If you didn’t know, I love all things tropical and tiki culture. Lately the world seems to be getting on board with my passion for strong-ass rum drinks with ornate garnishes, palm trees, island vibes, tropical fruits, and pu pu platters. Tiki culture is definitely having a comeback moment! This includes the ol’ ATX. Austin is known more for its cowboy boots and music scene than its umbrella-topped libations, but this summer you can get yourself into some tropical trouble if you just know where to look.
Tragically, thanks to a gratuitous amount of summer travel in June & July, I’ve already missed some great tiki events like Craftsman’s Anniversary Pig Roast & Fire Show and St. Elmo’s Beer Release Luau but there are plenty more one-time and recurring events to get us through the sizzlin’ summer months. Behold:
I’m biased because I do marketing for this fine establishment, but like Savage Garden, I knew I loved them before I met (okay, worked for) them. And I loved their frozen cocktails, too. Contigo rotates out its frozen offerings, but right now it’s their famous Painkiller – you can get it every day of the week but on Mondays from 5-7pm it’s only $4.50… and guess what, all summer long we’re also having late nite frozen HH from 9pm-close; all frozen drink offered at half price.
I’ve featured Kitty’s before and I am happy to recommend them again! They have lots of palm trees and a pool that YES you can actually go in and YES I always do, so clearly they count as some tropical fun in the sun. And hey this Saturday they’re having a one-year anniversary celebraysh complete with pig roast pool party for members, and a “key party” open to the public starting at 9pm. (Will it actually follow through on the key party* name, only one way to find out I guess.)
* I just spent a hot 15 minutes Google Image searching for a gif of Kirsten and Sandy when they accidentally go to the swingers key party on New Years Eve, but all I could find was this blurry photo of the party host and her hilariously terrible hair/outfit.
The name says it all. It’s… well, kinda tropical. There’s millennial pink, there’s green jungle-y plants, there’s a mystical Instagram. Recently they’ve been hosting DJs including one with “freshest disco and tropical sounds” and I wish I went to it.
Tiki Tuesdays are back at Hotel San Jose! They’re serving up frozen drinks in the lounge every Tuesday in June and July from 5 – 11pm. Local surf rock group The Avocados are providing the live tunes.
Oh no, a rival Tiki Tuesday! Vox Table is one of my favorite places to grab a cocktail before or after a movie at Drafthouse South Lamar, and while it isn’t particularly tropical, but they offer a great Tiki Tuesday promo in the summer. This year they’re doing the last Tuesday of every month (first was June 27th, next is July 25th, after that should be August 29th). Last year the cocktails were really fun and served in awesome tiki mugs so I’m sure this summer is more of the same! Apparently if you come dressed in tiki attire you’ll get some free treats as well.
Irene’s is always a favorite of mine, and every Thursday this summer they promise specials on strong rum drinks, tropical beats from a rotating stable of local DJs, and general “island vibes.” Some editions have fun features like Polynesian food specials, too. I’ve had some tasty (and yes, strong!) rum cocktails here, and their watermelon rosé sangria (pictured above) is a real summery treat as well.
The Internet claims this is happening every Saturday, so we’ll believe them even though I can’t find a ton more info than what’s on Do512. Yacht rock and vague tiki food, sounds good enough to me. And just look at that boat!
Austin Tiki Summer Events:
Hey, speaking of vaguely tropical venues! I’m always down for a good Shangri-La party. They’re fun, funny, chill, and random in the best possible way (who else remembers the infamous “Bobbing for Jorts” party from a few summers ago?). All we know so far is that there will be tiki drink specials, music, and a best dressed contest… and really that’s all I need to know.
Frozen tiki cocktails from Sailor Jerry and Flor de Caña. Water slides in the parking lot. “Elvis-inspired grub” whatever that means… peanut-butter-banana-bacon, anyone? And I can only assume Elvis impersonators. Hawaii Elvis is my FAVORITE Elvis so obviously I’m all in on this one.
The Austin USBG started this very worthwhile event back in 2012 and I’m so glad they did. While this is a weeklong tiki celebration for the USBG members themselves, they do have an assortment of public events that anyone can attend – think pig roasts, happy hours, a Painkiller Bus (?!?!?! heaven) and more. I’ve been to a few over the years, and they’re always a great time. The website hasn’t been updated for 2017 yet, but gaze over the glory of the 2016 events for now… and keep checking back.