Aloha, historic bar lovers! It's time to escape chilly winter temps and enjoy warmer climes inside historic tiki bars, those Polynesian-inspired spots known for their island flair and exotic cocktails. First up: Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The Mai Kai was designed by the Fort Lauderdale architect Charles McKirahan and was restored to its original look after Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
It all makes too much sense: A Texas kid leaves home, becomes a bootlegger, and then falls even further from mainstream society. He floats around the Caribbean for a spell before he washes up on a Pacific island no one from Texas has probably ever heard of. When he moves back stateside, he turns his booze-sodden adventures into a business empire and nationwide sensation.
It’s the story of Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, a.k.a. Don the Beachcomber, who opened his eponymous Pacific-island themed café in Hollywood in 1934 and eventually set off a national obsession with hula skirts, heavy rum pours, and all things Polynesian.
In honor of this obsession, our next round of historic bars serves up a mixture of the best historic tiki spots America has to offer -- native girls not included.... Read More →
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David Weible is a content specialist for the National Trust, previously with Preservation magazine. He came to D.C. from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.