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Tiki Central Forums » » Home Tiki Bars » » Napa - Home Tiki Bar in the News
Napa - Home Tiki Bar in the News
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2008-04-14 09:22 am   Permalink

I'm not sure if Mr. Mendez, the owner of this home tiki bar, is a member of Tiki central - but he certainly has one very cool bar. Click the link, and make sure you see all of the pictures with the article. If the goal of a tiki bar is to make one thirsty, these photos definitely do the trick.

When Jose Mendez wants to take a tiki trip complete with mai tais, zombies and jungle vibe music — he doesn’t have to go any further than his back yard.

Mendez is a tiki geek. Tiki mugs, mats, figurines, Polynesian art, dishes, ashtrays, matchbooks, lamps and anything else from the retro bar scene — you name it, he has it.

A landscaper by day for Lou Penning Landscapes, Mendez said his tiki trove began with a small wooden carving from Bora Bora that he found at a thrift store. “I said, ‘Wow, I like that.’ It’s primitive, not cutesy,” he said. Reading up on tiki bars and tiki culture, Mendez became even more interested in Polynesian history and art, adding, “I always liked Hawaiiana. I’m interested in old relics.”

Then Mendez got a message, sending him on a tiki mission. “I heard Ed McMahon say on Johnny Carson, ‘You need a bar in your house. Because the bar is the heart of the house,’” said Mendez. Taking McMahon’s advice to heart, Mendez created a tiki hangout in the former garage of his Napa home.

Beaded curtains printed with Hawaiian maidens cover doorways to the in-house lounge, revealing a hideaway that brings you back to the islands, or a 1950s version of a tiki lair. A jukebox playing jungle vibes sits at one corner. Nearby is a working bar that Mendez tiki-fied by adding woven batting and carved masks.

Mendez started on the bar in 2006, finishing it several months later. He estimated he and a friend spent 125 hours creating the party room. The bar is a work in progress, he said. “You’re always adding to it,” he said, scanning the space, crammed with tiki tchotchkes, including most of his 135 tiki mugs. The cluttered aesthetic is intentional, he said. “It’s how you show off your finds from your tropical travels.”

Mendez said he regularly makes trips to suppliers who specialize in nautical and sea décor, or even tiki suppliers like Benson’s Tropical Sea Imports in Huntington Beach and Oceanic Arts in Whittier. He also harvests his own bamboo from his tropical backyard garden. “It’s an escape to a tropical paradise,” said Mendez of his home hideaway. “Who wouldn’t want to be there?”

Mendez pointed out one of his most treasured tiki trinket — the Aku Aku in Las Vegas, which was a 1950s Polynesian restaurant inside the Stardust casino. Mendez has an ashtray from the bar, now closed. “It’s uncommon,” he said, holding the ceramic piece. “It’s irreplaceable.”

Besides tiki, Mendez’s house also displays all sorts of pop art and knickknacks, including space toys, vintage dishes, World War II planes and GI Joe stuff. But tiki is tops. “I can’t think of anything else I’d rather collect,” he said.

Jose Mendez’s favorite tiki bars

Forbidden Island • Alameda
“The most authentic,” said Mendez.

Sam's Seafood Restaurant • Huntington Beach
“It has a lot of tiki sculptures inside.”

Bali Hai Restaurant • San Diego
“It’s been around since the 50s”

Tiki-Ti • Los Angeles
“The owner is a pioneer of original tiki bars. He’s the king of mixologists.”

Bamboo Hut • San Francisco
“It’s actually owned by Hawaiians, and the drinks are strong.”

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11594
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-04-14 11:55 am   Permalink

Nice. It makes sense that a landscaper living and working in California goes Tiki, it complements his talents. It looks like he has an outdoor and an indoor bar, I was hoping to get a better shot at his nice counter top mosaic, but the closer shots show a plain black surface....or the photos were taken at different stages of the bar. Too bad they kept the velvet so dark,it looks good.

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bamboo stu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 18, 2007
Posts: 130
From: Spam Leandro, CA
Posted: 2008-04-14 4:29 pm   Permalink

Wow, that's my dream backyard right there.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 15, 2007
Posts: 115
From: Austin, TX
Posted: 2008-06-13 5:06 pm   Permalink

That's so sweet---I JUST BOUGHT THOSE STOOLS ON Craig's List!!
Like 3 hours ago!!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 02, 2009
Posts: 882
From: Rohnert Park, California
Posted: 2010-01-23 3:50 pm   Permalink

Way to go, Jose!

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Trader Bob
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 29, 2009
Posts: 75
From: Gold Coast, tropical paradise
Posted: 2010-01-25 2:47 pm   Permalink

Great bar!
One of the inspirations that set me on the road to making my own
Trader Bob

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