Pilikia

Dallas, TX
Bar
33
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3113 Ross Ave
Dallas, TX
Opened in January 2017
Tue-Fri 5pm-2am
Sat 7pm-2am
closed Sun & Mon
(214) 263-2915

Critiki ratings

Pilikia

6.8

Overall

by 9 people

1

10

Detail
Everyone You
Decor 7.8
Drink Quality 6.5
Drink Selection 7.5
Food Quality 9
Food Selection 8
Mood 7.7
Music 3.6
Service 8.5
Tikiness 7.5
Tilt 4.1
Vibe 4.7

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Regulars & Visitors

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Humuhumu’s description

Pilikia is a tiki bar and nightclub in Dallas, the name means "trouble" in Hawaiian. It opened in late January 2017. They serve tiki drinks and shared bowl drinks, and have a small menu of food. The entrance is flanked by two tall tikis, with a large moai looking over. Inside, the decor is spare, with carved tiki stools, paper lantern lights, and some bamboo. There is an outdoor patio.

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Upcoming Visits
Regulars & Visitors
  • Tiki_embibe
  • Grande Kahu
  • Acronotus
  • A'Pau-ling
  • theatomickid1959
  • gellyfish
  • Guitiki
  • Rumbuddy
View all 14 Pilikia regulars & visitors
Comments
Grande Kahu
Grande Kahu has visited Pilikia.
February 27, 2017, 9:26 AM
Pilikia's recent opening makes them Dallas's only tiki bar at the moment (but not the only place serving tiki drinks), so there was a great deal of optimism that they would be able to do it, mostly, right by tiki aficionados eager to have a new spot since the closing of Trader Vic's here years ago. Understandably, given the fickle nature of bar- and restaurant-goers in the region, they sought to bring the renewed popularity of tiki to a model that has been repeated here with success, that of a upscale, club or club-like scene, complete with valet (typical for so many Dallas spots), bouncers, bottle service, house music, and wait staff in short black dresses. Although it's clearly more bar than restaurant, the approach reminds me more than a little of the ill-fated Hurricane Club in NYC and less-so, but perhaps more in the direction they are aiming, of Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago. So, it's a bit of a let-down for the dedicated tiki enthusiast or anyone wanting to enjoy a more casual experience that one typically associates with the informality of a tiki bar. No, it's not formal per se, but it is the kind of place where it's about being seen and for 20-somethings to gawk over and post endless selfies with their "awesome mugs." Not that selfies are a mood killer, but getting to the point and drawing up all the love for the attempt, their attempt to bridge the realms of classic tiki bar with hip club leans more toward the latter. The decor, especially upon first impression, is quite good, aside from a cribbed-together entry portico that looks less island casual than backyard tiki party after a run to a big-box store for decor. The dark interior, peacock chairs, pufferfish lights, and a wall of backlit skulls reminiscent of Three Dots and a Dash, but larger (hey, Texas) sets out a nice vibe. A covered patio with paper lanterns and bamboo trim also works well, even if more sparsely decorated and open than one might like (unless you are there to be noticed). But upon closer inspection some of the details don't hold up particularly well. Especially those "I ran out to the party store" tikis, stools, and brightly-painted masks and the lost opportunities of the bar itself with its glass-less lantern-style fixtures and its elaborate c.1900 barback that's more grand hotel than Polynesian paradise. If we waive off the latter as eclecticism, then we turn to the drinks and service. To get it out of the way, yes, they have bottle service where the egotists can spend $400 on a $30 bottle of gin or plunk down $2,000 for "The Heart of the Ocean" (I'm not sure naming your most expensive drink after a necklace in the movie Titanic is really a great thing). The drink, which consists of a twin bottles of Dom champagne, vodka, and a treasure chest, is meant for a large group, but like all such excesses, is truely meant to prove how much money you can blow in a single pop and thereby impress (or disgust) your guests or neighbors. So, the tiki drinks themselves include a few standards like the Zombie, Fogcutter, and "Trader Vic's Mai Tai" even as those drinks taste like distant cousins of their namesakes. And, after trying some drinks twice, I found you will get two different tastes from the same (at least in name) drink. There is little consistency beyond a single flavor profile such as "the Zombie tastes of cinnamon" and that may mean the accompanying flavor is dilute strong rum with not much else going on. The Mai Tai, while professing to include the traditional ingredients, was entirely too sweet with sugar syrup or orgeat and the melting ice only contributed to what I'll term a sno-cone like reaction. We decided the drinks, including a couple of their own design, went from blandly passable, but not inspired, to bad imitations after the classics. The mugs and garnishes have no particular connection to the traditional here, and while it's not a matter to fixate over, I did miss fresh mint in the Mai Tai where a flower took its place. The wait service was fine, though as the hours pass and the club/bar fills, it became slower and less attentive. Returning during their 5-7 happy hour, we found the crowd decidedly smaller and the service more personal. Even the music, which after 8 seems to go into genres and volumes that will put off any exotica-loving conversationalist, is in the earlier hours mostly reggae. Their happy hour menu is different from the standard drink menu and, much to our surprise, included short drinks, including their version of a Bee's Knees, that were really quite good. After happy hour, I relented and asked the bartender to suggest any drink on the regular menu. He offered the Banana Old Fashioned, which seemed my last choice. Again, to my surprise, excellent. So, one may hope continued feedback may yet shift the rest of their bar offerings to a better place. Dallas, you have a tiki bar once again. Let's make the best of it and encourage the owners to do likewise.
Rumbuddy
Rumbuddy has visited Pilikia.
January 27, 2017, 8:16 PM
I was bitterly disappointed. And even worse, so were my guests, who were led on by my expectations and the Observer article to expect a genuine TiKi experience.

