I am very excited about Tiki Tuesday's for the month of June (ok, I know it's still May, but who cares...more Tiki!) and to kick it off we're featuring our friend's from Montreal, Jim Johnson and Geneviève April and their amazing home bar! The Lime Lounge is a located in Gen and Jim's living room area and is filled with vintage tropical treasures! I love their use of space as it's pure eye candy. Hey Jim, I'll take one Mai Tai please!
What got you into the Tiki Culture?
Gen - Personally, I remember loving the exotic vibe since I was a little girl. My family and I once went to a restaurant in The Mirabel Hotel where there was an interior tropical garden and waterfall and I kept telling my mom we were in paradise. I loved going to the local chinese restaurant where one side was tiki-fied and one side “normal”...we all know where I wanted to sit!
It has now been a good 13-15 years that I’m more “serious with my “addiction”. Collecting stuff, going to events... living off the tiki vibe, one could say.
Jim - I’d have to say that my first bit of Tiki “intrigue” was about 30 years ago when I had my first Suffering Bastard at a Chinese restaurant back in my home town. I was easily taken in by the fancy mug it got served in as well as the cool name! I didn’t really pursue Tiki much after that, but was always subconsciously curious about it. It wasn’t until I met Gen that my interest resurfaced, and when I saw how much she was into it, I was hooked.
What inspired you to have a Tiki bar in your house?
Being big fans of cocktails, a bar just seemed like the logical next step to give us a place to 1. store the booze; 2. make drinks; 3. entertain guests. The actual bar itself is all bamboo and quite big (measuring at a good Xft by Xft) - we stumbled upon it while browsing in an antique store and it just called out to us. While trying to maintain its original look and form, we pimped out the interior with hidden neon green rope light and installed speakers at the bottom - it’s wired for sound! Our entire living room is pretty much the bar area; as you can see from the pictures, we installed thatch roofing above the bar, covered the entire walls with bamboo crosshatching and halved bamboo shoots as the accents. We also installed wooden shelves to showcase our ever-increasing tiki mug collection.
Do you have a favorite Tiki artist(s)?
One of our favorite Tiki artists is Shag. We love his blend of colors, mid-century modern influence and Tiki. Not all of his art is Tiki-influenced, however, but his art typically showcases MCM and that’s a period we love and are heavily inspired by.
we also love Derek Yaniger. He doesn't only do tiki but his style is awesome. We should also name Daniel Gallardo and Bamboo Ben for their AMAZING ability to turn any interior into a little slice of heaven.
Where did you find the pieces that are in your Tiki bar?
The actual pieces of art we have include an original Shag print we bought from a friend and a painting by El Gato Gomez that we got on ebay.
Do you collect anything specific?
Our Tiki/Polynesian interests are wide-reaching, but we seem to focus on Tiki mugs, lamps (we have several puffer fish lamps), glass floats and whatever old bamboo furniture we can get our hands on.
You have both traveled and attended a lot of Tiki events, so you have any prized souvenirs from your adventures?
When we attend Tiki events, we mainly go for the experience, making new like-minded friends, and the memories (oh yes, and the cocktails!). Most Tiki events have a commemorative mug made for attendees of the event, and we collect those. These mugs are usually commissioned by well-known artists (or companies) that make a limited run of these mugs. Often these artists include Squid, Tiki Farm, Munktiki...
When we go to a Tiki bar that we’ve never been to out of town, we always buy the “house” Tiki mug if they should happen to have one. We have several from bars all over the place - the Mai Kai, Shameful Tiki Room, Vavoom Tiki Room, Frankies, Pusser’s, Trader Vic’s… to name a few. Often we find ourselves so inspired by a cool-looking mug, that we take a road trip just to go to that particular bar (“if the mug is this cool, the drinks must be amazing!”, right?)
Are you currently working on any projects for the bar or have any future plans?
We consider our Tiki bar to be in a perpetual state of development and it’ll never be “finished” per se. That’s one of the great things about a Tiki bar - the more you add to it, the more awesome it becomes. We find that the best, most-welcoming and coziest bars are the ones that look like people have literally been adding to it for years. The more you add to your bar over time (whether it be adding a new mug, a new lamp, more bamboo trim, etc.) the more you help your bar develop a complex story and deeper history. There’s a story behind every little thing you add to a bar. A Tiki bar is a living thing that if it were able to talk, it would have such an interesting story to tell. And what a coincidence… there just happens to be a lot of “conversation lubrication” within an arm’s reach.
A big Mahalo to Gen and Jim for letting me to pick their brains and allowing all of us to visit The Lime Lounge!
I can't forget Glenn the cat, lounging in The Lime Lounge. Hehehe!