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8 Tiki Restaurants for the Winter Blues

8 Tiki Restaurants for the Winter Blues


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A collection of restaurants celebrating a taste of the islands

The crisp winter air and icy-cool temperatures are enough to make anyone long for an escape to the balmy beaches of Hawaii. While it may be not be totally feasible for everyone to hop on a plane and take a tropical vacation, there are plenty of restaurants in Hawaii and across the rest of the country that offer a taste of the islands every day.

The tiki culture has a long tradition in the U.S., beginning in the early '30s and gaining national popularity in the '50s and '60s. Ernest Beaumont-Gantt is considered to have created the tiki lifestyle when he opened a bar and restaurant in Los Angeles in 1933 called Don the Beachcomber. The fare at Don's combined Chinese flavors and dishes with an American dive-bar sensibility. Gantt, who legally changed his name to Donn Beach, was known for crafting cocktails with rum and exotic fruit juices and is credited with inventing such drinks as the zombie.

Around the same time, a man named Victor J. Bergeron opened a dive bar called Hinky Dinks in Oakland, Calif., which he renamed Trader Vic's in 1937 after visiting Don the Beachcomber and adding a selection of Polynesian-inspired dishes to his menu. Bergeron is known as the inventor of the mai tai, among other punch cocktails.

These days, the tiki genre has expanded to include restaurants and bars in most cities across America. Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been serving up pupu platters and live entertainment for 56 years, while The Hurricane Club infused the swanky New York City lounge scene with exotic tiki cocktails and fare in 2010. So regardless of your distance to an actual tropical paradise, here is a look at the dining opportunities that offer a similar experience across the country.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


Shake Loose Winter

Let me spell out a scenario for you, that I’m sure 110% of you will relate to. You’re standing in your kitchen looking out the window as snow begins to melt off your roof reminding you where your gutter has a leak. You’re wearing a robe with a hole in it because, “who buys a new robe, and where do they come from?” and you’re clutching an Old Fashioned muttering, “I’m going to have to drink stirred, brooding, and gloomy cocktails for the rest of my life because there is no sun, only winter.” Too close to home, huh?

Well, luckily the earth is in constant rotation, and so should your cocktail game. We’re here to help. There are flavor elements that you can find in the warming, stirred cocktails that you come to love in winter, that are mirrored in these shaken, refreshing cocktails that ease you into springtime bliss as you replace your holy robe with that yellow rain jacket that makes you look like Georgie from “IT.”

Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are great, and you can drink them all the time if you fear change and like missing out on what else the world has to offer, but there is a way to drink a barrel-aged spirit while still feeling as crisp as the new springtime air. Baking spice flavors such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove hold a certain time and place experience with us for holiday and winter flavors, until you are made to think about them in a new environment. If you take those same flavors and redirect them to say, the Caribbean, you’re now thinking about island spices. Those late autumnal and winter profiles you’re used to in the bitters that make your favorite stirred cocktails are now present in some borderline tiki variations.

Take the Lion’s Tail for example. (So apropos, I know…) It basically has every flavor you would find in an Old Fashioned such as allspice, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak, but it also incorporates lime juice, which all but whisks you away to your covered side patio. This cocktail is the perfect example of redefining those baking spices into inviting island warmth. Memorize this recipe as a cure-all for winter blues. The spices will lull you into familiar territory, while allowing the balanced citrus and sugar to wake up your senses and have you looking forward to sunshine in no time at all.


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