Hula Hula Is Back in Seattle

After being closed for about a month, Hula Hula has completed the move to its new Capitol Hill location, and today is the Grand Re-Opening. Hula Hula’s old location at the bottom of Queen Anne Hill was lost when it was slated for re-development. This new location was previously an Irish bar called Clever Dunne’s. Because they moved locations swiftly, they’ve managed to keep their employees, which is wonderful to see.

Despite the time pressure, plenty of the old Hula Hula character made the leap. Mahalo to Maika‘i Marlow for some preview pics! Owner Keith Robbins had earlier been quoted saying he wanted to up the quality of the tiki drinks with this move, so I’m eager to hear how the menu may be different. Not changing is Hula Hula’s nightly karaoke: it starts at 9pm every night, so if karaoke isn’t your bag, get there earlier. The tiki offerings in Seattle* have seen some odd fits and starts, so it’s great to see some of its existing tiki persevere.

If you’re headed to the new Hula Hula soon, please come back to the listing for Hula Hula in Critiki with your pictures, your ratings, your comments. And if you’d like to meet up with other tikiphiles there, be sure to follow the location, and share your upcoming visits.





* While we’re on the subject of tiki in Seattle, let’s talk a bit about the elephant in the room: Navy Strength. It’s a new bar in Belltown, owned by Anu and Chris Elford, who also own Rob Roy and No Anchor. I’ve agonized over this one. Literally lost sleep. But it’s not a tiki bar. I’ve no doubt it’s a wonderful bar, with great drinks—I’ve met Anu and Chris, I think they’re fantastic, creative, talented people, and they know great drinks. It’s a perfectly lovely ordinary bar that has some tiki drinks on the menu. And there are plenty of those these days: if I started to add those places to Critiki, the number of active locations would double. But it would also be boring. And if I start to think my site is boring, then we’re in real trouble. So unless they do a re-skin and turn it into a legit tiki bar (not unheard of), it’s probably not a fit for Critiki.

It’s something I wrestle with: if a bar is only being called a “tiki bar” by the press, when that’s not what it’s trying to be, then I am reluctant to add it to Critiki. Despite wanting to give answers to the tikiphiles out there who want to learn more about this “tiki bar” they’ve been hearing about, I don’t want to unnecessarily saddle a business with low scores, being rated on criteria that aren’t actually relevant to what they’re trying to do. But on the other hand, if a business is indeed saying that they are a tiki bar, then of course they should be rated on these criteria. Hence my sleepless nights.

But again, at the end of the day, I want to feel good about the places Critiki is covering. Too much of the boring stuff and I’m out. I don’t want to spend my life covering bars that look like the cafeteria of a Silicon Valley startup. «shudder»

2 thoughts on “Hula Hula Is Back in Seattle

  1. Humu,

    I believe there is inherent latitude with regards to attributing the label, “Tiki.” At the same time there is, indeed, a threshold at which something is or is not Tiki. Those of us who are Devotees (with a capital “D”) to, and Tiki/Polynesian Pop culture in general, have come to know, through our enthusiasm with and research within the subject, how these attributes may be correctly applied. Calling something “Tiki” is not a definition in itself.

    The fact that you have lost sleep over what or what not to attach the attribute, “Tiki” to exemplifies your level of not-for-profit commitment to the culture—a love that is strange, esoteric, and totally cool. If I may be so bold as to speak for the followers of this site, “We get it!” I would say, follow your instincts and your heart.

    To the degree at which the resurgence of Tiki (as with the resurgence of many lost things newly re-discovered on the Internet) seems to be within a crescendo, I feel there will be much for you to write about and share for years to come. What’s wonderful is that there are so many faucets to explore within this culture—not simply bars and restaurants, but fashion, music, art, history, and, my favorite, home-bound Tiki Culture (says the proprietor of TWO home Tiki Bars). And, of course, these faucets always seem to be within the frequency of your radar.

    Simply put, Tiki is just plain fun, and that’s all we want in the midst of this crazy, nonsensical, serious mainstream culture—simple fun and harmless escapism. We can’t go wrong, approaching it from that perspective.

    I can’t help but dig Tiki, and each new person who sits on the stool and has a Tiki drink at one of my home bars (one for winter, one for summer) can’t help but smile. It gives me Happy Tears!!!

    Keep up the great work, Humu! Sincerely, is a blessing for those of us who appreciate your sustained devotion to the site and to the World of Tiki.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree 100% that Navy Strength is not a tiki bar at all. It’s a hipster bar that uncessfully tries passing itself off as a “tiki bar”. As my review on here showed, there is very little tiki about it. Not to mention the service is very poor. I highly recommend when visiting the Seattle area to take a quick trip over to Tacoma and pay a visit to Devil’s Reef. Jason and his staff there do a tremendous job with both the drinks and the food. On top of that the decor and music is top notch.


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