As a recently baptized (in a rum-based holy water) tikiphile, I've made it my mission to hit as many tiki bars in as many places as possible. I was excited at the prospect of checking out how the Polynesian pops on this side of the Atlantic since I'm in Milan and Paris for business.
I shouldn't have been.
According to Critiki, both cities are a barren wasteland devoid of my preferred brand of kitsch, and Critiki's creator Humuhumu even asks "Where's the Tiki in France" in her blog -- two years ago.
Which means I'll need to cowboy up and live off the memories of my last great tiki experience -- a trip to Frankie's Tiki Room in Las Vegas.
What's not to like about an off-the-Strip, authentically outfitted tiki bar open 24 hours a day? Especially one that serves a drink called the Tiki Bandit in a mug (from Tiki Farm) in the shape of a one-armed bandit?
I actually opted out of that one on favor of a Thurston Howl -- described thusly: "a powerful explosion of rum, brandy, gin and Pernod. A couple of these and Lovely Howell will look like Ginger Grant." (Who doesn't love a booze-related "Gilligan's Island" reference?)
The mug it was served in was a tiki with red dice for eyes -- similar to the one gracing the entrance. It kind of reminds me of the way I feel after a night in Vegas. (My own Ginger Grant brought home the Bearded Clam mug, realizing only later the situation it depicted involving a decidedly NSFW hula girl).
But, until I get back "in country" I'll have have to live off those Sin City memories.
Frankie's Tiki Room, 712 W. Charleston, Las Vegas (702) 385-3110.