Houston's Best Tiki Bars*
Houston is finally set to get a true 21st century tiki bar next month, when Lei Low finally opens. Though it won't be the city's first tiki bar. The long-gone Shamrock Hilton was once the site of a Trader Vic's. There was a tiki bar out on the west side when I first moved to town. And who could forget Hula Mama's? (Answer: a lot of people could forget it. It closed without fanfare.) There's even a HAIF thread about tiki in Houston over the years.
Postcard from Houston's Trader Vic's.
But you don't have to wait until Lei Low opens to get a taste of the Polynesian/Caribbean fusion that is tiki cocktails. Here are five places in Houston that pass for decent tiki bars *until we get a dedicated one.
Flickr user Houston Entree Tiki Tuesdays at Anvil
5. Grand Prize
There's a reason Lei Low chose Grand Prize as the spot for its two pop-up nights earlier this summer. The bar has an excellent selection of rums and a few classic and tiki drinks on the menu, and often sports frozen and on-tap cocktails with a tiki flair. Plus, while there's no carvings or bamboo, the dark, divey atmosphere does feel a bit like a getaway.
Bobby Heugel cut his teeth here with weekly tiki night long before Anvil ever opened. Beaver's still offers the occasional tiki cocktail -- the Lanai Luau and Whorechata are both favorites. They also regularly feature a house punch and spins on the frozen daiquiri.
The original home of Tiki Tuesday. Each week Anvil's bartenders dress in Aloha wear and conspire to create a cocktail menu based off different specifics themes, like flaming drinks or "summer harvest." But if weeknights don't work for you, never fear. Anvil can still make a mean modern daiquiri, and their new menu even includes a play on the Dark and Stormy.
1010 Banks, Houston, TX