2,500+ New Tiki Pictures in Critiki this Year

There are many ways that Critiki’s members pitch in to make Critiki what it is. The ratings, of course; the comments; spreading the word about Critiki. The most visible contribution, and the one I personally get to see most closely, are your pictures.

Every picture added to Critiki goes through a quick review process, where I annotate what’s in the image (so it can appear in the right Picture Albums), and massage the caption a bit. In previous years, this review process could take a long time. I’ve made some big improvements, and now pictures are typically approved and visible within minutes (but I do have to sleep, so sometimes it might be a few hours).

(Here’s an article I wrote with tips for getting great pictures for Critiki.)

Critiki’s members have added over 2,500 photos to the locations in Critiki just in the last year. Whoa!

Every picture added to Critiki feels like opening a wonderful gift from you:

Critiki member ksasmith's parents at Hawaii Kai in New York in 1970
Critiki member Ksasmith‘s parents at Hawaii Kai in New York in 1970
A vintage photo of patrons in a Polynesian restaurant is like getting…
a mint condition ’50s Studebaker convertible

These come through only very rarely, and when it happens, I go bananas! Look at that! Her elaborate bouffant, her shimmery handbag, her earrings dangling like glamour cherries, their pedestaled appetizers, the miniature tiki table lamp, their plastic leis, hers tangled up in her bow, the scene encased in tapa and bamboo. All dressed up for a very special night on the town—prom, perhaps? They don’t quite look old enough to drink, do they? These are the pictures that bring history to life. Critiki only gets maybe, I don’t know, two? three? of these a year. And yet, the photo above came in as I was drafting this very article! Ksasmith, you made my Christmas, mahalo!

 

Postcard from South Pacific in Hallandale, Florida, from the collection of Critiki member Dustycajun
Postcard from South Pacific in Hallandale, Florida, from the collection of Critiki member Dustycajun
A vintage postcard from a Polynesian restaurant is like getting…
a dream vacation to the South Pacific

There is simply nothing better for showing the golden age of Polynesian restaurants than vintage postcards. These showcase Tiki at its best. Interiors, exteriors, all presented in vibrant Technicolor, beckoning you to step right into the scene, find a table, and settle in for a magic evening. There’s nothing more in the world I’d like to do. (I’m pretty sure Critiki member Dustycajun has contributed more vintage ephemera than anyone else. Dustycajun, you make my heart sing.)

 

Detail of a menu from the Aloha Room in Portland, from the collection of Dustycajun
Detail of a menu from the Aloha Room in Portland, from the collection of Dustycajun
A scan or photo of vintage swizzles, matchbooks, menus, napkins, tiki mugs is like getting…
a seven-foot-tall tiki

Souvenirs: they just don’t make ’em like they used to. Long before “branding” became a buzzword, golden era tiki joints had the art down. These pieces of physical history weren’t meant to last decades, but thank goodness they have. All these little bits of vintage art just make me swoon. The illustrations! The colors! The logos! The tikis!

 

Tonga Bar in Tonsberg, Norway, photo by Critiki member Kilikopela
Tonga Bar in Tonsberg, Norway, photo by Critiki member Kilikopela
A photo showing a clear, wide view of the interior of a tiki bar is like getting…
a fat gift certificate from Oceanic Arts

Modern-day tiki bars don’t make postcards showing off their best angles anymore. That means we need to take matters into our own hands, and get some shots to show other tikiphiles what the space is all about. When it comes to modern photographs, these are by far my favorites.

(Bar owners: if you have professional beauty shots of your place, goodness gracious, add those puppies to your Critiki listing!)

 

Bora-Bora in Lisbon, Portugal, photo by Critiki member InexorableTash
Bora-Bora in Lisbon, Portugal, photo by Critiki member InexorableTash
A photo showing what a tiki bar looks like from the street is like getting…
a ukulele

These photos are not just great documentation. They are a huge help—they let folks know what to look for on their first visit.

