An Idol Summer

Time spent in a good tiki bar is rejuvenation for the soul. If that tiki bar is in your home, good on you. You’ve invested in a personal retreat; you’ve made yourself a space to escape to. But how are the drinks? How’s the crowd?

I don’t have a tiki bar in my house. I have plenty of tiki stuff, no tiki bar. Not yet at least. The more tiki bars I visit, and especially so when I visit new tiki bars, the more I hone in on exactly what defines a good tiki bar. There needs to be a level of “dust” about the kitsch. And the kitsch must be thick and cluttered. Sparse in tiki bars seldom does it for me, done right, there’s something to it. But by in large, I think of a good tiki bar as a place where the shelves and walls have grown cluttered over the years, where you can how the spaces between the original decor have been filled up with the gradual accumulation of items over the years.

A good tiki bar needs to feel like another place. It needs to feel like the space is altered, like it was a hut. Even a tin hut can make a good tiki bar, if on the inside the walls are covered in bamboo, thatch or vines. If it feels different from the environment it’s actually in because basement walls with Pier 1 signs on the walls is just sad. It’s depressing. It’s the opposite of a what a tiki bar is to be. And maybe that why I don’t have one in my house. To do it properly would take a level of investing that I just am not willing to do. Not yet. Not until money is that indisposable. Because at least for now, my need to escape isn’t that great. I don’t hate my job. Plenty of places to get out to, things to go do, that my life isn’t so miserable that I need to escape from so badly.

My face gets sunburnt year round, not from the beaches any more, but from the slopes and the hikes in the mountains. Sure the tiki bars here are something to avoid writing home about, but there are plenty of patios and sunshine to soaked up anyway. None the less, being a lover of good tiki bars with none in town, no home tiki bar to rival the world’s best, I need my tiki fix. There are a number of bars I need to visit both old and new. Mermaids? Nation’s top 10? I’m going to have to hit them all, or as many as I can so this summer should be the start of a adventure to go see ’em.

Nothing planned yet, but Milwaukee and Montana are both high on the list. We’ll see.

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