Tiki time

PRINCEVILLE — Great food, strong drinks and a fun, cheesy atmosphere? Tiki Iniki is the epitome of everything you want in a tiki bar.

There’s something about tiki bars that will never get old. Whether it’s the decorations, the music or the ceramic tiki cups, it’s hard to not have a good time.

But at Tiki Iniki, it’s not just corny and for show. The food, the drinks and the ambiance make it a must-go for anyone looking to spend a day up in the North Shore.

When I stumbled upon Tiki Iniki during my intense research into a TGIF story (five minutes on Yelp), I was immediately attracted to this place for one reason and one reason alone: It was a tiki bar.

I went for lunch this past week, and found Tiki Iniki in Princeville Shopping Center, hiding behind the Bank of Hawaii. The bar had only two occupants but most of the tables outside were taken. A man at the door greeted me with a traditional “aloha!” and asked me about my day.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know he was the host until he asked if he could get me a water and a menu. It just goes to show our friendly their staff can be.

Tiki Iniki had a very laid-back tone, as if I was in a friend’s back yard to hang out and have a few drinks. As I attempted to look over the menu, I was distracted by the ceramic tiki mugs on the top shelf of the bar and the bartender making drinks.

It was like an artist painting on a canvas, except that he was mixing some lethal combinations of alcohol and fresh fruit that would surely make you think twice before getting behind the wheel.

I played it safe with my lunch order, a pulled pork sandwich with fries. I wasn’t expecting the best part of my lunch to be the food — I thought the atmosphere and decoration would win me over — but the pulled pork was cooked perfectly. Not only was the pork tender and plentiful, it was roasted in banana and Ti leaves, tossed in a house made Hawaiian BBQ sauce and served on a toasted bun.

I was in the early stages of a kanak attack after the sandwich, but I wasn’t about to leave the fries by themselves. After gobbling down the fries, I looked at the drink menu. I was tempted by the Flaming Zombie, but also intimidated.

From what I’ve been told, that is a drink to have when you don’t have to drive. I decided on a Blue Hawaiian, but determined that I would have to come back again for the Flaming Zombie when it’s not in the middle of the day and had someone with me for moral support.

The Blue Hawaiian was much bigger than I imagined. It came with fresh fruit, an edible flower and a strong kick of alcohol that cleared up my sinuses. But it wasn’t just strong, it was delicious. A Blue Hawaiian is the perfect drink to order if you want a taste of Hawaii — it’s refreshing, tasty and easy on the eye.

Shortly after I finished my drink, the check came. Well, a receipt in a Spam can. Classy, just the way it should be.

I wish I could’ve stayed longer to really explore their menu, but there will be other times for that. Maybe even this weekend.

If you’re looking for a fun evening with friends or a romantic date with a welcoming atmosphere, Tiki Iniki is the place to go. Just be sure that you have a designated driver if you order the Flaming Zombie or any of their other potent drinks — you don’t want to get shipwrecked.

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