Kapu Bar in Petaluma is a Sensation

Another sensational tiki destination is within driving distance of the population centers of the Bay Area with the addition of Kapu Bar in Petaluma. The large main room includes several large booths and some tables, featuring cohesive Polynesian decor and numerous tikis. Seating there accommodated via reservations and the Big Trouble (think Big Trouble in Little China) room with pinball machines serves as an overflow area. The large U-shaped bar is available for walk-in seating and there’s plenty of elbow room. The Captain’s Quarters is available for special reservations and features a separate bar and some stools and chairs.

Mai Tai

The interior of Kapu is a classic dark tiki bar and the menu is inspired by venues of the past. There’s a nice medium-sized menu of $16 tiki classics, plus a section of frozen concoctions. Food is Asian and Hawaiian inspired and though the portions are fairly small the quality is more than reasonable. Prices reflect the quality as well as the immersive nature of the venue. Music was a blend of Exotica, Surf, Jawaiian, Garage, and even some Punk. I enjoyed this eclectic blend, though the Clash was too mainstream for my taste.

Frankie’s Tiki Room alum Michael Richardson is the GM, and I would say that the cocktails are a big step up from that venue. The Mai Tai was pretty good, with some rich rums and a little bit of a heavier lean more in the Orange Curacao direction. I really enjoyed the Frozen Saturn, balanced well with tart Passionfruit. Mrs. Mai Tai really enjoyed the frozen Sesame Chi Chi, an interesting riff on the classic, and also enjoyed the Pearl Diver.


Talking to locals, the cocktail program seems to be settling in at a good place, though supply issues with specified spirts have made ongoing production a challenge. But for a new venue with staff new to the program, the issues have been minimal.

Kapu Bar is a compelling and exciting new destination for any tikiphile or newbies looking to see what the fuss is about. We found the staff to be super-friendly and extraordinarily prompt with service. We also got to see a preview of a forthcoming mug that will elevate the opportunity for those looking to take home a souvenir.

Tiki-Ko and the Sinking Ship Room

One of the nice perks of the Central California Tiki marketplace was the location in the parking lot across the street from Tiki-Ko and the Sinking Ship Room. Two world-class tiki bars across the street from the marketplace, opening at 1 pm on a Saturday! Staff was just as friendly as in our past visits, a strength of the establishment.

Tiki-Ko is a smaller space with a large U-shaped bar and some booth and lounge seating on each side. Very much a traditional tiki bar, with exotica playing and featuring colorful lighting. This set-up lends itself to some interaction with the bartenders, depending on how busy it is, of course. Mrs. Mai Tai enjoyed the Mary Ann cocktail (similar to a Tradewinds) and a delicious El Duderino with coffee liqueur and coconut cream. I had a pretty good Mai Tai but didn’t love the Navy Grog.

After an early dinner, we went back and hung out in the Sinking Ship Room, catching the last bit of the set from Par Avion. This space has a low ceiling and is elaborately decorated like the hull of a ship. Though there are a few stools by the bar, this space is really more of a lounge setup. You order at the bar and then the drinks are brought to your table. Music here is vintage 1920s, giving this a very different feel from Tiki-Ko upstairs. We both truly enjoyed the frozen Grasshopper (topped with a thin mint) and Mrs. Mai Tai liked the frozen Monkey’s Gone to Heaven cocktail featuring banana. I tried the Three Dots & a Dash which as very forward with a very grassy Agricole – not my favorite. I did enjoy the NA Saturn made with an alcohol-free Gin.

Though these two bars share essentially the same cocktail menu and staff, they’re really two different spaces (you have to exit the building to go to the other) and have different hours. Either one is amazing though, making Bakersfield a destination location for any tikiphile.

Central California Tiki Marketplace in Bakersfield

Fab day in Bakersfield for the @centralcaliforniatiki marketplace. A very large and varied set of vendors and plenty of space to shop. There wasn’t much rain, thankfully.

Central California Tiki’s head honcho, Wayne Stonecipher

I picked up a bar mat from @artofbrex and a carving from @mischiefmotu. I also picked up a vintage 2005 @theartistshag calendar still sealed! I’m going to crack that open and explore.

Thank you Wayne and all the Central California Tiki event planners for such a great event. Do it again in the fall!

With Tiki-Ko and The Sinking Ship across the street needless to say a good time was had by all.

Traditional Tiki Night at Dr. Funk

Fun times in downtown San Jose on a Tuesday night with the Traditional Tiki Night at Dr. Funk with DJ SamoaBoy play vintage 1960s 45s. Quite a nice mix of retro tunes, mostly upbeat and peppy to go along with seeing some of the tiki ohana at the venue. It is nice to see Dr. Funk doing some things to draw folks mid-week, and a special DJ is a great option. Drink specials would also be nice, if the good Doctor would like to write some special prescriptions.

Check the Dr. Funk social accounts for future special events such as this.

I enjoyed the Three Dots & a Dash, prepared expertly by resident master bartender Paul McCoun. The Mai Tai, of course, was also quite on point. Mrs. Mai Tai really dug the Vacation in Valhalla with Venus Gin Aquavit, Apis Kurpiowski Honey Mead, RumHaven Coconut, lemon, Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters. I thought it was pretty great, too.

Tiki Tom’s New Cocktail Menu

The final new version of the Tiki Tom’s cocktail menu debuted this weekend in Walnut Creek, so Mrs. Mai Tai drove up for dinner and drinks. We’ve had the BenZombie before (a very nice Zombie variant) and of course the Ultimate Mai Tai, but wanted to try some new things.

