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Courtesy Kanaloa

Where to Sip Tropical Tiki Cocktails in Houston

These cocktails are like a vacation in a glass

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If you like pina coladas, Houston has you covered. The tiki craze that dominated cocktail, furniture, and fashion trends in the middle of the last century has officially retaken its place in the American bar scene. That’s especially true in the Bayou City, where rum bars with bamboo interiors and tropical cocktails have been steadily cropping up in the last 5 years.

With summer fast approaching, these 12 tiki cocktails will transport drinkers to exotic locales when a beachy escape just isn’t in the budget.

Is your favorite tiki-themed cocktail missing from this map? Shout it out in the comments.

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Lei Low Bar

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Houston’s vanguard tiki bar has paved the way for every Polynesian themed paradise that followed. The mai tai here, nutty and stout, is the city’s best, but Lei Low has a multi-page menu of creative drinks like El Tiburon which trades a traditional rum base for smoky mezcal and adds mango, chile, salt, and lime for a briny bite.

Lei Low/Facebook

Better Luck Tomorrow

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Though not traditionally tiki, Better Luck Tomorrow’s Mr. Sunshine with pineapple and satsuma, the passion-fruit imbued Long Story Short, and hurricanes (which are half off any time it’s raining) all have summertime appeal.   

Baylea Jones/Eater

HandleBar Houston

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This Washington Corridor nightlife mecca has a Magnum P.I. themed speakeasy. Hawaiian-inspired pours include the Aku Aku with rum, peach, and mint and the HB rum punch: a dangerous concoction of rum, bourbon, gin, and grapefruit liqueur. But since the bar is hidden, you’ll have do some investigating of your own to find it.

Decatur Bar & Pop-Up Factory

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This experimental concept new to Old Sixth Ward hosts a rotating chef-in-residence every 9-12 months. Current Chef Evelyn Garcia curated four island-inspired cocktails including the Thai Good, Like Shirt—a blue hued blend of gin, rye, lime, orgeat, and Blue Curaçao. On the main menu, the frozen forecast fuses fire and ice as habanero vodka and thirst-quenching cucumber combine.

Kanaloa

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A rum-soaked oasis with bamboo paneling, Kanaloa serves sparkler-topped libations out of ukulele and treasure chest shaped vessels. The menu features standard tiki drinks, classic cocktails with a twist like a rum old fashioned or pineapple Manhattan, and vintage Donn Beach creations like the bittersweet Sumatra Kula with orange juice, grapefruit, and honey.

Courtesy Kanaloa

High & Dry

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With over 200 rums, house made syrups and tinctures, and imaginative garnishes like banana chips and fruit leather, High & Dry takes tiki to new heights. The Coco Loco delights and the Bajan Brew (combining rum, cold brew coffee, and coconut) provides a delicious pick-me-up. Head to the secluded second story patio complete with an ambient waterfall to experience Downtown’s own slice of paradise.

Boheme’s frozen mojito, a house specialty, is quite the crowd pleaser. The frosty mix of lime juice and muddled mint is a soothing balm on sweltering days.

Voodoo Queen Daiquiri Dive

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Daiquiris dominate at Voodoo Queen, but don’t sleep on the massive selection of mixed drinks. Order a mai tai, hurricane, rum barrel, or go big with a flaming scorpion bowl or the cursed mermaid, a hollowed out pineapple swimming with fruit juices and lots of rum.  

Amy McCarthy/Eater

Anvil Bar & Refuge

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Anvil’s famed 100 list has an entire section devoted to tiki and tropical drinks. The 9 offerings include classics like the mai tai, painkiller, and blue Hawaiian. For something fruity, smooth, and refreshing, try the Missionary’s Downfall, a rum based drink with pineapple, peach liqueur, honey, and mint.

Baylea Jones/Eater

Night Heron

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Night Heron has a few tropical drinks on hand including a serrano spiked daiquiri and the jungle bird with tart lime and pineapple mellowed by chocolate and cinnamon spiced mole bitters, but the piña colada, a less cloying version elevated with grated nutmeg, shines.

Baylea Jones/Eater

Nobie's

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The Toasted Coconut, a new tiki bar from the Nobie’s team is slated for a Montrose opening this summer. Until then, the Rum Away With Me—a meld of aged rum, herbaceous gran classico bitters, banana, and blanc vermouth adding sweet, floral notes—should hold you over.