The only Hawaiian shirts to be seen were the matching uniforms of bartenders. The very fetching servers are right out of that 1980s Robert Palmer video, all wearing skimpy black dresses, red lip stick, flowers in their blond hair, and vacant looks in their eyes, which you only notice if you can pull your gaze from the, uh, plunging neckline...

Other than the pretty (useless) servers, the only factor meeting my TiKi expectations was that drink presentation was complete with mugs, coconuts, flowers, and garnishes- on some drinks, some of the time, anyway. I thought the drink menu was well-designed, and there is some interesting TiKi-ish decor. They are planning to host luau pig roasts on Sundays, which could offer redemption. The place was properly dim, and there were no TVs.

There was only valet parking available, and the first thing I did was trip on my way in, the entrance has an uneven walkway and steps, impossible to see in the dimness, and no caution markings. For just a moment, I thought the pseudo-bouncer was not going to let us pass his rope barrier. My son, who is 21 and arrived later, said he was carded, then let in, which explains why I noticed he wasn't carded at the bar, only 21 and up allowed inside.

Two of the Surf's Up drinks did not taste the same - no consistency, first was really nice, second was missing ingredients. Zombie? Forget about it - what there was of it, it seemed to be mostly ice. Maybe they ran out of or forgot their Velvet Falernum. And the cinnamon. They had skinny straws that kept clogging with slushy ice. My son enjoyed a banana old fashioned suggested by the bartender. The menu includes the jet pilot and a "Trader Vic's Mai Tai." There was a whole page of scorpion-bowl-type group drinks; we did not order from those.

Thumping club music - expected but still disappointing. Through the night, I remained the oldest person there - also disappointing, but also expected for the location. The manager-looking fellas were dressed in suits. The rest of the clientele was very casually dressed.

We had found the rare, non-reserved seating on the patio, but the smokers nearby finally ruined it and, since we never received service, we went and stood at the bar. After getting our round of drinks and chit-chat with my barside neighbor, and trading sips to sample each other's drinks, my party again looked for a place to sit that wasn't reserved. Again, no service.

We needed food - a must-have with that kind of drinking. Saw a couple of flaming pu-pu platters, and when I went to the bar and asked to order them, my bartender said he thought there were complimentary samples and to ask a server. The first I asked said she was bringing some to our area. Eventually, she brought something to another table and came and told us we could have some from their table because "that's all there is for your area." Well, the guests at that table did not even bother to remove their feet from resting on the low table as the server placed the ignored tray there, and as hungry as we were, that was never going to be an option. So I pleaded with another server to bring us something. She came back to us and said the kitchen was closed. Ten minutes later, another pu-pu platter arrived to other guests. The assumption we made was we were not the hipsters they were literally catering to. I settled our $100 bill - I was handed the bar tab credit card slip without an actual bill, so I have no idea what I was paying for or the prices - and we walked down the street to a sports bar feeling remarkably disrespected and disappointed.

This being the first night, I will give them a pass. I would try back after they get their drinks figured out-this is critical- especially if they do offer the pig roast, and it would be nice if they would ditch the club music at least on occasion. There's potentially still a good time to be had.
RumCharlie
RumCharlie has visited Pilikia.
January 27, 2017, 5:46 PM
Forgot to add, 20% tip was forced onto our ticket, which between one of us being inebriated, and the dark lighting, we thought was optional. We were not planning on tipping that much, because 20% not deserved, due to the subpart service, so we inserted cash into the ticket for our tip. So our waitress actually ended up getting almost a $60 tip. Uncool and unearned.
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