Hooptylau — Central California's Tiki Crawl

Most of you are probably aware of The Hukilau, happening in early October in Ft. Lauderdale (and if you’re not, well thank goodness we’ve now fixed that!). However, the very next weekend California’s Central Valley area will be enjoying their own not-to-be-missed event, the 2nd Annual Hooptylau.

Hooptylau may not be able to boast so exotic and elegant a destination as the Mai Kai, but it’s no slouch in terms of history and tikiness. Destinations on the tour will include Modesto’s Tiki Lounge, which was once a part of the Modesto Tropics (former sister to what is now Palm Springs’ Caliente Tropics, location of the annual Oasis event) and where once can still see some great Ed Crissman tikis in the parking lot. The Tiki Lounge is small and has become a dive bar of sorts, but it still retains some fantastic details and structure, most notably in the form of lovely bamboo and thatch cozy booths, and beautiful wahine paintings.

Speaking of wahine paintings, the nearby Minnie’s Restaurant has an amazing collection of velvet and oil wahine paintings by Tyree, a protege of Leeteg. Minnie’s was once part of the same collection of restaurants that included the Stockton Islander, Torrance’s Latitude 20°, and Oxnard’s Trade Winds. Minnie’s has an impressive amount of tiki charm and remains a popular restaurant today. You may find it hard to leave without enjoying their Oyster Beef.

There is a fabulous home tiki bar in Ripon, the Dark Marq Room, that will also be included on the tour. Owned by Tiki Central’s The Drunken Hat and Tiki Cleen, this location will combine the 1-2 punch of Hat’s tasty mixology (Hat’s grog won the Oasis Mixology contest this year) with their amazing tiki collection and bar.

The Hooptylau organizers have fun with the Central Valley’s seedy reputation (one of last year’s highlights was the Worst Aloha Wear competition), but make no mistake — the destinations on this tour are top-notch and individually worth a visit.

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