 

Wine case at Billy's at the Beach in Newport Beach, CA, photo by Critiki member Kona Keoki
Wine case at Billy’s at the Beach in Newport Beach, CA, photo by Critiki member Kona Keoki
A photo capturing some beautiful little detail in a tiki bar is like getting…
a vintage tiki mug

Once the general interior and exterior is covered, it’s great to capture some of the details that make a place special: a gorgeous carving, an interesting lamp, a dramatic mural.

 

Napkin from Damon's in Glendale, CA, from the collection of Critiki member kenbo-jitsu
Napkin from Damon’s in Glendale, CA, from the collection of Critiki member kenbo-jitsu
A scan or photo of modern swizzles, matchbooks, menus, napkins, tiki mugs is like getting…
Martin Denny on vinyl

Though the artwork isn’t often on the same level as the best of the vintage pieces, tiki bars of today are getting better about creating their own custom ephemera and souvenirs. Sometimes these teeniest of details make the biggest impact for guests. I love when we get a nice, clear photo that lets these items have their own spotlight for a moment.

 

Behind the bar at Pagan Idol in San Francisco, photo by Critiki member KevinCrossman
Behind the bar at Pagan Idol in San Francisco, photo by Critiki member KevinCrossman
A photo of the back of the bar in a tiki bar is like getting…
a fruitcake

This is an easy picture to get if you’ve just made a beeline to the bar without stopping to get pictures first… so there are a lot of them. The back of the bar tends to be fairly uninteresting space, though: it’s mostly bottles.

 

Drink at Bootlegger Tiki in Palm Springs, CA, photo by Humuhumu
Drink at Bootlegger Tiki in Palm Springs, CA, photo by Humuhumu
A picture of your drink is like getting…
socks

Sorry, gang. I’m drowning in drink pictures. Everyone needs socks, so it’s not that these won’t get used. I’m grateful to have them! And I understand why there are so many: it’s by far the easiest picture to grab. No need to even look up at the room, much less leave your seat. But you only need so many pairs of socks, you know? Oof. So many drink pictures.

 

A picture of you and your friends in a tiki bar is like getting…
a gift I can’t use and feel terrible having to throw away

I can’t use these on Critiki for a few reasons. The images in Critiki are intended to showcase the locations, and if people are front-and-center, it shifts that focus. Also, I don’t want anyone to be surprised that a photo of them enjoying a cast-the-cares-of-the-world-away evening showed up on some website without them knowing.

 

A picture saved from some other place on the internet is like getting…
stolen goods

I can’t accept stolen goods. It breaks my heart! I know it’s well-intentioned. If you see an incredible picture out there and you want it in Critiki (hoo boy, I know that feeling!), the better move is to contact the person the picture belongs to, and ask them to add it to Critiki.

 

Related, and speaking now to those of you who have amazing collections or really primo photos but don’t add them to Critiki: I tend to not ask people individually to add their pictures to Critiki, even though there’s not much in the world that would bring me more happiness. It’s because I don’t want to make you feel guilty, or feel like you’re doing it to get me off your back. I want Critiki to be a joy for you. But I secretly extra super want you to add your pictures to Critiki.

 

Mahalo nui loa to every Critiki member who added pictures to Critiki this year. You make Critiki beautiful.

Want some tips for getting great pictures for Critiki? Read on!

4 thoughts on “2,500+ New Tiki Pictures in Critiki this Year

  1. Humu, I understand where you’re coming from about too many drink photos. However, drink photos are useful in relaying the presentation of the tropical libations of the location. Garnishes, what vessels are used to serve drinks, etc. It’s smaller details, but ones that make a difference and do add to the atmosphere and vibe, depending on how well they are done.

    I would caveat your corollary by recommending Critiki members look at the existing photos (or, at least the recent ones if an entry has a ton of photos) and if there are recent photos depicting the drinks, no need to post more. If there are no drink pics, AND the drink presentation is well done (nicely garnished, served in mugs or specialty barware) please document it with a photo.

    A place that is on the lighter side of tiki decor but serves their drinks in eye-catching mugs with excellent garnishes is always a plus for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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