Portland's Best Tiki Bars

by Alexander Frane on Aug 24, 2016 in Roundups

This year’s Tales of the Cocktail, the largest bartender meet-up in the country, announced that Tiki drinks would be one of 2016’s biggest trends. That’s odd to us Portlanders, who have long appreciated rum drinks served in ornate glasses at kitschy bars. While tiki spent the better part of the last few decades suffering from cloying syrups and artificial juices, it’s now seeing a place in the “Cocktail Renaissance” — basically, the drinks are actually made well, at least at some places. Here are the best Portland tiki bars to toast the end of summer at. If tiki isn’t your thing (though it should be), try some of the best boozy slushy drinks instead. We’ve got to do something to beat this heat. Did we your favorite bar for a Mai Tai or Zombie? Let us know at our Facebook or Twitter.

Hale Pele
There’s not a more famous tiki bar in Portland than Hale Pele. Its reputation goes beyond the city, reaching the heights of famous tiki bars such as Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco or Chicago’s Three Dots and a Dash. There’s an indoor creek, simulated rain storms, and even the occasional eruption from the volcano along one wall. The place is decked out in as much kitsch as you can fit while still remaining uncluttered. Above all, the drinks are excellent, from the simple daiquiri to complicated punches. (2733 NE Broadway St.; 503-662-8454)

The Alibi Tiki Lounge
Hale Pele might be the city’s most famous tiki bar, but it’s far from the first. That honor goes to the The Alibi, a Portland institution dating back to 1947 and one of our most beloved karaoke bars. The drinks here are strong, sweet, and cheap—exactly what you need to get you through that rendition of Toto’s “Africa”. It may not have the same quality ingredients as some of the other bars on this list, but it embraces the spirit of tiki just as much as any other, if not more so. (4024 N Interstate Ave.; 503-287-5335)

Rum Club
Those working at or patronizing the Rum Club might balk at the description of it as a Tiki bar. True, it doesn’t have the same level of kitsch as other spots, but it still has a vaguely “island” decor; the cocktails (some of the best in the city), are mostly rum based, with house made syrups and spices; and the bar is dedicated foremost to being a party. It all sounds like a tiki bar us to, and we’re sure you won’t mind the distinction when you find yourself here with a blended daiquiri or flight of rum shots. (720 SE Sandy Blvd.; 503-265-8807)

Sandy Hut
At first inspection, the Sandy Hut does not seem at all like a tiki bar — it’s a dark dive bar one that’s been in Portland longer than most of the city’s residents, most likely. There’s a cheap brunch menu, cheap bar food, and cheap drinks. But there’s also a tiki drink menu, including mai tais and blue punches and slings. The interior may not be island chic, but it’s definitely 70s chic. This is the bar that the bartenders and Portland natives drink at. (1430 NE Sandy Blvd.; 503-235-7972)

Trifecta Tavern
Trifecta Tavern is not a tiki bar by any means. For one, it’s a restaurant, not a bar. It just happens to have a very large bar with an excellent cocktail program helmed by one of Portland’s most creative bartenders, Colin Carrol. For another, it’s New American cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean. However, that same creative bartender has designated a portion of his cocktail menu to “Yacht Drinks,” which includes a Mai Tai, a Blue Hawaii, and something called a Purple Hooter. Because it’s from Carrol, they’re all sure to be amazing. It’s like a secret tiki bar hidden in a restaurant. (726 SE 6th Ave.; 503-841-6675)

Photo via Kayt Mathers

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