Tiki chic is one of our favorite looks (who can forget this amazing cover house from 2017?) so it’s no wonder that we get excited over places that bring this beloved look to life. Today we’re heading to Laguna Beach, California, where a midcentury tiki bar has a new lease on life.
Tiki History at the Royal Hawaiian
According to their website, the Royal first opened its doors in December of 1947. “Harrold Hanna, a war veteran, and Francis Cabang, a previous coworker, opened it together. Harrold supplied the finances while Francis ran the restaurant. It started as a 50-seat restaurant with nine long tables and an Aloha filled crew. Quickly becoming a local hang out, a bar was soon added and the famous Lapu Lapu was born.”
The early success of the Royal Hawaiian was a direct result of their friendly service, cheap drinks, and island enthused food. “It soon became a destination spot and was revered for its authentic island ambiance,” says the site. “Filled with paintings of the islands, an abundance of tikis, tropical fish, and island style structures, patrons claimed to feel as if they were transported to the Hawaiian Islands – dining in a hula hut.”
Restoring Tiki Chic
As is the tale for many tiki bars of the midcentury, the Royal Hawaiian saw a long dry spell and fell to shambles. In 2015, that all changed. Mo Honarkar purchased the Royal Hawaiian and began renovating it in 2016 alongside his daughter Hasty Honarkar and son-in-law Eric Bostwick. “Mo, a local in the city of Laguna, wishes to bring back a piece of Laguna Beach history. His aim is to give the Royal Family a place to feel nostalgic while giving the next generation their turn at making Royal memories.”
The Tiki Bar is Back, for Good
Known for their island-inspired food, tiki mugs (two of their mugs made it onto our must-have list) and tropical libations, the Royal Hawaiian is a hub of all things tiki. The space is also available for large parties and events—which means your next birthday could be celebrated in true island style! Cheers to the revival of tiki bars!