There’s a section of four cocktails from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, so I tried the Rum Runner riff called Captain Cleo. Gold Barbados rum, lime, blackberry, and banana. A wonderful fruity taste with a finish that leans a little tart and not sweet like you might expect.

Mrs. Mai Tai had her standard beloved Ohana Punch but also tried the Song of the Siren, with Rumhaven coconut rum, guava, orgeat, and lime. I expected this one to be very sweet, but it only leans that way a little. Overall, this was nice and juicy and well-balanced. Plus, the drink comes with fire!

My favorite of the evening was the Tongaroa. This has Puerto Rican and Jamaican rums, gin, orgeat, cinnamon syrup, mango, and lime. The blend of flavors was rich and complex, though the overall feel of the cocktail was light and refreshing. Really, really good.


Dinner was very good too. The Island Abodo Tacos were really great, including tropical mango and pineapple pico and pickled onions. Menu offerings like this are why I love eating at tiki bars, when restaurants add tropical elements to something sort of standard. The pork shoulder in the tacos was had the perfect amount of spices. Mrs. Mai Tai enjoyed the Chicken Katsu and we shared the Coconut Prawl Skewers that feature a nice falernum chili sauce.

Tiki Tom’s seems to be doing great business on the weekends (where they don’t take reservations). We arrived at 5:20 and got one of the last two tables, but we did see that some of the tables turned over quickly when folks only stayed for one round. So, there didn’t seem to be too long of a line to wait.

Dagger Club KILA Rum

This special release of an aged Kō Hana rum from O’ahu comes via a partnership with our friends at Skull & Crown Trading Company and their Dagger Club. Issued at a fab 61% ABV, you’re going to taste every bit of the Pakaweli sugarcane spirit aged 2 years and 7 months in the barrel (second use American Oak, char level 2). It’s delicious stuff, with some very fine spice notes.

Aged rums from Kō Hana don’t come around every day and come in a 375 ml bottle at a premium price. Sometimes you have to splurge.

If you’re a Honolulu local, you can get pours at Skull & Crown Trading Company, one of the best tiki bars on planet Earth, and also at Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco. Don’t procrastinate, though, these won’t last long.

Bottles are available for purchase for a limited time through a secret link to Kō Hana’s website. DM @skullandcrowntradingco for the link.

Lunch To Go from Trader Vic’s Emeryville

We were supposed to go away for the weekend but puppy problems meant that we had to postpone. But light traffic on 880 meant that take-out lunch from Trader Vic’s Emeryville worked just fine on Saturday.

The Crab Rangoon and Cheese Bings traveled pretty well, and are all-time favorites. Mrs. Mai Tai tried the new East Bay Lemon Butter Chicken, lightly breaded with a lemon butter sauce, capers, parsley, broccolini tips, and pake noodles. She thought it was okay, but needed more sauce.

Meanwhile, I tried the Aloha Bowl with Salmon. These bowls are similar to the same named bowls at the Vic’s at the San Jose Airport and include sushi rice, dressed greens, carrots, daikon radish, edamame, and avocado. I really liked this bowl and while I’m not always a fan of avocado it worked well here in the same way it works in a California Roll.

The to-go cocktails were right on point. The Mai Tai for me and a Chi-Chi and Bahia for Mrs. Mai Tai. Just add ice and shake. Vic’s will provide ice as part of your to-go order.

Trader Vic’s Chi-Chi

TV Swizzle at Trader Vic’s Emeryville

This is one of the new menu offerings at Trader Vic’s Emeryville and I very much enjoyed this light and fruity cocktail.

Vic’s says this is “a classically prepared rum swizzle with pineapple, passionfruit, and subtle nutty notes.” I noticed they’re using Peychaud’s as the bitters “float” on top and it is prepared with John D. Taylor Falernum and the Trader Vic’s Royal Amber rum. Definitely a Trader Vic’s style cocktail and a good balance between the fruit and rum.

The improved heater that was supposed to be part of the maintenance in January isn’t done yet, so bring a jacket if it is cold outside (or, order a hot drink). But the service at the bar was great and the atmosphere was totally relaxing inside.

Maximum Aloha at Wilfred’s Lounge

It is long overdue recognition that this delicious cocktail should be considered a modern classic. Every time we try it is is on point and it is totally a draw for Mrs Mai Tai whenever we’re in hailing distance of Napa. We know we should have dinner at some of the other restaurants, but we can’t not go to Wilfred’s Lounge for the cocktail.

Maximum Aloha was an opening day cocktail at Wilfred’s and contains Strawberry Infused Philippine Rum, Lemon Juice, Cinnamon, Prickly Pear, Hibiscus, Overproof Jamaican Rum, Coconut Banana Whip. It leans tart, not sickly sweet like you might expect from the color. But that tartness can be adjusted by mixing in the delicious whipped cream.

We decided to Napa last weekend sort of last minute to check out the Napa Lighted Art Festival (more photos under @kevincrossman), so we didn’t have a reservation. We put our name on the Wilfred’s wait list but we’re quickly able to find a couple seats at the bar where they treated us so well. We do enjoy the Hawaiian food here, including the delicious pineapple fried rice.

I was taking it easy so I tried the spirit-free Toucan Sham, a flavorful lime-aid like refresher with Passionfruit, Vanilla, Pandan, Coconut Cream, Lime, Soda. This was pretty. The fruity flavors that favored lime really worked for me. Delightful.

Dinner with a view at Wilfred’s Lounge