The Fabulous Mai Kai!

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Mai Kai has been in operation continually since 1956, and remains essentially untouched. A true original. That cannot be said of many, if any other "tiki" bars. It is a huge, top notch restaurant. From the valet parking to the bathroom attendants, you know the Mai Kai is an elegant experience. It is much more than just a tiki bar. Although they do mix the best in fresh tropical drinks, and the decor is unsurpassed, they also have incredible gardens and a live Polynesian floor show.

"....some of the extant Tiki Temples, most notably the Mai Kai and the Kahiki, which are possibly the two finest surviving examples of this vanished culture in America today."

-Sven Kirsten, from "The Book of Tiki"

"Still going strong, the Mai Kai is the most perfectly preserved and beautifully appointed Polynesian palace left in America. A must if you're anywhere in the Southeastern seaboard."

-from "Beachbum Berry's Grog Log"

"When you drive towards the Mai Kai at night it's like the first time you went to Disneyland as a kid - at least it was for me and my companions. You see the sign appear on the horizon (it's most magical after dark) then as you get closer you start to make out the buildings and gardens and then you start to hear the cascading waterfalls and see the larger tikis in front and the burning torches and colored lights and you realize how huge a place it is and then you turn into the driveway and proceed over the wooden bridge that makes a rumbling noise and the valet takes the keys to your chariot and you excitedly head for the front door - but you want to go around the outside and take a closer look - you can do that later - you just want to run around inside like a little kid into each room that are named after islands in the South Pacific but you get stopped by the attentive but friendly maitre'd who asks if you have reservations and you reply "Yes, I have reservations for dinner and the 9:30 show" and he asks if you would like to wait in the bar until your table is ready - like he had to ask - so you head for the Molokai Lounge and it feels like stepping into the cabin of an old clipper ship and you find a table and then a lovely wahine in a skimpy top and sarong in tropical print hands you your menu and you can't believe the variety of drinks and you just want to order all of them but you order only one and you look at the water running down the outside of the windows like rain even though it wasn't raining outside (?) and there is the sound of thunder outside too but after a while you realize it's the rumbling of the wooden bridge you drove over coming in.

The feeling is similar to the way the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland felt when I was a kid. All dark and cool and mysterious and exciting."

-Dean Curtis, aka "thejab", Tiki Centralite

The Tiki Bar Review Pages proclaims the Mai Kai as the tiki bar that makes all other tiki bars seem pale in comparison.
Click here to read the glowing review of the "god of all Tiki Palaces"

The Mai Kai drink menu has 57 wonderful varieties, all hand made from fresh ingredients, as you order, not pre-packaged.
Click here for's behind the scenes story of the Mai Kai's legendary mixology

Some recent Mai Kai pictures with our own Bre-elle

A promotional postcard with one of the pretty wahines of the Mai Kai.

Here are a few pictures from the Mai Kai cheesecake calendar.

An article from the 1962 Escapade magazine annual on the Mystery Girl.

1966 Argosy Magazine Article

"If you give them a week's notice, the Mai Kai will set up an outdoor luau for about twenty dollars a person." and "Co-owner Bob Thornton checks waitresses regularly for costume fit, weight and good grooming."

"Frolicking in the Mai Kai fountains, waitresses keep in shape with playful session tossing flowered leis around."

"The Mai Kai's Molokai Bar is unsurpassed for reveling, girl watching and drinking fifty-four different kinds of rum." "Tahitian dancers and musicians party it up at big luau the Thorntons threw for their sixty employees." "The brothers Thornton, Jack and Bob, opened their doors eight years ago, now serve more than 1,000 people every night. Jack is the creative genius on food and decor, while Bob supervises important day-to-day operations."

"Main mystery about the Mystery Drink is: What do you get for your seven dollars? Answer: A huge bowl filled with enough flaming rum to knock out a hockey team, served by a grass-skirted girl who incants, does a hula and plants a lei on your neck and a kiss on your cheek."

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