Pukiki, a Tiki Bar in the Atlantic Ocean


A new tiki bar, Pukiki, has opened on Madeira, a Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean, about equidistant from the shores of both Portugal and Morocco. Portugal has a long-standing relationship with Hawaii. When sugarcane was first brought to Hawaii to be farmed on large plantations, those plantations needed workers—and Portuguese emigrants from Madeira and the Azores arrived in droves, starting in the late 1800s. These Portuguese settlers were called “pukiki” by the Hawaiian natives. They brought their culture with them, and the echoes of Portugal still ring loud in Hawaii today. The ukulele, steel guitar, malasadas, sweet bread, sausage… all very Hawaiian, and all brought to Hawaii by the Portuguese.

The Ukulele, a shared bowl drink at Pukiki
The Ukulele, a shared bowl drink at Pukiki

Pukiki celebrates this connection between the islands, and mainland Polynesian pop culture, too. The bar is the creation of Carla Lopes Marques, a Madeira native, and Martin McDermott, a transplant from the UK. The decor is spare—I can’t imagine that getting materials to this remote island is easy!—but the bar is fronted with bamboo. The drinks are a mix of tiki classics and other tropicals, served in tiki mugs, and they have a wide selection of rums (by Madeira standards, at least). I particularly love their clever shared bowl drink, served in a ceramic ukulele, with the four long straws presented as “strings.”

This tiki bar is in Calheta, a small town on the southwest side of Madeira. Have vacation plans in Madeira? Go check it out for us, and share your pictures and review on the listing for Pukiki in Critiki!

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