The Bizarre Rise and Fall of the Tiki Bar
on 22/04/15 at 9:09 amBooze News
In the 1950s and ’60s, an epidemic of island fever swept the United States. Tiki-themed structures spread like jungle vines, taking the form of garden-style apartments in Redondo Beach, California and Polynesia-inspired motor lodges in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. Amway, the quintessential midwestern enterprise, sold jade-green tiki soaps in the shape of Moai. Barely a decade after the Bataan Death March, Americans couldn’t get enough rattan furniture for their living rooms basement bars. For some rum-soaked reason, millions of American adults wanted their lives to feel like a never-ending trip to the Rainforest Cafe.
Tiki Pop: America Conjures Up Its Own Polynesian Paradise is a superb new book by Sven A. Kirsten, published by Taschen, that helps explain how America became obsessed with the idea of living on a beach where the skies were always sunny, women were beautiful, and drinks were strong.