Exploring San Diego


Interactive map: Where to celebrate San Diego's tiki scene

false idol san diego tiki bar.jpeg
Posted at 3:40 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 18:40:55-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego summers are prime for a little R&R and if possible, a tropical drink by your side.

In San Diego, tiki culture has long helped residents and visitors soak up the sun. While the area's fascination with Polynesian Pop dates back 90 years, it's new players that are helping to keep the cocktail craft alive.

In 1928, The Aloha Cafe in Tijuana hit the scene during the Prohibition era and held down a spot for more than 80 years, according to Classic San Diego. It would stand the test of time until a fire in 2011, but it's lasting effect on the region remains.

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San Diego's first "pre-tiki" nightclub would come in 1935 with The Tropic Cafe and so on as more tiki bars would crop up. In 1954, The Bali Hai made San Diego home and ushered in a long lasting tiki stop locally.

While nationwide tiki culture faded in the 1970s and 80s, it never truly left San Diego. Perhaps it's the city's weather and beach lifestyle. Maybe the bevvy of palm trees. Whatever the reason, San Diego has always maintained a tiki flare.

Today, places like The Grass Skirt and False Idol continue to fuel the tiki fun. Here's where to find a coconut mug and stiff tiki drink: