Category Archives: Tiki Mugs

Forbidden Island Porthole Mug

forbidden island porthole mugFor weeks teasers about the new Forbidden Island Tiki Mug had floated around. Nothing concrete, just “it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen” and “it’s really cool”. No prodding could get anyone to drop more information, there was nothing to do but show up at Forbidden Island on April 3rd for the 3 pm opening, and see it for ourselves.

We had just parked on Sherman, just around the corner from Forbidden Island, when my boyfriend says… “oh no, a line”. Sure enough, we blew it. It was new mug release day, and when we showed up at 3:15, the line was already stretched down Lincoln and around the corner.

But we weren’t going to give up. Bracing ourselves, we jumped into line with fellow Tiki-philes, and resigned ourselves to a WAIT.

Rumors swirled… “They only made 100 limited edition mugs” was the scariest. We counted the people in front of us and watched Aloha Shirt clad people leave Forbidden Island with 2 and even 3 cardboard boxes. I admit my emotions roller-coastered a bit every time I saw another mug box leave… yet someone leaving meant another seat opened up inside.

forbidden island tiki loungeSomeone said it was so packed inside, that even the Kill Devil Club members had to wait. Not good.

People gave up… other people joined the line… one couple made cracks about crazy Tiki Mug collectors (grrrrr…. I notice that didn’t stop them from jumping into the line ahead of us when they saw “friends”).

After an hour of making new friends and swapping Tiki Bar stories the seas parted, our IDs were checked, and we were granted admission to the hallowed bamboo hall…

I’ve been to Forbidden Island on busy nights (can you say New Year’s Eve), and this crowd rivaled those times. All the seats were full. People were elbow to elbow, waiting their turn to order the Porthole. But as crazy as things were in front of the bar, behind the bar was a choreographed frenzy of pouring, mixing, and concocting. I really have to hand it to the crew. They were absolutely amazing under the pressure! Orders were constantly being peppered at them, folks were thirsty from the long wait and the anticipation of trying something new… but they never missed a beat. Poor Autumn was run off her Converse sneakers keeping up with serving, but she never lost her smile, or her composure.

And then we saw it… and it really was like nothing we had ever seen before… the Forbidden Island Porthole mug.

Forbidden Island Porthole Mug

forbidden island porthole mugTo really appreciate this mug, you should first see it in the dim lighting of a Tiki Bar. Doug Horne (of Octo-mug fame) really outdid himself. The mug itself is a bit over-sized, and has the familiar slant eyed Forbidden Island Tiki on one side… it’s the back that sets this mug apart from all the others. There is an actual PORTHOLE in the mug! No, this doesn’t mean a short pour; the mug is lined with a plastic glass liner that holds the drink. To add to the effect, a lighted “ice cube” in the drink gives off that eerie yellow glow … just like the one you see in the Nautilus porthole in 20,000 leagues Under the Sea ( I half expected to see Deep Sea Creatures to swim by. )

But even in the light, this is a pretty spectacular mug. Each mug is “unique”, since the blue glaze seemed to come out a slightly different shade every time… We were lucky to get a darker glaze and a lighter glaze (nope, don’t even think about asking them to open up the boxes to let you pick out the one you want… just NOPE… you get what you get.)

And the drink in the glass…. bliss… a wonderful combination of rums, juices and bitters was well balanced, and not too sweet. The closest I could get to the recipe from Michael Thanos (Owner and Founder of FI) –

The drink is “Our custom blend My Gay Black Barrel, Mt Gay XO, Mango, Lime, Falernum, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, a house made Chai-honey syrup and Park Avenue Provisions’ Grenadine bitters.”

Why We Love Forbidden Island and the Tiki Culture

forbidden island kill devil clubThe Tiki gods smiled on us yesterday. We ran into friends in the bar who graciously shared their booth (and their friends) with us (Thanks Jenny and Chad!). Tiki Royalty even sat with us for a bit (Hey Otto!) and shared some inside information about this year’s Tiki Oasis. To the delight of everyone in the bar, we even got to see a new member inducted into the Kill Devil Club! Applause!

All this reminded me why I’ve come to love the Tiki Culture so much… it’s not just the rum drinks (although, I have to tell you, that part is certainly a bonus). It’s the people; the camaraderie. The sharing of stories and comparing notes about mugs, bars, music.

And… we got to bring home two fantastic new mugs for our collection. They weren’t cheap (at $50 a pop), but they are pretty spectacular. Each comes with a liner and your very own light-up ice cube. A quick check shows that they have already hit the collector’s market, so if you want one, you’d better hurry, despite the edition being limited to 1000 (and not 100), I just heard that there are only few left…. (at least until the new order comes in).

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Tiki Mugs Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop- The ULTIMATE Tiki Mug Book

Tiki Mugs Cult Artifacts of Polynesian PopTiki Mugs: Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop

Whether you are just getting started collecting Tiki Mugs, or if you had to build a new addition to your home to house your current collection, Tiki Mugs: Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop by Jay Strongman is an essential addition to your Tiki library.

This book is loaded with hundreds of fabulous photos of Tiki mugs that will leave you drooling for more. It is serious eye candy for any Tiki Lover! Ok, yes, the book is a little pricey…. but, it is an encyclopedia of Tiki Mugs, and a must for anyone who is investing time and money into collecting.

Tiki Mugs: Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop

I love the set up of the book. It begins with a history of Tiki. What was it, and just how big did it get? Legendary Tiki restaurants and Tiki performers are remembered in word and photograph. Old menus, bamboo architecture and hula girls in black and white tell the tale of the 1950’s Polynesian  love affair. Then it moves on to the Tiki Revival stage… what brought Tiki back from the wrecking ball and Thrift Shop? Turns out… nostalgia and Rockabilly were heavily involved….

Tiki mug collecting


The Tiki Mug as an Art Form

Strongman calls Tiki Mugs what they are… an Art Form. This isn’t much of an exaggeration. Think about it. These amazing creations are carved or molded with as much care and attention to detail as any statue or artifact you might find in a museum, by artisans who truly love their craft. The Tiki Mug is not merely a vessel for getting the Mai Tai from the Bartender to your mouth, it’s a symbol of a culture! (Although, thankfully, that symbol does get the Mai Tai to your mouth rather well….).

My favorite section of the book is the gallery. Mugs are grouped by type…whether they are Stone Faced Easter Island Moai or Wildly Tattooed Maori or even a Gruesome Shrunken Head… each mug is photographed to show off it’s amazing beauty.

tiki mugs book

These fabulous Tiki Mugs, once relegated to Thrift Store dollar bins, are now highly collectible and quite valuable. To tiki mugs booklearn much more about them, read “Tiki Mugs: Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop”.


From Amazon– “Written by a recognized expert in the field, this resource includes the complete production listings of the major manufacturers, from 1950 to today. An essential purchase for specialists, the photos and descriptions of styles such as the Frankentiki and the Monkey Mugstack will provide brilliant inspiration for those new to collecting.”


“Tiki Mugs: Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop”

Order now from Amazon or Ebay


Tiki Mugs: Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop

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Tiki Bob’s -The Making of an Smiling Icon

With his goofy smile and 50’s pop stylizing, Tiki Bobs is an icon of Tiki Culture, born in San Francisco, at the legendary Tiki Bob’s.

tiki bob barStanding vigil at the corner of Post and Taylor streets in the city of San Francisco is a goofy faced Tiki named Bob. Tiki Bob’s, Baghdad by the Bay’s famous 50’s Polynesian restaurant and Icon maker is gone, but the memories (and the Tiki) linger on.

Tiki Bob’s came into existence in 1955 when “Sneaky” Bob Bryant, bar manager of Trader Vic’s, left after his job after a falling out with Vic Bergeron himself. He opened a new place down the road … called Tiki Bob’s. Bryant decorated the place in true Tiki style with various Tiki statues, bamboo, velvet paintings of naked women, globe lamps, fugu and netting. The walls and ceilings were paneled with corrugated tin, and later plastered over with Chinese newspapers from the 50’s for that authentic exotic experience.

tiki bob's

The restaurant served the usual Polynesian fare, but was famous for their 3 1/3 inch thick Pork Chops, crab cakes, and sesame chicken. For dessert you could order Banana Fritters loaded with whipped cream, and topped, naturally, with a paper umbrella.

tiki bob's mug ooga mooga

The Tiki Bob Mug

But of course, most important of all was their signature drink, the Super Sneaky Tiki, served in what many consider to be the FIRST Tiki mug, the Tiki Bob Mug.

The famous and happy faced stylized Tiki logo was created by Alec Yuill-Thornton, and according to Sven Kirsten, author of the indispensable Tiki Pop, looks “part George Jetson, part modern primitive.” The Tiki Bob Mug, with his friendly eyes  and instantly recognizable smile, is one of the most collectible of all Tiki mugs, and has almost a cult following among those who collect Tiki. (Love him or hate him, very few people are neutral on the subject of Bob).

Tiki Bob’s Lingerie at Lunch

Along with the free Tiki Mug, Bob Bryant was looking for another innovative way to drum up customers from the San Francisco business district lunch crowd, and the famous Lingerie Lunch was born. Patrons could enjoy a titillating fashion show of four voluptuous models in diaphanous nightwear while sipping their rum drinks. After winning a court battle over the “decency” of his show lunchtime patronage went from 50 on a good day to 200, with again that many being turned away (After the trial, Police Chief Cahill said that it was “morally OK”, but that “he would keep an eye on it”…. I’ll bet he did).

In 1957, Bryant opened a second Tiki Bob’s in Sacramento, catering to the Capitol crown, after his wife complained about having to make the long drive to San Francisco.

