Remembering the Surfboard Bar

The original bar at the Mai-Kai was not the Molokai Bar, but the Surfboard Bar. It was made from real, 30 foot long wooden surfboards from Hawaii. It featured a diorama behind it that was animated. The sun rose and set as did the moon. There was a little village and a fire would start. Read more about Remembering the Surfboard Bar[…]

2018 Molokai Bar 60th Anniversary

Reserve your place for my presentation at the Hukilau HERE. We all know today’s Molokai Bar with it’s nautical theme of a galley ship, but until 1971, it was a different place. After the huge success of the opening, they realized they needed a bigger bar to seat waiting guests (and get money out of Read more about 2018 Molokai Bar 60th Anniversary[…]

#TBT 1958-59 The Okole Maluna Society

This short lived idea to reward the regulars and promote camaraderie was another crazy brain-child of the Mai-Kai managers and owners. This mini version of the drink menu was created by Leonce Picot before he had any idea what they would do with it. On a specific date, everyone received the cards. Each drink they Read more about #TBT 1958-59 The Okole Maluna Society[…]

#TBT 1959 Mai-Kai Entrance and Drink Menu

A couple on their honeymoon in 1959 came to the Mai-Kai. They revisited a few years ago and gave the Mai-Kai this photo. Of note are the entrance doors. 2 big mahogany doors with “Mai-Kai” spelled out in bamboo on the left and the cannibal trio carvings on the right door. When they entered the Read more about #TBT 1959 Mai-Kai Entrance and Drink Menu[…]

Mariano Licudine – “The Houdini of the Liquids”

Mariano Licudine didn’t get the coverage I wanted in the book. I just was too pressed for time. I hope the full story gets written. The Thorntons did something rare and amazing with Mariano, they put a spotlight on him. He wasn’t an anonymous staff member hidden in the kitchen as were most bartenders at Read more about Mariano Licudine – “The Houdini of the Liquids”[…]

Presentation and Signing at Cane Rhum Bar, Charleston, SC Nov 19

We have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Cane Rhum Bar & Caribbean Kitchen in our second home of Charleston, SC. Barbados born¬†author and chef, Paul Yellin, has been wanting to fully bring his roots to his food and this is it. Barbados is also where rum was born, and Paul blends rum and food Read more about Presentation and Signing at Cane Rhum Bar, Charleston, SC Nov 19[…]

The History, Mystery and Community of Tiki Bar Loyalty Clubs

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. Read more about The History, Mystery and Community of Tiki Bar Loyalty Clubs[…]

Swanky’s Headshrinker Recipe

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 Read more about Swanky’s Headshrinker Recipe[…]

Tiki Oasis Presentation and Book Signing

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 Read more about Tiki Oasis Presentation and Book Signing[…]