About the Book
In 1956 a few brash young men created the Mai-Kai by way of a coup at Don the Beachcomber’s and went on to eclipse the old guard restaurants. The Mai-Kai became the playground of celebrities and playboys, and the beautiful women working there used it as a jumping-off point for adventure and fame. Through first-hand stories, images, and ephemera, this book documents the history and enduring legacy of the pinnacle of the Mid-Century Tiki era. This is the story of how the Mai-Kai and its iconic elements came to exist, and the tales of the men and women who shaped it and went on to shape the world.
Hundreds of rare and unseen images
First hand interviews
Tales from those who lived them
Don the beachcomber
New insights into the father of Tiki
Adventures of the Mai-Kai maidens
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Latest Blog entries
A nice article on Tales of the Cocktail about drinking clubs at Tiki establishments. There is a chapter in my book on the Mai-Kai’s Okole Maluna Society, the originator of the idea. Best quote in the book about the Society by Bob van Dorpe: “I think we killed a few people.” Order the book here.[…]
For those who attended my presentation on the Mai-Kai and Don the Beachcomber at Tiki Oasis 2016, here is the cocktail recipe for the drink you were served. I did not oversee the mixing of that drink, so I have no idea how faithful it was to the original recipe. I was a bit stressed[…]
Via Google maps you can now explore inside the Mai-Kai and through the gardens in 3-D. Click here.
The true “island maiden” of our dreams, Nani Maka started as a trained Hawaiian hula dancer in Wailuku and performer at an early age. She became one of the first Mystery Girls at the Mai-Kai, until someone told them she was under 21 and she lost that job. She performed as lead dancer at the[…]
Randy will join me in my Tiki Oasis presentation to share his first hand stories of the Mai-Kai, Rum, and Tiki history. Randy Avon grew up in the Mai-Kai where his mother ran the gift shop. His family is prominent in Hawaiian culture starting with his grandfather George Mossman who started Lalani Village which was[…]
Join me at the oldest, biggest, and grandest Tiki event in the world, Tiki Oasis, for a special Mai-Kai history presentation, and the West Coast premier of the book! Don the Beachcomber: The Mai-Kai’s Father, will explore how Donn Beach took South Pacific and Caribbean inspiration and created the Tiki era, and how he inspired[…]
The only place to officially celebrate the release of my book is the Mai-Kai. Join me in Fort Lauderdale September 17th for a special event. On Saturday the 17th we will welcome everyone to a history presentation in the Mai-Kai and a book signing in the Molokai Bar afterwards. Reservations should be made through the Mai-Kai. You[…]
They may not be the most exciting pieces in the collection, but when you have been searching for years for something and finally get it, it is very satisfying. The above card shows the Mai-Kai in 1972. At left you see the 22 foot Barney West Moai that is still there today. Near the center[…]
A video preview of images from the book and my presentation set to a song by Toti, founder of the Mai-Kai Islanders review. Crank up the volume! Come to my presentation at Hukilau 2016. Tickets available HERE. Pre-order the book HERE.
An interesting bit about the history of one of the Mai-Kai’s rivals, the South Pacific in Hollandale Florida. None of the people I interviewed considered this place, or any other Polynesian restaurant in the area, as a true rival. Like Western Sizzler is a rival of Ruth’s Chris. The Mai-Kai was far and away in a[…]