Chris Schmicker
for Valet.

Tiki, Minus the Tacky

To most, the words "tiki bar" conjure up Elvis-era visions of tourists in Hawaiian shirts, fruit-flavored slush in souvenir mugs, maybe even a twanging ukelele. But as with all trends, tiki has returned and Polynesian-themed cocktail lounges and restaurants have cropped up from coast to coast. This new class of contenders—Lani Kai, Painkiller and The Hurricane Club in New York (at right), Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco, and Tiki Bar at Soho Beach House in Miami—has ditched the kitsch, opting instead for a subtler approach to tropical style. We checked in with The Hurricane Club's Michael Stillman to get his tips for an at-home tiki experience.

Bring it Home
Tiki turns tacky with cheap, over-the-top accessories. You can make a few exceptions though for memorable effect, like lighting torches if you're outdoors or finding vintage tiki cups.
Use fresh produce like melons, coconuts or red peppers as vessels for drinks.
Cooking anything over a real fire adds a feeling of ruggedness.
Your menu should help to set the tone. Invest in a festive focal point, like a roasted suckling pig. Your guests will never forget it.

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