Sitting in a bamboo decorated room, sipping out of a Tiki faced, Fu Manchu mug filled with Dr. Funk and munching on a delicious island dish, you will experience an overwhelming sense of relaxation and rejuvenation. This type of hospitality can only be found in Tiki bars, a tradition dating back to the early 1930s. So what’s the history of the tiki bar you ask? Well, Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, who later became known as Donn Beach was a Texas native who wanted to expand his horizons, so he traveled the world, spending a significant amount of time traveling the islands of the Caribbean and the South Pacific. It’s here that he found he enjoyed the laid back lifestyle of the tropical islands as any good world traveler should. This enjoyment inspired him to bring some of the island ways back to the mainland. Gantt opened the world’s very first Tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber, in Los Angeles, California. The rum cocktails and the exotic dishes had people, including celebrities, flocking to his restaurant. Shortly after Don the Beachcomber opened, competitor Victor Bergeron opened a Tiki bar of similar nature, Trader Vic’s in Oakland, California. Like Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic’s was an island themed restaurant that was decorated with Polynesian artifacts and offered exotic foods and drinks. Both Gantt and Bergeron’s Tiki bars were so successful that they were able to expand to several locations. The fad of the Tiki bar was born and is the inspiration for Hula’s Modern Tiki in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Donn Beach ©hawaiibeachcomber.com
Don the Beachcomber, Los Angeles, California. ©scandalpark.com
Victor Bergeron ©tradervics.com
Trader Vic’s Tiki Bar ©tradervics.com