Tiki Culture, Everything You Need To Know About Tiki History

by Content Creator

Coffee shops that resemble spacecraft, tropical landscaping, and a variety of Tikis represent a specific period in mid-century California. Tiki culture arose during America's "Golden Age of Pop Culture," when everything was boldly goofy and distant countries were glorified.

If you think of a tiki cocktail, you're probably picturing tiny umbrellas floating in a distinctive Polynesian-style cup. And all of that is, to a large extent, true. On the other hand, Tiki is a whole, proud cocktail genre, complete with suspense, heritage, epic stories, and plenty of interesting props.

What Is Tiki Culture:

Tiki culture is technically characterized by the post-World War II era's fascination with Polynesia, which began with the tiki bar and ended with the hippie movement of the 1960s.

Tiki culture is defined by a Polynesian concept, which includes tiki sculptures, palm trees, torches, fruity cocktails, bright colors, and an abundance of rattan decor.

Tiki Culture

From the 1930s through the 1970s, tiki drinks, often known as "exotics," were at the peak of style. To be more specific, Tiki originated more than 80 years ago, in 1934, when a guy named Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gant launched Don the Beachcomber, a bar in Hollywood.

History of Tiki Culture

The origins of the tiki movement may be traced back to the 1933 founding of Don's Beachcomber, which subsequently became Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood. Ernie Gantt (nicknamed Donn Beach) founded the first tiki bar in the United States.

Tikidom was founded by a guy known as "Don the Beachcomber," or "Donn Beach, " less commonly known as Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt. He was born in 1907 in Texas. Others then followed in his footsteps after watching the popularity of tiki culture growing.

  • Don The Beachcomber

Don made the journey to the South Pacific and rum-scented Caribbean after realizing he needed to explore more about the world. He gained knowledge about enjoying his life.

When Don returned to the United States, he wanted to recreate the atmosphere he had seen in the tropics, so he established Don the Beachcomber, the world's first Tiki bar, in Los Angeles in 1934.

 He infused the lowest price wine at the time, rum into the fabric of his institution, including the renowned cocktail list. The bar and restaurant were a blockbuster, and it ultimately grew to 20 locations, inspiring dozens of new competitors.

Tiki Culture

People came to the pub for its unique ambiance, potent but delicious rum drinks, and unusual cuisine, including celebrities.

  • Hinky Dinks

"Trader" Vic Bergeron established a similar pub in Oakland (initially called Hinky Dinks, but renamed Trader Vic's in 1937, which drew crowds for its Polynesian-themed cocktails and food. Vic was able to set up more sites as a result of its popularity.

Vic was willing to open more shops due to its popularity, including in Seattle and Hawaii. A craze was developing as people loved the trend. A few other significant events prepared the path for America's interest in the tropics in the figurative sense.

  • World War 2:

When American troops returned home with tales of sunlight and turquoise oceans during World War II, the people wanted to know more about this culture. Tiki wholesale has been trendy since people loved its different and unique concept.

Gantt was deployed during WWII, so his wife took over administration of the club and grew it into a 16-location chain. Tiki culture, which was inspired by Polynesian art, style, and attitudes, grew in popularity in America throughout the 1940s and 1950s, fueling the success of the two businesses even more since people wanted to get away from pressure and effort.

  • Evolving Dispute

In 1966, actor Stephen Crane founded the Kon Tiki Ports network of luxury tiki bars and restaurants, which became Chicago's most prominent restaurant by throughput and made moreover than $2.3 million.

Even though Bergeron and Crane claimed they learned the tiki trade from Gantt, who is widely regarded as the "Father of the American Tiki Bar," there was some aggression and rivalry among these tiki monarchs.

Bergeron and Gantt are both said to have developed the mai tai, considered the most famous tiki beverage, a dispute erupted. Though the ingredients were the same, Bergeron's was simpler - rum, lime juice, orange liqueur, and orgeat syrup — and he is widely credited with creating the iconic cocktail.

  • Tiki Music:

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, tiki bars and restaurants remained popular, complimenting other related ethnicities and serving as a foundation for California surf culture and tiki-inspired films and television series.

Tiki music, which can be divided into two categories: exotica music and surf music, arose during this period in Southern California. This music can be enjoyed on the Tiki app.

The former is described as "plant and palm tree music," emphasizing drumming and Hawaiian instruments like the ukulele and steel guitar. It featured huge names like Les Baxter and Martin Denny.

Tiki Music

Tiki is tied closely to California surf culture, mainly to surf music, which is perhaps the soundtrack most strongly associated with tiki culture today.

This type of music, made famous by bands such as Dick Dale and the Del-Tones and the Surfaris, has a guitar-heavy sound with rhythm hand-picking and musical methods initially employed to mimic waves.

Polynesia made cameo cameos in notable blockbuster films like Elvis Presley's "Blue Hawaii" and "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" while surf culture grew. The Polynesian pop obsession remained popular far into the 1960s

But as the decade progressed, it began to fade from prominence. The "free love" age rejected the subject as old-fashioned, culturally inappropriate, and in terrible taste, according to Henderson and Foshko.

Generations of Tiki culture

There are four generations of Tiki culture. Tiki historians classify the interest in tiki culture that prevailed in the middle of the twentieth century — particularly between the 1920s and 1960s, closing with the Baby Boomers' rejection of the subculture. It was the first generation, followed by second and then third.

The second and third waves erupted in the late 1970s and mid-1990s. A collection of tiki-related novels were published around the start of the century, igniting the fourth wave. We're well into a fifth wave, as seen by the numerous modern tiki bars and restaurants still open, and a real comeback is happening.

Generations of Tiki culture

Name of Generation


First Generation


Second Generation


Third Generation


Fourth Generation


Fifth Generation



While tiki culture reached a height in the mid-nineteenth century, many individuals still strive to maintain and sustain its ideas and style.

The new wave is designed to embrace the subculture's shortcomings, most notably its tendency for popular culture, and stress that tiki culture was influenced by various cultures, including Hawaiian, Brazilian, Caribbean, and American.

Tiki culture is still a representation of exploration and freedom, two qualities still in high demand. That, we believe, is deserving of a mai tai!

The Essentials Of Style

Wooden masks and sculptures, hula girls, lava stones, Bamboo, thatched surfaces, and few other Southern Pacific accessories are part of the Tiki aesthetic.

Mermaids have even been seen in massive tanks at certain Tiki bars. Although there are no genuine mermaids, Daryl Hannah did swim at the Sip 'N Dip in Great Falls, Montana.

Tiki The Essentials Of Style

Craft cocktails have disappeared from the cocktail industry, leaving bargoers with ultra-sweet, inferior drinking alternatives. It was only a matter of time until the tiki drink was revived from its tomb, thanks to this increased interest in crafting excellent cocktails.


Tiki bars are known for three things: innovative beverages, fantastic food, and friendly service. A considerable part of the future generation of tiki carvers, architects, and musicians celebrate the Polynesian way of life.

 Modern-day bartenders are rediscovering the realm of tropical cocktails, and the godfathers of Tiki's spirituous inventions can now be found at watering holes all over the world. Scorpions, Rangoon Rubys, Zombies, and, of course, the Mai Tai – cocktail umbrella included – provide a taste of paradise once more.