Bob Bryant himself left Tiki Bob’s in 1962 to work on another venture in Hawaii. Tiki Bob’s limped along until the late 70’s when the doors were finally shut for good.


Tiki Bob’s Still a San Francisco Icon

The bar is long gone, but the statue of Tiki Bob still guards the corner of Post and Taylor. He’s part of the support structure of the building, so whenever a new business pulls in, they just freshen him up with a coordinating paint job.  When you go there to pay your respects, always rub the Tiki Bob’s nose. In Tahiti, this is considered a surefire way to get lady luck on your side.

Tiki bob's Bob bryant

Sneaky Tiki Recipe

– From Beachbum Berry’s Taboo Table

(This Tiki Drink is SWEET…. But it will sneak up on you if you aren’t careful!)

1 part fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 part unsweetened pineapple juice

1/3 part orange curaçao

1/4 part hot-process grenadine

1 part Puerto Rican light rum

1 part dark Jamaican rum

Mix in blender with 8 ounces ice until almost smooth.

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Flaming Tiki Bowls- A Volcano of Rum, Juice and FLAMES

flaming tiki bowlsOooohhhhhhh…  nothing screams TIKI like this Tiki Drink Bowl with Hula Girls on the side and FLAMES coming out of the middle! It’s the perfect vessel for any drink containing rum and juice.

In the South Seas, sharing flaming tiki bowls is a sign of hospitality, and of community. And it’s lots of fun. It’s hard to be at a loss for conversation when you are sharing a bowl of drink (and oddly, the more you drink, the easier the conversation becomes…)

The Flaming Tiki bowl comes in two different sizes, 32 oz. (around 8 inches across) and 48 oz. (around 8 3/4 inches across, just deeper). Bigger might be better… if you do a lot of sharing (or you are REALLY THIRSTY). 

The Volcano in the center of the bowl can be filled with flammable alcohol, like 151 Rum, and lit up for a fantastic flame effect. (Be sure to tie up loose hair!) Imagine, drinking by the light of Tiki Torches and Volcano Flames! It’s just like being on an imaginary tropical island.

Each bowl is hand painted, so there might be slight variations to the paint. But they all have those cute Hula Girls! 

To keep my Flaming Tiki bowls safe from chips, I hand wash it (the dishwasher is ok, but hand wash is better).

Mix up some Scorpions …. hand around a few long straws…. and it’s a Party!

(by the way…. if you have kids, get another bowl that can just be filled with juice… they LOVE IT)

Volcano Center Drink BowlVolcano Center Drink BowlBig Volcano Ceramic Tiki Drink Bowl - 48 ozBig Volcano Ceramic Tiki Drink Bowl – 48 ozBrigadier VF1 tiki mug/bowl.Brigadier VF1 tiki mug/bowl.Vintage Orchids of Hawaii Volcano Bowl, Hula Volcano Bowl, Orchids of Hawaii R-94Vintage Orchids of Hawaii Volcano Bowl, Hula Volcano Bowl, Orchids of Hawaii R-94



Cthulhu Tiki Mug- Cthulhu Goes Tiki and the World Will Never be the Same!

cthulhu mug1Cthulhu Tiki Mug?!? What an absurd combination!

But, think about it for a second…..According to HP Lovecraft, the dark lord Cthulhu is imprisoned in the underwater prison R’lyeh,somewhere in the Pacific off the coast of South America. AND according to legend (and Thor Heyerdahl) the god Tiki sailed from South America to the island in the South Pacific.

Maybe… they ran into each other, hopped aboard the Nautilus with Captain Nemo and created something new? (Must have been one HECK of a Party…)

Well, however it happened, the result is a great gift for anyone who loves Cthulhu or Tiki.

The sturdy, green clay Tiki Mug from Horror in Clay is a fabulous representation of the “mind-eating monster”, right down to the tentacles, claws and evil eyes. It’s the perfect vessel for drinking those ScorpionsZombies and even the Call of Cthulhu Cocktail. (Drink enough of those, and it becomes a mind altering experience in itself).

Get Your Cthulhu Tiki Mug

cthulhu tiki mugBut this Gift Pack is more than just a Tiki Mug! Also included are…. a Cthulhu Coaster (to save your tables from the inevitable rings), a Cthulhu Sticker (for sticking anywhere you feel like sticking it), and a half dozen extra long, green, tentacle shaped swizzle sticks (perfect for mixing your drink or scratching an itch.)

As both a Tiki lover and a HP Lovecraft fan, I was delighted to find (what I consider) a perfect addition to my personal Adult Beverage Drinking Vessel Collection (that would be my Barware).

If there is someone like me in your world… well… someone who loves the unusual… press those computer keys as fast as you can to order the Cthulhu Tiki Mug Gift Pack from Horrors in Clay.

And definitely order another one for yourself.

Cthulhu Tiki MugCthulhu Tiki MugThe New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft (The Annotated Books)The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft (The Annotated Books)

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