1950s Kitsch Is Alive & Well: Our Visit To The Mai-Kai

The Tiki culture (the theme used in Polynesian-style restaurants, clubs and bars) in the United States started in the 1930s, increased after World War II (when solders would return from the South Pacific) and hit its peak in the late 1950s, around the time that MaiKaiStatueSignHawaii became the 50th state. Riding on that wave (do you see what I did there? ☺), the Mai-Kai, a Polynesian-themed restaurant, bar and, a few years later, live Polynesian Islander Revue, opened in Fort Lauderdale in late 1956 and has been feeding and entertaining guests ever since. An OpenTable winner in 2014 and voted Best Tiki Bar in the World by Critiki in 2015 and 2016 (and second best in 2017) (because, let’s face it…they would know, right?), it is, as per Wikipedia, the last restaurant/bar in existence carrying on the traditions of service and serving the original drink recipes of Don the Beachcomber (the very first tiki bar, which opened in Hollywood in 1937), and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And yet I, a lover of all things kitschy, Polynesian/Hawaiian and off-the-beaten-path, somehow had never heard of it, never mind never been to it???
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