Tiki has landed on the shores of Indianapolis in a tropical wave of bamboo and pineapples. The following Indy tiki spots had us at aloha.
Owner David “Tufty” Clough was an early convert to the tiki crusade. The back of his lucha libre–inspired cantina that opened in 2011 is a surf-tinged repository of coconut heads and hula frippery. During the warm months, sip your banana daiquiris and flaming Jet Pilots on the thatched-in patio with its own island bar.
1132 Prospect St., 317-423-9490
Tiki at a Chinese restaurant? Sure—the pairing feels right if that restaurant is a ’70s-era throwback with a huge menu and its own brand of camp. Substitute a few tiki tropes—wooden masks for a bas-relief dragon ceiling and grass mats for red leatherette—and this joint has enough tongue-in-cheek atmosphere to support a menu of rummy “tropical refreshments.”
49 Mercator Dr., Greenwood, 317-881-5531
Fountain Square’s tiki tabernacle is strikingly legit, from the authentic tribal decor (get a partial inventory on page 92) to the rum-forward menu of 28 cocktails served in coconuts and totem chalices. Owners Ed Rudisell and Chris Coy took two years (and great pains) to fashion this double-decker bar after classics like Chicago’s Three Dots and a Dash. But they managed to create a jaw-dropping paradise in its own right.
902 Virginia Ave., 317-426-2343
The focus is on stellar Asian-fusion cuisine, but this precursor to Ed Rudisell’s top-shelf The Inferno Room knows what kind of cocktails pair well with jalapeño Spam sliders and coconut ramen. Many of the drinks are built around botanical gins, with plenty of fruity lushness.
501 Virginia Ave., 317-737-2293
Foosball tables and private karaoke rooms don’t have much to do with tiki culture. But those eponymous shareable cocktails, served in party-sized glass bowls with ladles for dipping, look exactly like something a 1960s housewife would set out on her Danish buffet cabinet during a luau-themed party.
120 S. Meridian St., 317-249-8613
A newcomer to the Broad Ripple bar scene, this amber-lit, lower-level watering hole is more sexy than kitschy, with an ambient soundtrack that renders the tiki aspect more of a soft sell. The cocktails, poured into fishbowl chalices and skull mugs with lychees and orange slices, come on a bit stronger.
1001 Broad Ripple Ave., 317-389-5555
Read more from our
Isle of Tiki package here.