Fort Lauderdale, FL
Bar, Restaurant, Store & Floor Show
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3599 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Opened in 1956
Open daily at 5pm
dinner til 10:30pm Sun-Thu
til 11:30pm Fri & Sat
All ages in restaurant,
21+ only in bar
(954) 563-3272
Fire dancers,
flaming Kona Coffee Grog,
Mystery Drink,
flambeed desserts

Critiki ratings




by 291 people



Everyone You
Decor 10
Drink Quality 9.5
Drink Selection 10
Food Quality 9
Food Selection 9.6
Mood 10
Music 9.9
Service 9.7
Tikiness 10
Tilt 10
Vibe 9.9

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Regulars & Visitors

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Humuhumu’s description

The Mai-Kai is perhaps the last of the grand Polynesian palaces still operating from when tiki was at its peak in the late '50s and early '60s. That the Mai-Kai not only still exists today, but is vibrant and thriving, is something we should all be very grateful for—but not take for granted.
The Mai-Kai was opened in 1956 by two brothers from Chicago, Bob and Jack Thornton, in an age when roadside attractions were springing up all over Florida; eventually Bob took over the business. Like many of these attractions, the Mai-Kai grew over time to be quite a spectacle—it includes eight dining rooms, a bar that on its own would stand as perhaps the best tiki bar in the world, tropical gardens with walking paths and waterfalls, a stage in the center to showcase the Polynesian floor show, and of course, a gift shop.
Today, experiencing the Mai-Kai is much as it was in the '60s. The experience begins as you listen to the wooden slat bridge you drive over to reach the porte cochere and valets. As you enter the restaurant, you are greeted by an elegant maitre'd. Be sure to bring some singles when you visit the restroom, as the bathroom has attendants on hand to assist you. The Mai-Kai's manager is Kern Mattei, who took over the position from his father.
When you're drinking at the Mai-Kai, you're drinking tiki history. The bar program here was created by legendary bartender Mariano Licudine, who came from the Don the Beachcomber
Don the Beachcomber
Chicago, IL
Bar & Restaurant
in Chicago, and brought Don the Beachcomber drinks with him.
Bob and Jack have passed away, and the restaurant is now run by Bob's wife Mirielle. Bob met Mirielle when she joined the Mai-Kai as a Tahitian dancer, and still today she runs the Mai-Kai's Polynesian revue. As new dances are added to the show, Mirielle first visits the island where the dance originates to ensure it will be performed properly and will be blessed by its people. All dining rooms overlook the popular show, and dinner reservations are recommended.
The enchanting nature of the female form is something that is celebrated throughout Polynesian pop, but perhaps nowhere quite so extensively as the Mai-Kai. The beautiful waitresses to this day are attired in bikini tops and wraparound sarongs. For many years, a Mai-Kai calendar was offered featuring the many beautiful women of the Mai-Kai. This worship reaches its zenith with the Mystery Drink, delivered by the Mystery Girl, an experience that must be witnessed to be fully appreciated, so I will not describe it here, but rather urge you to visit the Mai-Kai yourself and order one.
In February 2015, the Mai-Kai was added to the National Register of Historic Places.


KillDevilJones has visited Mai-Kai.
April 19, 2018, 7:56 PM
There are no words. If you love tiki, this is the place. It was overwhelming and beautiful and delicious and historical and cool and everything I wanted it to be. The drinks were delicious. That’s the first thing. The tiki-ness, the vibe, the tilt, whatever you call it, was outstanding. I took 9 friends who had no idea what they were in for, and they were all blown away. I was like a kid at Disneyland. It was a dream come true. If you ever, EVER have the chance to go, don’t miss this classic tiki wonderland. It dos not disappoint.
TikiTravis has visited Mai-Kai.
June 22, 2017, 12:59 PM
I was there last night. It was, simply, the best tiki experience I've ever had. The drinks, food, decor... and the Polynesian show! I wish I would have been there earlier to get a better seat- I was way in the back on the side. :( But, from what I could see and hear, it was amazing. The musicians are especially tight, and clearly highly proficient at this art form. It was like walking back in time with the wait staff having different tiers, and Captains in white suits directing the traffic. My new goal? To be there with three others, so I can order the Mystery Drink...
mikehooker is a semi-regular at Mai-Kai.
March 8, 2017, 3:20 PM
Tiki doesn't get any better than this.

Growing up in Ft Lauderdale we were fortunate enough to spend many drunken nights in the Molokai Bar when they were doing two for one drinks during happy hour. Thankfully they changed it to half off drinks so you can get a different cocktail each round which allows you to better explore the vast menu. The 151 Swizzle, Jet Pilot and Rum Barrel are among my favorites. And the pupu's. Oh the pupu's.

Living in Texas for the past 10 years we've made a point to "visit family" in Lauderdale once or twice a year, but really we only return to spend time at the Mai Kai. In 2015 we got married there, out in the gardens and had an amazing reception in the Tahiti Room which included a private show from three of the floor show dancers. Greatest day ever.

There is no grander place in the world.
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Articles in Critiki News

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Upcoming Visits
visiting on
Monday, May 7, 2018
for the first time
creepy tiki
visiting on
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Can’t wait
visiting on
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
for the first time
This visit will be for my 32nd birthday.
I’m very much looking forward to it, especially since their Barrel o’ Rum is one of their Wednesday specials!
Regulars & Visitors
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View all 412 Mai-Kai regulars & visitors