Kon Tiki Lounge

Bar & Restaurant
4625 East Broadway
Tucson, Arizona, United States
Ph: (520) 323-7193 - Website
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Mon-Thu 11am-1am
Fri-Sat 10am-2am
Sun 10am-midnight
Opened in 1961
Defunct tiki not included,
distances are as the crow flies.
The Hut, Tucson 4.2 mi
6.8 km
The Shady Dell, Bisbee 80.4 mi
129.4 km
Giligin's Kon Tiki Lounge, Scottsdale 106.7 mi
171.7 km
Bikini Lounge, Phoenix 110.3 mi
177.5 km
Hula's Modern Tiki, Phoenix 112.3 mi
180.7 km
mug, 118
picture, 16, 117
Repainted vintage sign at Kon Tiki Lounge in Tucson
February 2007, photo by Mata-ki-Te-rani
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Humuhumu’s description:
The Kon Tiki Lounge (no relation to the Steven Crane Kon-Tiki chain) is a classic original tiki bar. Open since 1961, the Kon Tiki Lounge has seen modern-day Tucson grow up around it on all sides. It is tucked back a bit on its busy street, surrounded by strip malls and small office buildings. The small-looking building feels a bit out-of-place. There is an almost lush little garden area out front, with tikis and a small "water feature" -- Tucson's arid climate wouldn't easily support a pond, so a tiled mosaic pond is in its place, with a small walkable bridge over it. To the left of the building is a great old Milan Guanko tiki.

Inside, the restaurant is dark and mysterious, with no windows, and much of the original decor still in place. A former aviary behind the bar is a jarring flash of light -- it used to house parrots, then a lizard cage, now it is used as an outdoor patio space. Large bamboo, gorgeous light fixtures, and tikis aplenty are throughout. The room is structured with smaller sub-rooms encased by bamboo and thatch dividers, giving a feeling of coziness and mystery.

The menus are standard fare for an old tiki bar -- barbecue ribs & similar items for food, and lots of tropical drinks (though a bit on the sweet & sugary side).

Today, the Kon Tiki's future continues to look very bright. It has been kept open through the years with a never-ending supply of college kids who love the place and keep it packed on weekends. These people are who we have to thank for keeping the place alive, but it's a bit more enjoyable when visited earlier in the day or on a weeknight, when the music is more in keeping with the environs and the place isn't so packed with bodies that the decor can't be seen.

In recent years the management has been working on spiffing up the place, while keeping it classic. The Kon Tiki now has their own tiki mug, designed for the Milan Guanko tiki outside, and has undergone some sprucing up courtesy of Bamboo Ben. A new Bamboo Ben bar looks like it has always been there.

How to find it:
It's easy to miss it, as it is set back from the street a fair bit, and shielded by palm trees. The iconic sign is also set back, but keep your eyes peeled for it.
Parking:
The Kon Tiki Lounge is fronted by a large shared parking lot.
There are 12 comments.
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February 6, 2009, 9:38 PM
The Scorpions are worth the trip!

May 11, 2009, 10:02 AM
The Scorpions are worth calling someone for a ride home. Monkey on a stick. mmmmmm.....
vorpaltiki is a semi-regular at Kon Tiki Lounge.

July 22, 2009, 8:35 PM
Love the scorpion, the navy grog is good also. Monkey on a stick is the very best!
Deviledhoney is a semi-regular at Kon Tiki Lounge.

August 18, 2009, 4:37 PM
Las tortugas es la mas fina!
VOC is a regular at Kon Tiki Lounge.

May 19, 2010, 10:36 AM
I love the Kon Tiki! I'm so happy that it still exists! The drinks were perfectly tiki, drank the Lakanooki in a tiki farm collector tiki bowl. Took tons of pics, can't wait to road trip again to Arizona just to go back here!
thundergirl has visited Kon Tiki Lounge.

July 24, 2010, 11:40 AM
Perhaps I'm a bit biased, because Kon Tiki is my favorite hometown tiki bar, but I think it's a truly wonderful place, and it's nothing short of miraculous that it still exists in its present condition. As soon as you walk in, you have the sensation that this place has been there for a LONG time, which is true. The decor has a lived-in, "deep" feel that's very difficult to achieve in a newer bar: palm thatch on the walls, old wooden masks, lots of tikis, bamboo supports ... it IS a bit dusty, but that only adds to the overall old, mysterious feeling. My favorite place to sit is in one of the slightly raised seating areas (to your right as you walk in) sheltered by bamboo poles and thatch ... it really feels like you're relaxing in your own hut!

