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A-frames
A-frames
The architectural icon of Polynesian Pop. A mix of the traditional meeting houses of the South Pacific, and the traditional meeting houses of Southern California (roadside diners).
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Advertisements
Advertisements
Clippings from newspapers, travel guides, and even old phone directories, these old ads sing the praises of tropical escapes.
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Ashtrays
Ashtrays
At restaurants dedicated to escape, leisure and relaxation, naturally there was an ashtray for every table.
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Brochures
Brochures
Selling a dream evening, a dream vacation, or even a dream lifestyle—all are full of rich visuals designed to suck you in.
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Drinks
Drinks
Tiki’s most practical contribution to society: the perfection of the tropical drink. Enjoy photos, illustrations and menu descriptions, with no hangover.
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Matchbooks
Matchbooks
Flames aren't just for volcano bowls and fire dancers: matchbooks and matchboxes were once everywhere.
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Menus
Menus
“Polynesian cuisine”—in truth, typically just Chinese food or ribs—was sold by elaborate menu presentations. Come for the covers, stay for the descriptions and prices!
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Moai
Moai
The curious “big stone heads” from Rapa Nui (Easter Island) have appeal both for their pleasing graphic simplicity, and their mysterious origins.
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Murals
Murals
Large painted scenes of life in the tropics—with sandy beaches, palm trees, dancing and fishing—enhance the island illusion.
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Napkins
Napkins
Something as disposable as a small paper napkin wasn’t meant to last decades, but a few have remarkably made it.
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Outriggers
Outriggers
Canoes with stabilizing outriggers allowed Polynesians to explore the massive Pacific, and are a common motif in Polynesian Pop.
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Polynesian Dance
Polynesian Dance
Traditional dances lend some realism to an otherwise faux paradise. Lots of fire, lots of hips... hey now, keep your eyes on the hands!
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Postcards
Postcards
These Technicolor missives to home are the best source we have for learning what the insides and outsides of long-gone tiki hotspots looked like.
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Renderings
Renderings
Idealized versions of an already idealized version of the South Pacific: these artists’ conceptions of restaurants, hotels and attractions exemplify Polynesian Pop.
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Tapa
Tapa
Traditional cloth made by pounding bark into thin sheets, which are then painted with repeating patterns using brown dye.
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Waterfalls
Waterfalls
Water features, especially waterfalls, have been a big part of Polynesian Pop decorating and landscaping.
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The South Pacific Room, Vista
added 7/18/14
Tonga Room, San Francisco
updated 7/18/14
The Exotica, Glendale
added 7/17/14
Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, Anaheim
updated 7/17/14
Tiki-Ti, Los Angeles
updated 7/17/14
more...
Mai-Kai, Fort Lauderdale
Oceanic Arts, Whittier
The Enchanted Tiki Room, Anaheim
Hale Pele, Portland
Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco
more...
Dr. Coruba on
Solomons Island Tiki Bar, Solomons
7/19/14 7:52AM
Dr. Coruba on
Honolulu Restaurant, Alexandria
7/19/14 7:45AM
tabuzak on
Otto's Shrunken Head, New York
7/19/14 5:33AM
Peniamina on
Disney's Polynesian Resort, Orlando
7/16/14 10:01AM
Humuhumu on
Mar Vista Lanes, Los Angeles
7/15/14 10:32AM
more...