Tiki Break in Breck
Don and I headed to Breckenridge last May.
It was a surprise to find Tiki Mana, in my search.
Don and I arrived a few days before our kids joined us. We decided to locate the place early, so we could do some celebrating with the youngin's later. They love tiki adventures, too.
We walked over from our condo and found Tiki Mana, in the lower level of a hotel. The place wasn't open, but we could see some tropical decor through the windows. The patio faced the creek and looked pleasant in the sunshine.
Memorial Day Weekend Weather
We hadn't exactly expected snow for our visit. By the time we were gathered with our kids and their spouses, we were ready for a warm escape, to a tropical environment.
Tuesday Tiki Time
We concluded the bar/restaurant was open on Tuesday afternoon. We headed over for Happy Hour, at 4.
The entrance by the creek was much more festive than entering through the hotel. There was a cute little gathering space, right inside the door.
We stepped into the main bar and dining area and I was surprised with the bright lighting. Usually my aged eyes go into shock, when I enter dimly lit, tiki bars.
On a chilly Tuesday at 4:00. I wasn't too surprised that we were the first. It gave me a chance to peek around and snap a few pics.
There were cozy booths and thatched roofs.
There were bamboo walls and plants and windows. I'm not sure I've ever been to a tiki bar that had windows.
There were lots of Aloha Girls in the art and carved faces.
And carved Polynesian masks...
Our group of 6 could have fit into this sweet booth with seaside pillows.
Menus and Water
You know you're visiting a high altitude Tiki Bar, when the bartender hands you big glasses of water with your menu. He did not give us the leis.
I packed the leis, because I am always prepared with props, for dining or tiki adventures! Luckily the kids went along with my silliness.
The Tiki Gang
Only two of us were willing to brave the cold and wear a tropical shirt, for our outing.
I failed to get close ups of our tiki cocktails. Besides the colors, they weren't really all that exciting to look at. I guess I had my hopes up, because we were sitting at the bar staring at some typical tiki cups. Oh well, we did enjoy our Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians. We had a few toasts, while flurries blew outside.
Our tiki time was brief and then we were off, to other things.
Mana Tiki just was not cozy enough. It needed better music and a happier bartender... which would have brought more customers and a better vibe. Maybe Breckenridge needs to stick to the mountain theme that it does so well.
Hmm? A Yelp search says that Mana Tiki has closed. Not sure.
Denver's Only Tiki Bar
Don and I had a Denver Tiki Adventure, in June 2017. Maybe it was the powerful cocktail that made me forget to add Adrift to the tiki list!
This is what I saw from our Uber, when we pulled up to the little bar on South Broadway. The gray brick and spotlighted sign, had no Polynesian flair at all.
However, the entrance welcomed us with two grand carvings!
The door was propped open and we headed right in!
Let There Be Light!
I was delighted right away, because the interior was nicely lit! Don and I have had some crazy moments in dark tiki bars. When entering from daylight, it takes my old eyes minutes to adjust. There was no stumbling and no need for cellphone guidance, at Adrift. We headed for a seat where we had a view of the island village mural.
We slid into our avocado green booth and sighed at our surroundings. There were lovely tropical plants that we could actually see. There were carved faces, staring down at us...
There were blowfish lamps and bamboo walls and a cocktail menu full of tropical cocktails, all made with hand-squeezed juices.
I made sure to order a cocktail that looked extra fun. My Rum Punch came in a proper tiki mug, with a few fruit garnishes. Don's Mai Tai looked less festive, but worked well with his outfit.
Drinks with a View
Our table allowed us to keep an eye on the bamboo bar and the people coming and going. It was too early for any wild people watching. I took in a little more scenery when I ventured to the restroom. I peeked at the back patio, which had some fun murals. The restroom was the cleanest I've seen, of any tiki bar!
Our tiki-time at Adrift didn't have any outlandish characters or creepy-crazy decor. We've had more memorable tiki bar experiences. But, this was probably the most relaxing, clean and comfortable of our tiki adventures. Cheers to that!
Fairmont San Francisco
When Don and I learned about the Tonga Bar, we were so excited we switched our evening plans and had an Uber take us to The Fairmont Hotel, instead.
Our driver drove us to the top of Nob Hill, but instead of taking us to the classy front entrance, he dropped us on the side.
We walked in a side door and got pretty lost. But that was no problem. It was 5pm and the popular lounge had just opened. We weren't in too big of a hurry.
The Grand Lobby
The Fairmont is a fun place to get lost in.
The swirling columns in the lobby did not look very Polynesian. We moved on.
Hidden Down Below
We found the entrance to the exotic lounge in the basement. There was a crowd, even though the bar had only been open for 5 minutes.
There was a line of people, hoping to dine beside the lagoon, when the food service began at 6.
The Fairmont Plunge
In Pre-Tonga Room days, things looked a little different in the lower level of the hotel. In 1929, a 75-foot swimming pool was added to the hotel.
Traveling guests and movie stars, like Ronald Reagan and Helen Hayes, were lured to the new hotel pool!
