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Posts Tagged ‘Mai Kai’

This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Hukilau “- an annual event celebrating Hawaiian and Polynesian Pop culture while honoring a historic Tiki bar and location.” And what better place to celebrate than at the tiki-tastic Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Say Aloha to mid century tiki fun!

hukilau-tiki-mai-kai-festival-june-2011RetroRoadhusband and I are not able to attend this year’s Hukilau, but based on the rave reviews of the event and the Mai Kai (where the Hukilau has been held these last many years) we made a special trip to Florida’s east coast last year specifically to check out the Mai Kai, and we had a fabulous time! You can read all about our visit to The Mai Kai here.

Sneeky TikiThe Hukilau is named for the traditional festive feasts celebrated on the shores of Hawaii and meant to emphasize the spirit of family and community, or ‘ohana.

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The Mai Kai has been on my “To Do” Retro Roadmap list for ages, and I’m proud to say “We DID”! This east coast tiki temple has been wowing visitors to Fort Lauderdale Florida since 1956, and it certainly wowed us. Definitely on our top list of Retro Roadmap Recommendations!

Mai Kai SignI am quoting that great tiki resource Critiki when I let you know that “The Mai Kai is perhaps the last of the grand Polynesian palaces still operating from when tiki was at its peak in the late 50s and early 60s. That the Mai Kai not only still exists today, but is vibrant and thriving, is something we should all be very grateful for–but not take for granted.” – I could not say it any better!

Mai Kai Entrance

The Mai Kai is a sprawling Polynesian paradise on a busy commercial strip in Fort Lauderdale, and takes on a look of mystery once the sun sets. Included in this time warp of wonderfulness are 8 dining rooms,  a fabulous sunken ship inspired bar, waterfalls, bridges, tropical foliage, and more tikis and idols than I could count.

This tribute to tiki is currently owned by Mirielle (the wife of one of the original owners) who also runs the Polynesian review dinner show- and was once a dancer in it, herself! She also makes sure all new dances added to the dinner show are performed properly according to the people who live on the island on which the dance originates.

We pulled the rented Retro Roadmapmobile over the bridge, left it in the trusty hands of the valet,  made our way into the darkened interior of the Molokai bar, and into another world.

Mai Kai Bar

Our waitresses were a bit goosebumply in their sarongs on this unseasonably chilly day- too bad they couldn’t have a Rum Barrel to warm themselves up, as I did!

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The bar is a wonderful recreation of a sunken ship and turn of the century seaport saloon, replete with tiki music and underwater effects:

No matter what window you look out of, you would never be able to tell that the busy street is just outside, as each porthole and ship window reveals a lovely tropical scene:
Mai Kai Waterfall IdolsWanting to get a good seat for the floor show, we left the bar promptly at our reservation time and proceeded into the inner sanctum of the restaurant.

Mai Kai Gardens click here to see the inside of the Mai Kai!

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Hey gang, we’re still in Florida -which is 20 degrees colder than it usually is, we’re told, but positively tropical compared to the feet of snow that await us when we go home tomorrow.
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We’ve been to many a Retro Roadmap worthy Florida vintage vacation spot, eaten too much roadfood and imbibed more than our fair share of tiki drinks in order to give you swell folks an idea of where to go when in the Sunshine State to get your retro Florida vacation fix.

Speaking of sunshine I think I just see it peeking through the louvered glass windows in our hotel room (or maybe it’s the gloomy clouds reflecting off of the yellow tiles in there) but it looks like it’s time for us to hit the road again for one last swing around before we head back to yet another snowstorm.

Here are a few random photos from this week, of retro and vintage Florida places to look forward to hearing about as soon as we get home!

IMG_1236Retro Roadhusband and The Big Spoon – let’s go inside and see what’s coming up on Retro Roadmap, shall we?

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Good news for tiki lovers everywhere – dates for the 9th annual / 2010 Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale, FL have been announced, and some really cool stuff is already on the schedule!

Shag meet and greet  with 3 new paintings unveiled!

All new seminar from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry !

All new 2010 Kevin Kidney / Muntiki Hukilau mug!

A night at the historic and unforgettable Mai Kai circa 1956!

Harold Golen Gallery – presents yet another fine art tiki show!

Encore performances by Hukilau favorites:

Stolen Idols
Intoxicators
Marina The Mermaid

and more to be announced in the coming months!

Check The Official Hukilau 2010 Website for more details, and tell ’em your pals at Retro Roadmap sent you!

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June 9-12, 2011 – The Hukilau- at The Mai Kai Ft. Lauderdale FL

hukilau 2011

For the past 10 years The Hukilau has been the premiere tiki/polynesian pop festival on the East Coast!

Hostessed by co-founder Tiki Kaliki, this 3 day event brings tiki culture, fashion, music, drinks, and more together under one thatched roof– and what a roof!  The roof belongs to none other than the Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale Florida, a destination for tiki drinks and entertainment for over 50 years.

The Hukilau

Mai-Kai Restaurant
3599 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
(954) 563-3272

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