Texas Tiki Week returns to Austin with lots of cocktails, events and more
Finally, Austin is getting properly tropical, thanks to the arrival of bar concepts like the vacation-themed Last Straw on the east side.
But, besides the outdoor haven of Pool Burger, we don’t yet have an actual, bona fide tiki bar — not until the Ramen Tatsu-Ya team opens its planned tiki concept at the South Austin space that formerly housed cocktail bar Backbeat later this year.
In the meantime, the local chapter of the nonprofit U.S. Bartenders Guild has a pretty swell alternative: the return of Texas Tiki Week, which promises to take tiki vibes to the next level from Sept. 10-16 at a variety of Austin bars. The USBG has produced Texas Tiki Week since 2012 as a way to share knowledge about tiki drinks and culture, but since last year, it has sought to expand its reach to more people with a series of events that will make Austin feel like a tropical island.
Namely, the creators and owners of one of the most venerated tiki bars in the U.S., Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, are coming back to town — after a successful seminar at last year’s Texas Tiki Week — for a bar takeover during opening night at the Roosevelt Room, as well as another class. The bar takeover at the Roosevelt Room, which will transform into a tiki paradise with thatched roofs and more, starts at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10.
Here are some other Texas Tiki Week events open to the public. Keep in mind that some are ticketed, which you can pay for via Eventbrite, and some are free.
- Tiki Bingo at Nickel City, Sept. 12. What’s tiki bingo, you ask? We’re not really sure, either, but you’re guaranteed a good time with rum drinks from guest bartender Nicholas Ivarra, of San Antonio, a sneakily wonderful place for craft cocktails.
- Late Night at Last Straw, Sept. 13. Haven’t experienced the heavily tropical vibes of this brand-new East Austin watering hole? Now’s your chance. The 10 p.m. event will feature some of Last Straw’s more tiki-centric cocktails as well as late-night bites.
- Three Dots and a Dash Party, Sept. 14. Another of the country’s best cocktails bars, Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago, is taking over Palazzo Lavaca for a festive night of booze and music during which you’ll want to wear your favorite tropical finery. There will be face painting, a photo booth and more.
- Tiki Village, Sept. 15. The Tiki Village was a rousing success last year, and the USBG decided to bring it back and will host the marketplace — featuring vendors selling tiki-themed art and other products — on the Weather Up patio from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You are encouraged to enjoy a tiki cocktail while you shop.
- The Real McCoy Drive-In Movie Night, Sept. 15. Return to Weather Up in the evening for screenings of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” and the documentary “The Story of Bill McCoy and the Rum War at Sea,” an Emmy Award-winning true story about Roaring Twenties-era rum runner McCoy.
- Closing Party at NLand Surf Park, Sept. 16. Want to feel like you’ve just left Austin for Hawaii? Take an evening surf lesson, listen to live music from hapa haole band Combo Mahalo that will be accompanied by hula dancers, and enjoy cocktails from guest bartenders of Houston’s Lei Low Rum & Tiki Bar.
And if you find yourself wishing for more tiki cocktails after all that rum next week, here’s a guide to good tiki cocktails in Austin.
For more information about Texas Tiki Week, visit texastikiweek.com.