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A tiki bar is coming to South Austin thanks to Ramen Tatsu-Ya team

Arianna Auber
Ramen Tatsu-Ya is opening a tiki bar next door to its South Lamar location.

Austin doesn’t have much in the way of a dedicated tiki bar, but that’s about to change with the opening later this year of Tiki Tatsu-Ya. 

If that name sounds suspiciously like that of the local restaurant fulfilling all our ramen needs, there’s a good reason for it. The new tiki bar comes from the Ramen Tatsu-Ya team, whose second location of the ramen shop is already next door to the recently vacated space where Tiki Tatsu-Ya will open.

The tiki bar is taking over the former Backbeat building on South Lamar Boulevard. Backbeat, a cocktail bar that featured a rooftop patio with views of downtown Austin, closed on June 10 after more than two years in business.

For Ramen Tatsu-Ya chef and owner Tatsu Aikawa, the chance to open a tiki bar just one door down from one of his restaurants was too good to pass up.

“I’ve always wanted to do a bar next to a Ramen Tatsu-Ya,” Aikawa said in a press release. “And with the recent closure of Backbeat, which shares a wall with Ramen Tatsu-Ya on South Lamar, the opportunity to fulfill two dreams became a reality.”

He specifically settled on a tiki concept after learning about the idea from his brother Shion in 2013, when Shion told him his desire to run a tiki bar. Aikawa had almost even opened one a year later on East Cesar Chavez, where the current Mission Dogs eatery is, but the timing just wasn’t right, according to the release.

Expanding from ramen shops into tiki bars might seem like an odd move, but Aikawa noticed that tiki — a boozy movement that celebrates the island lifestyle — has its roots in Asian culture.

“My travels and explorations into Tiki culture revealed the deep mixing of Asian and Japanese influences brought to Hawaii through immigration, which contributed to the overall flavors of the islands. We want to maintain the authenticity of Tiki culture but with a Tatsu-Ya take on it,” he said in the press release.

Expect funky takes on classic tiki cocktails (read: lots and lots of rum) as well as completely original creations, “often with a Japanese sensibility,” according to the release. You won’t have to go next door for food: Tiki Tatsu-Ya will also explore tiki cuisine.

Longtime tiki love  Aaron Reed, previously of sister East Sixth bars the Volstead and Hotel Vegas, will helm the beverage program at Tiki Tatsu-Ya. 

It’s a busy year for the Tatsu-Ya team, which is opening an additional location of the ramen shop on East Sixth Street sometime this year. It’s also the team behind the clever and well-regarded Texas and Japanese fusion spot Kemuri Tatsu-Ya.