The Hale Tiki in Augusta, Georgia has gone out of business. The bar opened to much fanfare in 2004. The bar was owned by Brad “The Beachcomber” Owens, who enlisted the help of Basement Kahuna, Bamboo Ben, Crazy Al, and many other carvers and artists, ultimately creating a tapa and bamboo encrusted bar that was unusually lovely. Initially things were promising, with raves about the uncommonly good drinks, and music only being played from vintage lps.
All was not rosy, however… Owens earned some very bad publicity when he didn’t follow through on many mug and shirt orders, and did not communicate in a timely fashion about the status of orders, leaving many tikiphiles who were trying to be supportive of the Hale Tiki feel cheated. Eventually the orders were filled, but the damage had been done to Owens’ reputation. Down the road, a business feud with Basement Kahuna also seemed to negatively impact the mana of the place — I’ve heard multiple reports about the dismal quality of the drinks there in recent months, and the declining decor.
Today on Tiki Central, Brad Owens announced that the Hale Tiki’s final day was last Friday, February 17. He says he’s considering offers to sell the bar outright, but it may not open again. No word on what will come of the many carvings and artwork, some of which were donated to Hale Tiki by Tiki Centralites.
I’m glad that I got to enjoy Hale Tiki in happier times, and I lament its loss.