Don the Beachcomber - Tiki Makeke in Huntington Beach - For the Love of Tiki
Tiki lovers, artists, and vendors came together under the roof of the famed Don the Beachcomber’s in Huntington Beach on Saturday for Tiki Makeke. In case you didn’t know, makeke is the Hawaiian word for market. But this is much more than a marketplace. This is a celebration of all things tiki.
The expansive Huntington Beach location is an homage to the original 1930s LA establishment created by Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt (aka Donn Beach). It’s the perfect place to hold an indoor event of this nature with numerous dining rooms, bars and a ballroom completely decked out in island style. Each room was filled with vendors showcasing their amazing art, sculptures, and antique trinkets that help to tiki-up any abode.
The first thing I needed when I stepped inside was a drink. Stepping inside the dimly lit Dagger Bar took me far away from the hustle of the market and to a distant island lounge (at least in my mind). Under a puffer fish light, I looked through the list of exotic cocktails and settled on a classic Zombie served in a beautifully crafted signature rum barrel mug. After one taste, I was kicking back and enjoying the full flavors brought out from a tot (a measure of rum) of 151 Demerara.
There’s much more to a cocktail than just what’s in the glass. The visual aspect of how a drink is served is often overlooked and adds its own sensory flavor. I think that’s a big part of the appeal of the tiki mug. It brings you into its world with every sip of vibrant flavors. If you don’t already have a mug, you can find the perfect one at Tiki Makeke. Each is a piece of art with a story. That’s more than can be said for other glassware.
Tiki culture has experienced a strong resurgence thanks to a close-knit community with an affection for retro style. It isn’t just about decorating a bar with flotsam and drinking rum. It means something different to everyone. To some it may be the thrill of escapism to a far flung corner of the world or going back in to another era in time. And to some it may just be about the drinks, but that’s okay too.
To me it’s about enjoying life on island time, appreciating a unique artform, and bringing back a style that can never die. My family always had a deep appreciation for island decor. That still continues to this day and is evident in my personal style at work and play.
Keep your eye out and don’t miss the next Tiki Makeke at Don the Beachcomber’s!