The drink menu is legendary - dozens of choices, from classic tiki cocktails to their own creations, and more than a few secret recipes - and, according to a newspaper article I read recently, the new owners have started using fresh fruit from their yard for some of the mixers. Pretty neat. The Scorpion bowl for 2 is the way to go if you're in for a night of it (seriously) ... otherwise, you can't go wrong with the Kon Tiki Mai Tai. My only knock against Kon Tiki, it pains me to say, is the service - on two recent visits it was criminally neglectful, although it's been ok in the past.

I would caution potential tikiphile visitors to avoid weekend nights, especially during the school year. The bar gets so loud that you can hardly hear yourself talk. On weeknights and during the summertime, there's a much more relaxed atmosphere and a fairly diverse crowd.

In any case, Kon Tiki is not to be missed if you're in or around Tucson. We're very fortunate to have it.
Wild Man of Wongo is a semi-regular at Kon Tiki Lounge.

September 5, 2010, 9:39 AM
I can only second Wild Man of Wongo's comments: This is an outstanding tiki bar/restaurant, one of the best still existing anywhere. The atmosphere is great, the drinks are well done, food surprisingly good, and excellent value (they even have free appetizers from 4-7 M-F). If you go, check out "Thor", Kon Tiki's large monitor lizard, in the habitat behind the bar. This place is a treasure, and we Tucsonians are lucky to have it!
tucsontiki is a regular at Kon Tiki Lounge, and is usually there weekdays late afternoon.

March 27, 2011, 6:33 PM
I'll have to disagree with all of the other comments here and say, "EPIC FAIL." Kon Tiki isn't a Tiki bar, it's a bar with a Tiki theme. It has no "vibe", no "kulture", and no reason for me to ever go back. From the miniute we walked through the door, I knew coming to Kon Tiki had been a mistake. The door was worked by 3 blimp-like bouncers, and I found this surprising, but when I made my way into he bar and saw the number of "thugs" there just chillin' and mean-muggin', I understood their necessity. I was expecting 2Pac or Wu-Tang to come booming onto the stereo at any minute. Not that this would have been a bad thing, because I would have actualy prefered this to the REM and Brittany Spears that was being played (Yes, REM and Brittany Spears - I'm not joking). The one TV I could see was broadcasting the local news - I guess it would be too much to ask for something like "The Endless Summer" to be shown. No drinks were served in Tiki Mugs, no Tiki mugs were even available for sale, and the waitress couldn't even tell me what was in any of the drinks. Even though the whole experience was terribly disappointing, I thought I'd buy a T-shirt to at least have a souviner (since I could't get a Tiki mug), but my disappointment continued as they had no XL's in ANY of their shirts. Kon Tiki was a huge let-down, and this is amplified by the fact that the place has such a long history, and seems like it could be a really cool place. Save yourself the disappointment and go to Trader Vic's in Phoenix, or hell, come hang-out in my basement: I can at least let you drink from a Tiki mug and tell you what's in your drink.
Right_D has visited Kon Tiki Lounge.

June 6, 2011, 11:05 PM
Not true tiki experience! The decor is there--the drinks are on the menu - they have food which is different for me--but the minuses were overwhelming. Inattentive staff (I hate watching people stand around and talk when I am ready to spend money in their establishment). The drinks are average--not crafted with attitude just barely concocted. The food is uninspired maybe the pupus are okay didn't order them. Kon Tiki is worth a visit but keep your expectations low. When you love tiki any tiki is good but some are head and shoulders above the rest.

December 28, 2011, 8:30 AM
I wanted to add a few comments to my earlier review, since there have been a few changes at Kon Tiki over the last year or so: first, the service has been much better in recent months; second, they've revamped the drink menu somewhat, keeping the classics but adding quite a few new drinks (my favorites so far are the Rum Punch and the Shark's Tooth); and finally, they have three lovely new tiki mugs for sale, all from Tiki Farm. It's still a treasure and a wonderful place to while the hours away - but, as I said, best enjoyed NOT on weekend nights, when it gets pretty loud and crowded.
Wild Man of Wongo is a semi-regular at Kon Tiki Lounge.

December 28, 2011, 8:32 AM
Oh, and I almost forgot ... They've added an outdoor patio where the monitor lizard's habitat used to be, so no more lizard :( It's a shame, but I won't complain about anything that helps them stay in business.
Wild Man of Wongo is a semi-regular at Kon Tiki Lounge.

May 19, 2014, 8:56 PM
On a recent drive from Texas back to California I stopped in Tucson for a little Tiki love and Kon Tiki was going to be my Oasis in the desert.
Drove up... looked right.
Stepped in... felt right
then...
Music... All wrong.
Bar... probably used to be right. Now it wants to be a local Sports Bar.
There was Tiki stuff on the menu but none of the drinks really tasted different. It was all just fruity junk with a shot of Rum.
The decor was really just what was left over from a era gone by. Feels more like stuff they left up cause it was to expensive to remodel. Sad Sad Sad. I was happy to get back to CA and The Bali Hai.

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