Cocktails & Spirits

The Hukilau Returns with a Weekend-Long Immersive Tiki Experience

The Hukilau is more than just a typical cocktail party — it's a five-day immersion into tiki culture.
The Hukilau returns with a weekend of tiki cocktails and retro fun,
The Hukilau returns with a weekend of tiki cocktails and retro fun, Photo by Ian Witlen
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This weekend, hundreds of people — many clad in colorful shirts depicting flowers or cocktails — will converge on the Beachcomber Resort & Club in Pompano Beach for the 22nd annual Hukilau.

This celebration of tiki culture is more than just a typical cocktail party — it's more of a five-day immersion into tiki culture. Though America has been fascinated with the Polynesian Islands for more than a century, the country hit peak tiki after World War II, when thousands of GIs returned to their homes after spending time in the Pacific Islands, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

Tiki culture and the cocktails, music, and gear are an all-immersive experience that's still very much alive today, as can be evidenced by South Florida's love for the iconic Mai-Kai, which is undergoing an extensive multi-million dollar renovation before its anticipated reopening.

Though held in Pompano Beach, the Hukilau attracts people from across the country and beyond for its robust schedule of live music, food, parties, shopping for collectibles, seminars, fire dance shows, an Elvis impersonator, a movie under the stars, and, of course, an update on the Mai-Kai.

Best of all, there are classic tiki cocktails. Each year, bartenders from some of the finest tiki bars worldwide fly in to showcase their creations. This year, the lineup includes Bar Tiki (Clearwater Beach), Bare Bones Tiki (Fort Lauderdale), Dirty Dick (Paris), Doc Parks (San Francisco), Don the Beachcomber (Tampa), Esotico (Miami), Hidden Harbor (Pittsburgh), the Hono (Dunedin), the Inferno Room (Indianapolis), Luau Lads (Jacksonville), Mak-Kai (Fort Lauderdale), Tiki Tatsu-Ya ( Austin), TikiTiki Bang Bang (Cincinnati), Tiki Underground (Cuyahoga Falls), Tonga Hut (Los Angeles), and Ventiki (Ventura).

Cocktail and tiki aficionados won't want to miss seminars by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, David Wondrich, and Tiki Tom Tom, who will delve into the history of tiki cocktails. Additional seminars include cigar and rum pairings, an update on the Mai-Kai's renovation, lei-making workshops, and book panels.

According to the tiki-centric site, the Atomic Grog, other activities include a live recording of Spike's Breezeway Cocktail Hour video show and a live performance by the Disasternauts, a retro beach band featuring musical "space chimps" playing '60s-era beach music.

In addition to the festivities at the Beachcomber Resort in Pompano Beach, Miami's Esotico (1600 NE First Ave. #102, Miami; will host a rum pairing dinner with Beachbum Berry on Monday, June 12 at 7:45 to close out the weekend.

Whether you come for a day or the entire weekend, be sure to break out your finest Hawaiian shirt and most comfortable flip-flops and be prepared to sip, ship, and dance.

The Hukilau. Thursday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11, at the Beachcomber Resort & Club, 1200 S. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach; Tickets cost $59 to $156.70.
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