On Tuesday (10.27), Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s iconic tiki mecca, the Mai-Kai announced an immediate halt to operations slated to last months. The restaurant (and Polynesian show!) offered neither an explanation for the closure nor a hard date for reopening.
Tikiphiles worldwide shed a rum soaked tear into their leis after reading a message posted to the Mai-Kai’s Facebook page this morning.
The Mai-Kai Restaurant & Polynesian Show will be closed effective today and for the upcoming months. While we don't have a reopen date finalized, we will keep our loyal patrons up to date as soon as we have more information to share. We are proud to be one of the most unique dining and entertainment venues in all of South Florida. Since we opened our doors in 1956, it has been our pleasure to transport our guests to the warmth and magical aura of Polynesia. Stay well and thank you for your support, The Mai-Kai family
A call to the restaurant for more information was not answered, but the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported a little more info. The paper confirmed that the annual Hulaween event is still on.
“The Hulaween [event] is still happening,” Sales & Marketing Director Pia Dahlquist told the daily. “It’s in the parking lot.”
On December 28, 1956, brothers Bob and Jack Thornton swung open the doors of the A-framed Mai-Kai. The tropical oasis was filled with waterfalls, thatched roofs, dancers, and lots of tiki drinks. Millions of Rum Barrels later, the Mai-Kai was still remarkably unchanged.
Any given night at the Mai-Kai, you’d find mix of locals, tourists, and cocktail buffs. However, to tiki enthusiasts, the establishment is sacred, a Mecca.“It’s really the last remaining relic of its time. There’s not another structure as immersed in tiki as the Mai-Kai,” Tiki expert and The Hukilau founder Christie White explained to Neat Pour. “It’s like entering King Tut’s Tomb, a perfect time capsule of a different world.”