially. There's even Chinese food place on the same block that I could get hourdevers from on the fly so I wouldn't even need a kitchen.

One big problem though - I've never ran a bar before.

It's a pie in the sky idea, but I'm interested in other peoples stories if they've tried it.

Or does anyone want the excitement of investing in a cheap, pre-sleezed Tiki Bar?




OR....something I thought of recently...If there are enough tikiphiles in your area, maybe rent it out as a "Social Club"....or a "Lodge"....I don't know how the Lodge/Social Club system works, but I know there's a dues and membership system. You can deck it out all tiki, and rent it out for private parties, have shows with surf bands etc....

Then the rest of the time use it as a "social club" for Tiki Centralites, and others in your area who want a cool place to hang out, and, I'm not sure how the liquor deal works, but if you're not "Selling" it to the public, you may not need a license, if it's strictly on a Private party basis. You can host Tiki Art shows (or ANY kind of art shows) and have other tiki related events too.

If you have a few friends who would be interested in pitching in, you can split the initial cost, and try and get members to sign up on a dues system...like the Lodges back in the day. Everyone can pitch in decorating the place, maybe have some of the various Tiki Carvers and Artists put their stuff in there for sale, this way, you have nice tikis and tiki art in the place, and you can make a little commision on the sale as well (like when you see art for sale in a restaurant or coffee show)

If you push it here on TC, you may get some people to do it, this way they have a tiki bar to go to all the time. Of course, you wouldn't have to sell alcohol, it would all be for members, who "chip in" for the booze.

You can make additional income by renting it out for Private birthday parties, small company parties etc....If you make it really cool inside, you may be able to make it work.

I don't know, maybe it's a dumb idea, but I thought about it recently, after seeing how many people were at the Tiki Farm Big Ol Tiki Bash. It made me think about the various Lodges back in the day, and the Shriners etc....an "Organization" with members, rather than a "business" open to the public.

If there was one here in LA, I would sign up and pay mambership dues, as long as it wasn't something astronomical.

[ This Message was edited by: tikiyaki 2007-07-28 09:59 ]


 
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Rum Hunter
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 15, 2006
Posts: 26
From: Gold River, CA
Posted: 2007-07-28 10:19 am   Permalink

Sacramento is in dire need of a Tiki Bar. Seems like a a great place for one, it must be the largest city in California without a Tiki establishment!

 
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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1286
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2007-07-28 2:00 pm   Permalink

I think nearly everyone thinks about opening a bar of their own -- tiki or not. But the above posters are correct in that you should really do your homework. The fun of setting up a bar, decorating it and all is one thing, but day-to-day operations are another. Are you prepared for dealing with staff issues, drunks who won't leave, teenagers trying to get in, ABC hassling you, distributors, etc etc. I don't want to detract you from a dream, but you should defintely understand all the highs and lows. And getting a part time job as a bartender to get your feet wet is a must.

And if you still decide to open your tiki bar, by all means invite Tiki Central folks to the grand opening.
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Gigantalope
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 01, 2004
Posts: 913
From: Shinola, California
Posted: 2007-07-28 3:19 pm   Permalink

If you are completely on your own, you can make almost anything work if the rent is cheap enough and you're willing to give up your Apt and sleep in the office. When you start having employees, that's when you have problems on a serious level.

Always a good idea too if you can mix another business in to help further cut costs...Esspresso maybe? or Taxidermy? Guns, and Ski Masks perhaps?

The idea of the Sho-chu cocktails is pretty good, and you may be able to get a Brewery to set you up as a Tiki Tap Room to help you offset set up costs.

I agree more about Sacramento being a the victim of Tiki-famine...The Hukilau's absence is horrible


 
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Atomicchick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 08, 2003
Posts: 579
From: Southern California
Posted: 2007-07-28 3:28 pm   Permalink

I think about it everyday that I go to work. There is this place, I believe it is called the Tiki Room in Pomona, CA. It is a huge building! It is painted black on the outside with a painted tiki in the wall. It is located in Pomona's Art District (old buildings). Everytime I drive by that place, it is closed, like locked empty closed. I think they might rent it out for special events, but haven't heard of one yet. That place could be a kick ass bar! And it already has the name!

 
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Mr. NoNaMe
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 10, 2006
Posts: 1919
Posted: 2007-07-28 3:47 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-07-28 02:45, sushiman wrote:
Yes ...just the other day ...But I have doubts that it would go over in the hinterland of Kumamoto ( people tend to be insular and close minded ) ...Young people have few places to hang out around here, though , and they'd be the target ( 20-35 ) ...Liquor license relatively easy to obtain in Japan ...



SushiMan,
If you open a tiki bar Mr. G might make the mugs and be your designer. Hmm!?
http://www.mr-gkrazyart.com/
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Okolehao
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2006
Posts: 234
From: Monterey, CA
Posted: 2007-07-28 11:11 pm   Permalink

A few pictures for the investors.




Ain't it purty?
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Robertiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 11, 2006
Posts: 179
Posted: 2007-07-29 8:16 pm   Permalink

Do it.

Borrow from Dad if you have too. Don't take on partners. Parters ain't so bad if you are losing money, its when you start making money the troubles begin.

See if your city has a store-front improvement grant available. Get paid to build your dream.

Do it.
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Mateotiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Feb 23, 2007
Posts: 24
From: Houston, TX
Posted: 2007-07-29 8:59 pm   Permalink

Not to be a parade rainer-onner, but are there a lot of derelict types in the area? Bus stops that I've seen usually attract these types and I'm not sure you'd want them hitting up your patrons for money. The bus stop in Houston is the worst.

Our little Hawaiian music combo plays regularly for a Hawaiian-themed coffee shop (Maui Wowi) and I always hear about the problems. Granted, it's a slightly different venue without the liquor license, but there are problems.

First, there are employees. You have to be willing to pay them well if you want ones of decent quality and be loyal. Otherwise, most of them don't do what you tell them to, are sometimes unreliable, and in the end they leave. The food and beverage industry has one of the highest turnover rates.

Next, there are the hours. The owner of the coffee house gets an average of about 3-4 hours of sleep a day, hardly ever gets/takes a day off, and has a multitude of daily tasks such as cleaning, stocking/inventory, accounting, payroll, etc. When things go wrong like a computerized register or dispenser malfunctioning, then the list of tasks multiplies.

She tells me that if you have a family or personal life, count on your activities being severely curtailed at least for the first couple of years. You likely won't see your children much until you can afford to hire a manager.

In any case, the best advice was given above: do your research. Talk to people who own bars and see if it's a lifestyle change that's acceptable.

[ This Message was edited by: Mateotiki 2007-07-29 21:15 ]


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5047
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-07-30 07:00 am   Permalink

Yeah, I have thought about it...

A) Get online and see what the requirements are for a liquor license. Don't even consider opening without it. If you can't get that funded, just forget it. Open well and thrive or fail. You can't build customers a year after you open like you can on opening day. Slow death.

B) Do it right.

C) Understand that you need to be there every time the doors open. And you will be there when they are closed too. You will manage people as much as anything else, and probably more. You are the solution to all the problems from plumbing to tardy employees to overflowing toilets. You gotta decide if you are ready for that.

D) Depending on the size of the place, you should be able to open for $150,000 or less. But, you won't have a big safety net.

E) You will be largely supported by those living within a few miles of you. Are your customers there?
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