With more than half a century of experience under its belt, this must-visit Florida tiki joint is still going strong—with even stronger drinks.
Every week from Memorial Day through Labor Day, our readers are voting for the best spots of the summer—and this week’s winner for the Best Tiki Bar is Mai-Kai Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!
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Opened in 1956, Mai-Kai boasts a delightfully retro ’50s vibe—and a classic menu that hasn’t changed since the restaurant opened. The sarong-clad waitresses and bar offerings of more than 51 tropical drinks pay playful tribute to the tiki bar tradition, and each of the many rooms of this sprawling restaurant reflects a different region of Polynesia, with waterfalls and lagoons scattered throughout. Stop by any night except Monday for a captivating dance performance by the Polynesian Islander Revue, complete with hand-sewn costumes—just make a reservation first.
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With 600 seats, Mai-Kai has room for a crowd, and it’s often full: Out-of-towners and locals alike keep the restaurant packed. Don’t mistake the lively tiki atmosphere for laxity, though—Mai-Kai has a dress code, with rules against hats, t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. You may not be able to walk straight off the beach and into Mai-Kai, but experiencing the energy in this storied joint is well worth packing a change of clothes.
Congratulations to last week’s winner for Best Seaside Town for Celebrating July Fourth, Southport, North Carolina! Click here to see all the winners so far, and don’t forget to vote in this week’s competition: What’s the Best Crab Cake in America? Keep an eye on our Best of Summer 2017 voting schedule to make sure you don’t miss a single competition!
Photo: Courtesy of Mai-Kai Restaurant