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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » "Building a Tiki Experience - What's important, and how to do it?"
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"Building a Tiki Experience - What's important, and how to do it?"
bamalamalu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 20, 2006
Posts: 902
Posted: 2017-03-25 11:25 am   Permalink

I'll disagree that the drinks are less important. Yeah, you're selling an "experience," but ultimately, bars sell drinks. When I go to a bar and pay money for a drink, I expect it to be good.

Service is very important. I think a bartender should be attentive (but not TOO attentive,) approachable, knowledgeable, and sure, enthusiastic. But what I really need is for him to make me a good drink. If the cocktail he sets down in front of me isn't good - or isn't a good value for the cost - I'm probably not going to stay for a second round, no matter how lofty the service. Competence is key.

It sounds like you are planning quality drinks so I don't mean to state the obvious, but it caught my eye to see drinks moved way down the list of importance. If the quality isn't there, I'm just going to think of the bar as that place that 'looks good but has lousy drinks' (Hello, Tiki Iniki) and I'm not going to return often. When I'm in a place like that I always think it's such a shame. It doesn't take that much more effort to do it right.

I think everything is important. No place is going to hit 100% perfection on every detail for every individual customer; there just needs to be a good balance of all these elements to encourage all those different people to return. As you implied: appealing to folks who aren't into "Tiki," yet inoffensive to those who are.

A place that seems to do this well is Psycho Suzi's in Minneapolis. Obviously that's a huge restaurant and beyond the scale of what you're planning, but I think it's a good example of a place that has that balance. It's not exactly authentic Tiki, but we still look forward to visiting when we're in town. On Weekends they open the upstairs, which I think is a big step up - more serious drink options, darker atmosphere, and even a live exotica band. The place will be packed - and with all manner of people: young tattooed people, after-work happy hour people, dressed-up date-night couples, families celebrating a Grandmother's birthday. All enjoying the same place. It reminds me what it must have been like at the classic bars/restaurants decades ago.

They have a gigantic tiered gimmick bowl drink that they sell a ton of - sounds ghastly to me, but really appeals to those big groups of non-purists. But they also have some nice quality-rum-focused drinks for me. In fact, the majority of the drinks upstairs. I don't think it has to be overly serious or 100% historically accurate to appeal to the enthusiasts. But it also isn't necessary to dumb it down to appeal to newcomers or casual visitors. If people can get a good drink at a fair price in an appealing atmosphere, they're likely to want to return. But it's a cocktail bar. Drinks are important.


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2198
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2017-03-30 10:31 am   Permalink

Here's a Facebook video about hula dancing I found which really hits on the "authentic" side of things.

https://www.facebook.com/greatbigstory/videos/1668244596811300/

Just sharing this cuz its cool -- I'm not suggesting that anyone open a museum which serves drinks and food. (But if you did, I'd go!!!)


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HaleTiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 03, 2017
Posts: 25
Posted: 2017-06-11 10:06 pm   Permalink

Quick update on this front. Things have definitely slowed down. While writing many other things, such as fiction, comes fairly easy to me, writing a business plan definitely does not. Also, my contact at the SBA went on vacation which kind of slowed me down a bit.

After visiting Tiki Ti over the weekend with the wife however I think I'm definitely on the right track on the size of the bar I want with it being smaller. I actually think we could be okay with going smaller than I was originally planning on budgeting for.

Just wanted to stop in and give you guys an update. I'm really hoping to keep on top of this and it's definitely not dead.
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tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 4525
Posted: 2017-06-12 03:49 am   Permalink

“When I go to a bar and pay money for a drink, I expect it to be good.”

Good is one thing but paying way too much for an ok drink at a boring place
Is not good.
For me most of the newer places are like this overpriced ok or bad drinks.

So if a tiki bar had GREAT drinks the best ever, but the bartender was a d!ck and the place was not fun with nobody there would you go back time and time again just for a great drink and sit all by yourself and drink it?

My point was it’s the excitement and fun that makes a place, sure you must try to always have great food, service, and drinks.

I would bet the WORST time to get a drink at the Mai Kai or any of the places that serve drinks at any Tiki Oasis bar would be when the event is going on as they are swamped.
The drink is going to be hard to get and the pour will be rushed, but that is the time everybody wants to be there.
Not for the drink, but for the excitement and fun, damn it’s hard to get ANY drink good or bad at that time.

Tiki Ti has it all great drinks, excitement and fun, awesome atmosphere the people at Tiki Ti get it.

For great drinks I stay home, no self-proclaimed “mixologist” making “handcrafted” drinks can beat that.
Well Tiki Ti can, but they are one of the few.

Just my opinion, everybody has different ideas on what they want in a night out.
I want the kind of fun we used to have at the Kahiki.

"my contact at the SBA went on vacation which kind of slowed me down a bit"

Well wait till you start to build it out, the builders will show you being slowed down a bit.

Good Luck!!


 
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tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 4525
Posted: 2017-06-12 03:58 am   Permalink

One more quick thought, how many tiki bars or events have you been to where the people that come drink or eat NOTHING.

I have seen that a lot!

Maybe that is a cheap Ohio thing.
Just to let you know the people at the bar who work there most times don't like that.

Just kidding, they hate it.

So those folks come only for the excitement and fun,atmosphere.
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