One of North America’s oldest Polynesian-inspired bars and an East Vancouver institution will relight the torch when Tiki Bar at the Waldorf officially reopens its doors to the public at 1489 East Hastings Street on Saturday, December 15.
More than 60 years after it was first launched, the iconic nightspot will unveil a new menu of signature exotic cocktails and Polynesian-inspired fare as well as refurbished tropical décor that features bamboo, palm trees, a collection of Edgar Leeteg black velvet paintings, wood carvings and a half-domed twinkling twilight ceiling that brings a little piece of South Pacific paradise to the city.
Originally known as the Tahitian Cocktail Lounge when opened by former owner and US Marine Bob Mills — who became enamoured with Polynesian culture while stationed in Bora Bora following World War II — Tiki Bar at the Waldorf became the first tiki room in the Pacific Northwest when it began shaking up Mai Tais, Daiquiris and Piña Coladas in 1955. Since 2013 it has been owned by Viaggio Hospitality Group, which also operates such local destinations as Ancora Waterfont Dining and Patio, UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar and Cibo Trattoria.
Behind the pine, Bar Manager Aimée Corvo (UVA, Homer St. Cafe and Bar, Maenam, The Acorn) will offer an inspired selection of handcrafted cocktails that pay homage to old classics culled from the Caribbean, Pacific and all points south with unique libations like the Mezcal-and-Cachaca-fuelled ‘Cobra Women’, sour-inspired ‘Trés Trés Tik’ and Pisco-and-tequila-powered ‘Beach Party’. The menu of tiki tipples also features signature shooters and retro boozy bowls perfect for groups that are served aflame and pack a true tiki punch.
On the food menu, Tiki Bar features Polynesian-inspired fare including highlights such as tiki wings (teriyaki glaze, five spice), tuna poke stack (Hawaiian tuna poke, fresh avocado, wasabi aioli), tequila lime prawns (tequila marinated tiger prawns, grilled pineapple salsa), tiki burger (teriyaki glazed ground chuck, grilled pineapple, caramelized onion, tomato & teri-mayo) and Maui ribs (full rack, Maui-inspired glaze).
“We want our guests to be instantly transported to a lush piece of Polynesia when they walk through the doors or order one of our signature cocktails,” says Tiki Bar General Manager Brenton Smith, who joins the Tiki team following positions at Granville Island Brewing and Whistler’s O&R Entertainment. “This spot has long been a favourite for locals and visitors alike and we’re excited to keep channeling that tropical feel and providing an exotic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.”
Tiki Bar at the Waldorf is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. with happy hour food and drink specials on offer from 5 to 7 p.m. as well as live nightly entertainment featuring a rotating roster of local musicians and DJs. On Wednesdays, the Tiki Bar will take guests on a trip to the bygone Hollywood era of Tiki with karaoke hosted by Awesome Entertainment.