classic

Mai-Kai

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

Mai-Kai

9.8

Overall

by 251 people

1

10

Detail
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

Upcoming Visits

Regulars & Visitors

View all 318 Mai-Kai regulars & visitors

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
history
Don the Beachcomber
Chicago, IL
Bar & Restaurant
10
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.

How to find it

5

Parking

There is a large parking lot with valets.

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Articles in Critiki News

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Upcoming Visits
sawalker
visiting on
Friday, June 9, 2017
Hukilau trip 😀🍹🍍
Tiki Tim
visiting on
Saturday, July 1, 2017
for the first time
Birthday dinner!
The Porkchop Express
visiting on
Thursday, August 10, 2017
for the first time
tiki-kath
visiting on
Sunday, October 1, 2017
for the first time
referencefox
visiting on
Friday, November 10, 2017
for the first time
Regulars & Visitors
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  • A'Pau-ling
View all 318 Mai-Kai regulars & visitors
Comments
mikehooker
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.
JennyTiki
JennyTiki has visited Mai-Kai.
February 15, 2017, 7:53 AM
WOW!!! I schedule a visit here each year now and fly out of the way to get here! It's TOTALLY worth it!!! You'll feel like a kid a Christmas or like the first time you went to Disney as a kid. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!
ChicagoTiki
ChicagoTiki has visited Mai-Kai.
February 5, 2017, 3:39 PM
This is it. Every other tiki bar is judged against this. Drinks, food, decor, grandeur. The best.
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