Well now, we've just got this Tiki train started with My 2013 Tiki Road Trip Part I, so now it's time to grab myself a Mai Tai and dive once again into part two!
After our adventures at Caffeine Bistro & Wine Bar and their Kona Tiki Bar, we said good-bye to my parents and headed to Sarasota, FL. where we visited the only Trader Vic's Island Bar & Grill chain restaurant known in the US, which is not to be confused with Trader Vic's more upscale bars and lounges.
Note: As I'm now researching the link for Trader Vic's Island Bar & Grill, I discovered it's now closed! Boooo!
We followed our GPS into Sarasota to a Target parking lot that was surround by chain restaurant's. We were a little surprised by the location of our destination, but that didn't stop us from jumping out of the car like two giddy school girls (You should hear my husband giggle, haha!). We were at a Trader Vic's....in some shape or form!
After some photo op's outside, we walked into the restaurant and I think we caught our hostess off guard as Derek and I were all over the place. “Hey look at this, hey look at that!” TIKI!!! We might as well have been screaming, “tourists!”. We explained that we where traveling around parts of Florida on our own little Tiki roadtrip and not two complete whack-jobs. The staff was so welcoming and inviting as we wandered around snapping photos of the decor.
One of the nicest things about our trip to the Trader Vic's restaurant was when the restaurant manager came over and gave us a few Trader Vic's post cards, etc. She had found in the drawers of the office and said that we were so nice and she knew that we would appreciate the memorabilia. She was right. Derek and I were floored! Too cool!
Coasters, stickers and post cards
Derek pondering, "What to order next?"
After settling down we sat at our table and ordered Trader Vic's famous Mai Tai's, and boy did they not disappoint. They were the best Mai Tai we had out of all the places we visited in Florida (which was determined after the completion of our little trip) and the most tasty and potent! Basically a Trader Vic's traditional 1944 Mai Tai recipe has next-to-no fruit juices in it, unless rum is considered a fruit juice. *Wink* We ordered enough food to feed a small army and enjoyed the atmosphere as well as a few other cocktails.
After getting our afternoon fill of Trader Vic's (and sobering up), it was time to check into our motel and get ready to explore our second location in Sarasota, the Bahi Hut Cocktail Lounge. The Bahi Hut opened in 1954 and is one of the last remaining examples of a vintage Tiki lounge. With their claim of the "Most Lethal Mai Tai", so it was a good thing our motel was right next door!
Then again we didn't know what was in-store for us right behind those doors......
To sum up our very bizzare experience at the Bahi Hut lounge would be to say that it was so strange and uncomforable that I didn't even get a chance to snap any photos of the inside. The locals were quite rowdy and it felt like Derek and I were trapped in some weird tv sitcom situation or being pranked on those "You Got Punked" crap-reality tv programs. It was that strange. I now understand why this place is a legend around Sarasota, but you just have to go there and experience it for yourself. I will say that I did enjoy what little of the decor that I did see and the staff was very friendly. I was happy to add the Bahi Hut Lounge to our Tiki roadtrip memories, though I think my liver and taste buds are still recovering from the most horrible Mai Tai I've ever tasted. Yuck!
PS-No matter where we go we meet people from Buffalo, it really is a small world.
I hope you enjoyed part one and two of my 2013 Tiki roadtrip, part three continues with visiting Orlando's Waitiki.