In bars, home décor, restaurants and more, Tiki style is making a comeback

By Rieva Lesonsky

Let me start this by admitting I might be a little prejudiced here—I love Tiki design. And I’m not certain this is not just a California trend. But since so many national trends start in California, I’d be remiss not to share this. According to the Orange County Register, “Tiki is making a comeback.”

Tiki is apparently not a literal translation of any one place. Tiki expert Matt Marble told the Register Tiki is “a bastardization of several cultures: Rapa Nui, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea.” The style was very popular back in the 1950s, but wasn’t embraced by baby boomers (except me, apparently) and faded away.

But the Tiki subculture is now flourishing “in California, Florida and other parts of the country,” according to the Register.

This style (which is often described as “kitschy”) revival affects home décor and design businesses, and is also rising in popularity for themed bars and restaurants. Granted, here in Southern California, restaurants like Don the Beachcomber have been around since the 1930s. A couple of year ago, Los Angeles magazine noted the Tiki comeback, specifically in bars. One restaurant/bar owner noted, “It’s the logical next genre of cocktail history that deserves to be explored and expanded on,” while another said the reintroduction of Tiki-type drinks was perfectly suited to today’s craft cocktail movement.

There’s even a website called where you can find Tiki fans and merchandise.