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Mai-Kai

Fort Lauderdale, FL
Bar, Restaurant, Store & Floor Show
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3599 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Opened in 1956
Open daily at 5pm
dinner til 10:30pm Sun-Thu
til 11:30pm Fri & Sat
All ages in restaurant,
21+ only in bar
(954) 563-3272
Fire dancers,
flaming Kona Coffee Grog,
Mystery Drink,
flambeed desserts

Critiki ratings

Mai-Kai

9.7

Overall

by 376 people

1

10

Detail
Everyone You
Decor 10
Drink Quality 9.3
Drink Selection 9.9
Food Quality 8.8
Food Selection 9.5
Mood 10
Music 9.8
Service 9.6
Tikiness 10
Tilt 9.9
Vibe 9.8

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Regulars & Visitors

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Humuhumu’s description

The Mai-Kai is perhaps the last of the grand Polynesian palaces still operating from when tiki was at its peak in the late '50s and early '60s. That the Mai-Kai not only still exists today, but is vibrant and thriving, is something we should all be very grateful for—but not take for granted.
The Mai-Kai was opened in 1956 by two brothers from Chicago, Bob and Jack Thornton, in an age when roadside attractions were springing up all over Florida; eventually Bob took over the business. Like many of these attractions, the Mai-Kai grew over time to be quite a spectacle—it includes eight dining rooms, a bar that on its own would stand as perhaps the best tiki bar in the world, tropical gardens with walking paths and waterfalls, a stage in the center to showcase the Polynesian floor show, and of course, a gift shop.
Today, experiencing the Mai-Kai is much as it was in the '60s. The experience begins as you listen to the wooden slat bridge you drive over to reach the porte cochere and valets. As you enter the restaurant, you are greeted by an elegant maitre'd. Be sure to bring some singles when you visit the restroom, as the bathroom has attendants on hand to assist you. The Mai-Kai's manager is Kern Mattei, who took over the position from his father.
When you're drinking at the Mai-Kai, you're drinking tiki history. The bar program here was created by legendary bartender Mariano Licudine, who came from the Don the Beachcomber
history
Don the Beachcomber
Chicago, IL
Bar & Restaurant
10
in Chicago, and brought Don the Beachcomber drinks with him.
Bob and Jack have passed away, and the restaurant is now run by Bob's wife Mirielle. Bob met Mirielle when she joined the Mai-Kai as a Tahitian dancer, and still today she runs the Mai-Kai's Polynesian revue. As new dances are added to the show, Mirielle first visits the island where the dance originates to ensure it will be performed properly and will be blessed by its people. All dining rooms overlook the popular show, and dinner reservations are recommended.
The enchanting nature of the female form is something that is celebrated throughout Polynesian pop, but perhaps nowhere quite so extensively as the Mai-Kai. The beautiful waitresses to this day are attired in bikini tops and wraparound sarongs. For many years, a Mai-Kai calendar was offered featuring the many beautiful women of the Mai-Kai. This worship reaches its zenith with the Mystery Drink, delivered by the Mystery Girl, an experience that must be witnessed to be fully appreciated, so I will not describe it here, but rather urge you to visit the Mai-Kai yourself and order one.
In February 2015, the Mai-Kai was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Comments

tikibenji
tikibenji has visited Mai-Kai.
October 30, 2020, 2:59 AM
Update on Mai-Kai:

"With gratitude for the overwhelming support from our loyal fan base these past days, the Mai-Kai Restaurant family regretfully shares that the temporary closure is due to a weekend flood. While this is disappointing, we are excited to begin the first phase of enhancing both the structure and design of one of the most unique historic dining and entertainment venues in all of South Florida. We are in the process of finalizing the renovation plan and remain committed to providing exceptional and memorable guest service, comfort and amenities.

The Hulaween drive-in movie event will take place this Friday night as scheduled!

As always, we thank our passionate, loyal patrons for your support,

The Mai-Kai family"

Link to the source, Mai-Kai's Mailing List
tikibenji
tikibenji has visited Mai-Kai.
October 28, 2020, 6:26 AM
Anxious to hear about the (hopefully temporary) closing of Mai-Kai, It's been the most important stop of three annual solo trips across the Atlantic. The first time was a solo visit, the staff made me feel so incredibly welcome, including the manager giving me a tour around all the rooms, garden and kitchen to be able to geek out and collect photos (as the bag of mugs I purchased was by my side). The drinks blew my mind, the food even more so. I didn't want to leave.

Second trip, had a few colleagues with me and we managed to get the central balcony table, the food was incredible yet again, the drinks were sensational along with the atmosphere.

Third trip, even more colleagues with me, we were last to leave after having such a blast with our server and getting to soak up all of the atmosphere (while the drinks were being soaked up by the wood oven duck).

I really hope Mai-Kai survives the current unknown times.
September 20, 2020, 6:32 PM
The Mai-Kai is a wonderful Classic South Pacific restaurant that has been operating since 1956. The food and show are excellent. It also has a nice tropical garden with waterfall adjacent to the restaurant. 5 Stars. By Gregg L. Friedman MD
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