While the Seattle Trader Vic’s closed years ago, tiki culture hasn’t completely left the city. Started in the 1930s by Don the Beachcomber, quickly followed by Trader Vic’s, tiki culture and the fruity-but-strong cocktails thrived with America’s fascination with all things South Pacific until the 1970s. Now, with craft cocktail culture heating up, tiki cocktails are making a comeback, sometimes in unexpected places. If you’d like a bit of a tropical getaway while in town, fear not. Seattle’s got your tiny umbrella ready and waiting.
This classic spot in Ballard has it all—scrumptious seafood, a deck overlooking the beautiful Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains, and some slushie-style cocktails served in a festive tiki goblet. Their Blue Hawaiian includes vodka, blue curaçao, pineapple and citrus; the Rock Lobster features rum, coconut, pineapple, grenadine and orange juice and the Pirates Peach has rum, coconut, pineapple, peach and cream with a rum float.
No Bones Beach Club
Colorful lanterns, woven grass walls and rattan chairs evoke the tropics at this Ballard bar, which serves tasty spins on classic tiki drinks such as mai tais along with its own creative cocktails. (We love Hemingway’s Vacation: white rum, grapefruit juice, lime, grapefruit liqueur and rose wine.) The bar's name refers to its all-vegan menu, which features meat-free dishes like cauliflower "wings," tempeh kabobs and beer-battered avocado tacos.
A relative newcomer to the Ballard neighborhood, this spot serves Korean- and Mexican-inspired food (think tamales, beef and pork skewers, tortas and kimchi fried rice) alongside tiki-inspired cocktails. Try the Puka Punch, a blend of rums and citruses served in a pineapple and meant for two people; the Missionary’s Downfall with honey, pineapple and rum; or one of their daily daiquiris. There’s also a late-night walk-up window for food called Sexy Alley Puffy Tacos.
Every Monday, uber-hip (yet decidedly laid-back) Belltown cocktail bar Rob Roy transforms itself into Tangaroa Roy, and its expert bartenders apply their fine mixology skills to creating unique tiki drinks such as the Banana Stand with .5 oz Laphroaig 10 year scotch whisky, banana liqueur, cinnamon syrup, yellow chartreuse and allspice dram, and the Wooden Leg with Wooden Leg with amaro sibilla, rum and velvet falernum. Bartop bowls of Goldfish crackers are a fitting way to help quell the munchies.
If you’re looking for a tiki bar of yore, head to Hula Hula on Capitol Hill. Bamboo? Check. Carved wooden statues? Check. Murals featuring hula girls? Check. In addition to their menu of classic bar food, pizza, and tiki bar staples, the drinks include the Hula Girl with Brandy, creme de apricot, lemon juice, demerara syrup, allspice dram; Pineapple Express with Four Roses bourbon infused with grilled pineapple and secret spices, lemon and pineapple juices; and the Volcano Bowl, with a mix of Bacardi flavored rums, citrus, pineapple juice, punch, soda water and Bacardi 151, which is served on fire. Hula Hula also has karaoke seven nights a week starting at 9 pm.
The new Palladian Hotel’s Pennyroyal Bar has tiki Sundays, which feature a rotating list of refreshing cocktails and Caribbean food specials from 3-7 pm. You’ll find things like the Cappadonna, with scotch, gin, tequila, pineapple, grapefruit and angostura; the RZA with Rhum St. Barth, Kronan Swedish Punsch, Velvet Falernum and Hopshnop; the Lyrical Flavor with Rittenhouse rye Overproof rum, Rossbacher, crème de mure and lime or the Ghostface Killah with bourbon, Batavia Arrack, coconut liqueur, lime, banana and bitters.