Punch magazine has accomplished a feat worth cheering. They have put together what is, in my opinion, the most impressive list of “The World’s 15 Most Important Tiki Bars” that I’ve yet to see.
It helps that their panel of experts includes the top people in the field, including Sven Kirsten, Martin Cate, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, and others. If you want to know what’s the best, you ask the people who are the best. And that’s exactly what they did.
Really, the only bar I can think of that they omitted is the “original” Trader Vic’s location in Emeryville. It’s not the first iteration of the bar, but it is the location that Vic himself opened in 1972, and it’s been the chain’s flagship operation ever since. It might not be the best restaurant/bar you’ll visit, but it’s still a damn fine Tiki operation, steeped with history.
Sadly, the only location on the list that I have visited is the Mai-Kai, a one-of-a-kind feast for the senses masquerading as a restaurant. I hope to cross another off my list next month, though, when I’m in Los Angeles. (That location, of course, would be the Tiki-Ti.)
I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, this collection would make a very nice start.