6 Bars Ushering In Tiki's Exciting 3rd Wave

We are entering a golden age of tropical inebriation. Tiki cocktail culture, a faux-lynesian phenomenon beloved by mid-century Americans celebrating victory Over There, is now into a third wave. Following its Baby Booming inception, and subsequent Seventies backlash, tiki was dormant. A brief resurgence in the late-Nineties and early Aughts was characterized by what cultural anthropologists might call "kitschy hipster nonsense." Thankfully, Tiki 3.0 elevates the genre. Now, colorful bars combine complex mixology (think: layered flavors, house-made syrups and fresh juices) with the sort of freewheeling fun enjoyed exclusively by those at least one generation removed from a movement's inception. Here are six bars redefining tiki.

1. Philadelphia, PA: The Yachtsman

Tommy Up, previously of Northern Liberties burger joint PYT, opened Philly's first tiki spot this summer. Despite some pre-opening Kickstarter controversy (see also: Zach Braff), the Yachtsman is now a Fishtown fixture. Unapologetically fun-loving cocktails include the Tree Frog, made with bananas, galangal syrup and Puerto Rican rum, and the Bird of Paradise Fizz, which combines London dry gin with lime, soda, raspberry syrup and orange blossom water. 1444 Frankford Ave., 267-251-3234

2. Portland, OR: Hale Pele

Mind the waterfall when entering this tiny bar in the city's Northeast section. Since 2012, Blair Reynolds has filled his small, but swinging, spot with 300 rums, oddly adorable lamps fashioned from pufferfish, and a thundering water feature at the entrance. In addition to 42 cocktails, the bar serves salt and pepper taro chips, Hawaiian salted salmon, pulled pork in Falernum syrup and tama donuts. 2733 Northeast Broadway St., 503-662-8454

3. Chicago, IL: Three Dots and a Dash

Named Best New American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail this summer, the Melman brothers' latest operation is the Windy City's first tiki bar since Trader Vic's closed in 2011. It may seem flashy — thumping club music, that spare bottle of Dom Perignon accompanying your $385 punch bowl — but cocktails here are the real deal. The list spans originals from Don the Beachcomber and Bar La Florida in 1935-era Havana, as well as tiki newcomers made with rum, gin, genever and mezcal. 435 North Clark St., 312-610-4220

4. Tacoma, WA: Tacoma Cabana

Pierce County may not immediately recall French Polynesia, but local couple Robyn Murphy and Jason Alexander has been keeping Tacoma tropical since October 2012. Their 20-strong cocktail list includes interpretations of classic Mai Tais and Zombies, as well as a delightfully non-saccharine Pina Colada. Well-priced rum flights feature everything from Appleton Reserve to El Dorado 21. 728 Pacific Ave., 253-222-4184

5. San Francisco, CA: Smuggler's Cove

For five years, trailblazer Martin Cate has kept over 400 rums in rotation at his award-winning Fillmore spot. The 75-strong cocktail list spans traditional tiki tipples like shareable volcanoes, as well as old-school Caribbean queens, house creations and gin- and bourbon-based spins on tiki classics. The Rumbustion Society, an in-house rum club, has three tiers of membership and is free to join. Those who ascend to the third level attend a distillery trip with Cate himself. 650 Gough St. 415-869-1900

6. New Orleans, LA: Latitude 29

Tiki enthusiast Jeff "Beachbum" Berry opened this highly anticipated rum bar last month in the French Quarter's Bienville House hotel. Bartender and co-manager Steve Yamada, formerly of R'evolution and Tivoli & Lee, serves Trader Vic's-era drinks like an Old Blue Eyes-worthy Navy Grog, plus Jerry's own creations. The Hawaii 504 combines rum, ginger liqueur and Chinese five-spice, and the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver is an iced buttered rum made with honey and passion fruit. 321 North Peters St., 504-609-3811

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