Farewell to Kreepy Tiki in Fort Lauderdale… Hello to More Mai-Kai?

Let’s lead with the tidbit that’s got a lot of folks excited: more Mai-Kai? Huh?

Dave Levy, photo by Sven Kirsten
Dave Levy, photo by Sven Kirsten

This morning the New York Times has a brief one-on-one with Dave Levy, the head of the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale. Dave is the son of Mireille Thornton, who was born in Tahiti and came to the Mai-Kai as a dancer. She fell in love with the co-founder of the Mai-Kai, Bob Thornton, and they were married. Mireille still choreographs the Polynesian dance show at the Mai-Kai to this day. The Mai-Kai has remained in the family all this time, and Dave talks about how that continuity has been the key to their success all these years.

Then at the end of the interview…

Have you ever thought of opening another Mai-Kai?

Not another Mai-Kai, but more bars. This is too big. Finding three acres in the middle of a city somewhere, how would you do that? I have talked to several people and we’re in the process. New Jersey, New York, California, Texas. No restaurant, no show, just the bar, with all the same atmosphere.

Naturally, understandably, everyone is now excited that the Mai-Kai is coming to their town. Which does indeed sound wonderful, doesn’t it? The Mai-Kai is the standard by which all other tiki bars are judged, and no one else better understands the importance of nailing the complete environment, and the power of providing a high-end, inviting, non-cynical experience.

So, when is this going to happen? It’s an enchanting vision, and likely is just that right now: a vision. Keep in mind that the question Dave is answering here is “have you ever thought about,” not “are you going to.” I’ve heard this same vision from Dave myself. “Talked to several people” is a preliminary phase. But keep going to the Mai-Kai, keep holding tiki bars to a high standard, and maybe, just maybe, Levy will be able to connect with the right people to make that vision a reality.

Kreepy Tiki in Fort Lauderdale, photo by A'Pau-ling
Kreepy Tiki in Fort Lauderdale, photo by A’Pau-ling

Okay, now to the less exciting news out of Fort Lauderdale: Kreepy Tiki has announced that its tiki bar is going to close on April 1. The related tattoo shop will continue to operate. Mahalo to Critiki member donwestchester for the heads-up. You’ve got a month to go experience it!


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