Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Tiki tour: A Very Taki Tiki Bar

Last month we took out annual family vacation, and this year we decided on the Oregon coast. Cannon Beach impressed us tremendously a few years ago during a brief stop on out Pacific Coast Highway tour we wanted to revisit it. There were several tiki spots along the way, so The Wife and I made it a goal of stopping at as many as we could. We flew into Seattle, and after spending most of the afternoon at Pike Place Fish Market, we ran into some big problems with our hotel. The long and short of it is that we ended up at a motel in Edmonds rather than a hotel in the middle of Seattle.

After that ordeal, we wanted to go somewhere and unwind with a couple of drinks, but didn't want to battle Seattle traffic to reach the Hula Hula or Lava Lounge tiki bars. An internet search for something close by turned up A Very Taki Tiki Bar. The name did not instill confidence, and I could find no listing on Critiki, but by that point we were pretty much beyond caring. With expectations set to low, we headed out.

From the street, the place wasn't terribly impressive. There were a couple of fake-thatch umbrellas like we have at our place, so we knew we'd found the only tiki bar in the area. This being the Pacific Northwest, there wasn't a lot of outside seating--everything was interior.

True to its name, the decor was both tiki and aggressively tacky. What it wasn't was a tiki bar. This, folks, was a sports bar, straight up. A sports bar with tiki trappings. And really, the trappings were impressive. The atmospheric clutter was in place. There were some carved tikis and mugs. Surf boards and mounted fish (or fake versions of mounted fish) hung from the ceiling, and almost every single one of these sported the logo of one mass market beer or another. The place would feel a hell of a lot more authentic without all the advertising. But I can't really fault them--sports bars and beer ads go hand-in-hand, and the name of the place tells you what to expect. There were big-screen TVs visible from every angle, and the ambient music was some forgettable rock. Anyone hoping to hear exotica or Hawaiian or even reggae is simply in the wrong place.

Nevermind all the soccer games on the big-screen TVs--The Wife and I wanted something to drink. Their drink menu wasn't very extensive, but we recognized some of the offerings. Throwing caution to the wind, we both ordered the classic tiki cocktail, the Mai Tai. What we got was almost--but not quite--entirely unlike a Mai Tai. As near as I can figure, the drinks consisted of pineapple mixed with some white Puerto Rican rum, with a dark Jamaican rum floater and a pineapple wedge garnish, all contained in a hurricane glass. I will allow that it was a darn tasty pineapple-rum concoction, and drank it happily (one doesn't expect much in the way of complex cocktails from a sports bar).

Suddenly hungry, we ordered a plate of nachos to split. They were okay, not great, about what you'd expect from a Seattle-area sports bar. The place seemed very proud of its name, so much so that the management had it printed on sweat shirts, tees and caps. No tiki mugs, though, which I might've been tempted to get.

The long and short of it is that A Very Taki Tiki Bar is pretty terrible as far as tiki bars go, but fairly amusing for a sport bar. To be honest, it far exceeded my low expectations because of the effort put into decorating the place. They chose the theme of tacky tiki, and by golly, they nailed it. People who have a problem with Clown Tiki and Party City had best avoid.

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