By 1945, the pool became a lagoon.
That's when MGM set designer, Mel Melvin transformed the area into a tiki themed paradise.
A Floating Boat/Bandstand
It took a while for our eyes to adjust when we first made our way inside.
The blue-green water surrounding the boat, reflected the playful light display above.
It took us a while to figure things out. The tables on both sides of the water were reserved for diners.
The bar, housed inside what looked like a pirate ship, had a few available tables. We attempted to grab one, but learned there was a system for bar seating. No seats for us.
Hanging By the Lagoon
We were totally fine with standing at the railing, near the lagoon. We had a great view of the water.
The diners, under their palapas and the mostly younger-than-us-crowd at the pirate bar, gave us some good people watching. And of course we had some very yummy drinks in coconut cups and tall tiki glasses, with lots of umbrellas and fruit.
I was very curious about the lagoon's best feature. Back in the day, the boat acted as a floating stage, with an orchestra.
The boat was empty and quiet during our visit, but I'm sure it gets put to use on weekends.
My very own pirate kindly posed for me, so I could capture a little of the bar area, with all its bamboo and ropes.
Don was pretty delighted with the place, that he'd just read about hours before. If only we'd had more planning time, we would have dressed in our tropical best. Next time.
We hadn't been in the bar long before we experienced our first storm. There were many of them and the thunder and lightening and rainfall, made us crack up each time.
It was very clear which guests were visiting for the first time. They were the ones grinning and attempting photos, like us.
Enjoying the Decor
Don and I kind of loved our little spot right on the railing, where we could take in all the carved decor and thatched roofs.
We were busy taking it all in, when a young couple, asked to share a little of the railing space. They turned out to be a delightful pair and we swapped lots of stories.
Sharing the Railing
We were glad to that our new friends were just as giddy over all the tropical gimmicks, as we were. They had seen The Tonga Bar featured on Anthony Bourdain's show and were excited to finally make a visit, themselves.
They couldn't stay long, since they were going to see a friend perform Flamenco at another club. They invited us along and we were tempted to add Spain to our international evening. But we had plans for dinner in Chinatown.
We hardly had time to scratch the surface at The Fairmont, but it was time to move on. We waited for our Uber, under the blowing flags.
We will definitely come back for some Polynesian dining next time. Maybe we can stay the night... if we win the lottery.
Celebrating with the Kiddos
The hostess met us at the door, wearing a mumu and a flower in her hair. She hardly looked like a bouncer, but she asked all 4 of us for IDs. Then she led us to a table and handed us menus.
Thunder Storms and Volcanic Eruptions
Our Cozy Booth
We felt pretty lucky to have gotten the last booth. The cute little storefront tiki bar wasn't very large. After our eyes adjusted enough to read the menu, we placed our exotic orders.
Lots of Fruit and Rum
The Happy Hour special for $6.00 was hard to beat. I just had to get the Blue Hawaii, with a floral accent. Don got the Lapu Lapu, in memory of our favorite tiki bar from 35 years ago... The Royal Hawaiian in Laguna Beach, CA.
Cheers to the Newlyweds
Jamie and Heidi were ready to celebrate, since they had just completed their TX to OR drive and had spent the day unpacking. What a perfect place to start enjoying their new hometown, Portland!
Nibbles and Drinks
Luckily we found something besides drinks on the menu, which meant some of us were able to sample a second tiki cocktail. The drinks were marked for strength, which was helpful, for this lightweight.
The staff was more than willing to do a little pose behind the bar for me. Or maybe they were scared to say no, to the lady who was old enough to be everyone's mom. Anyway, the staff was friendly and we left happy. Can't wait to return!
Tiki, Nola Style!
I'm having a throwback spotlight on a tiki-evening we enjoyed in the French Quarter.
Up We Go!
A year ago in May, we were in New Orleans for our son's graduation from Tulane Law. This was one of the places he wanted us to experience.
You just have to do what your son wants, so we entered the white door and headed up the stairs. Two wicker chairs welcomed us, with some coconut art!
Tiki bars are almost always dark. It takes some nerve to flash your camera, when the locals are gathered at the bamboo-canopy-bar.
Art on a Brick Wall
But the island masks and ship decor were all worthy of my camera's sudden spotlight.
Luckily it was early and there was ample seating available. We found the best corner.
Moai and Flames!
Sitting beneath the Moai tiki god, we felt the need to order something equally bold. The flaming bowl of booze lit up the corner!
Heidi and Jamie
Our daughter and her fiancee were happy to demonstrate, how to share a rum-filled cocktail.
Plus Boozy Bears
To balance out the dangerous adult drink, we added a playful order of gummy bears on ice.
Of course the bears were filled with alcohol, so it wasn't exactly balancing anything.
It's kind of scary how many photos we have with our kids enjoying cocktail adventures. Oh well.
With the Parents
This guy graduated from law school the next day, so I guess all our parenting wasn't bad. Cheers to Scott and cheers to tiki bars!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.