Tropicales

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A newcomer to Boulevard Oaks, Tropicales cafe has the lush ambience and rich flavors of a Caribbean vacation. Standout options include the pink and white Baby Moon with silky guava creme, a tequila based pina colada with buttery avocado, and the robust bourbon, cinnamon, and citrus tinged Distant Beaches.

Baylea Jones/Eater

Lei Low Bar

Houston’s vanguard tiki bar has paved the way for every Polynesian themed paradise that followed. The mai tai here, nutty and stout, is the city’s best, but Lei Low has a multi-page menu of creative drinks like El Tiburon which trades a traditional rum base for smoky mezcal and adds mango, chile, salt, and lime for a briny bite.

Lei Low/Facebook

Better Luck Tomorrow

Though not traditionally tiki, Better Luck Tomorrow’s Mr. Sunshine with pineapple and satsuma, the passion-fruit imbued Long Story Short, and hurricanes (which are half off any time it’s raining) all have summertime appeal.   

Baylea Jones/Eater

HandleBar Houston

This Washington Corridor nightlife mecca has a Magnum P.I. themed speakeasy. Hawaiian-inspired pours include the Aku Aku with rum, peach, and mint and the HB rum punch: a dangerous concoction of rum, bourbon, gin, and grapefruit liqueur. But since the bar is hidden, you’ll have do some investigating of your own to find it.

Decatur Bar & Pop-Up Factory

This experimental concept new to Old Sixth Ward hosts a rotating chef-in-residence every 9-12 months. Current Chef Evelyn Garcia curated four island-inspired cocktails including the Thai Good, Like Shirt—a blue hued blend of gin, rye, lime, orgeat, and Blue Curaçao. On the main menu, the frozen forecast fuses fire and ice as habanero vodka and thirst-quenching cucumber combine.

Kanaloa

A rum-soaked oasis with bamboo paneling, Kanaloa serves sparkler-topped libations out of ukulele and treasure chest shaped vessels. The menu features standard tiki drinks, classic cocktails with a twist like a rum old fashioned or pineapple Manhattan, and vintage Donn Beach creations like the bittersweet Sumatra Kula with orange juice, grapefruit, and honey.

Courtesy Kanaloa

High & Dry

With over 200 rums, house made syrups and tinctures, and imaginative garnishes like banana chips and fruit leather, High & Dry takes tiki to new heights. The Coco Loco delights and the Bajan Brew (combining rum, cold brew coffee, and coconut) provides a delicious pick-me-up. Head to the secluded second story patio complete with an ambient waterfall to experience Downtown’s own slice of paradise.

Boheme

Boheme’s frozen mojito, a house specialty, is quite the crowd pleaser. The frosty mix of lime juice and muddled mint is a soothing balm on sweltering days.

Voodoo Queen Daiquiri Dive

Daiquiris dominate at Voodoo Queen, but don’t sleep on the massive selection of mixed drinks. Order a mai tai, hurricane, rum barrel, or go big with a flaming scorpion bowl or the cursed mermaid, a hollowed out pineapple swimming with fruit juices and lots of rum.  

Amy McCarthy/Eater

Anvil Bar & Refuge

Anvil’s famed 100 list has an entire section devoted to tiki and tropical drinks. The 9 offerings include classics like the mai tai, painkiller, and blue Hawaiian. For something fruity, smooth, and refreshing, try the Missionary’s Downfall, a rum based drink with pineapple, peach liqueur, honey, and mint.

Baylea Jones/Eater

Night Heron

Night Heron has a few tropical drinks on hand including a serrano spiked daiquiri and the jungle bird with tart lime and pineapple mellowed by chocolate and cinnamon spiced mole bitters, but the piña colada, a less cloying version elevated with grated nutmeg, shines.

Baylea Jones/Eater

Nobie's

The Toasted Coconut, a new tiki bar from the Nobie’s team is slated for a Montrose opening this summer. Until then, the Rum Away With Me—a meld of aged rum, herbaceous gran classico bitters, banana, and blanc vermouth adding sweet, floral notes—should hold you over.

Tropicales

A newcomer to Boulevard Oaks, Tropicales cafe has the lush ambience and rich flavors of a Caribbean vacation. Standout options include the pink and white Baby Moon with silky guava creme, a tequila based pina colada with buttery avocado, and the robust bourbon, cinnamon, and citrus tinged Distant Beaches.

Baylea Jones/Eater

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