history of tiki


Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, is considered by many as the founding father of tiki restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

At 19, he began travelling to many of the islands of the Caribbean and the South Pacific.  He then moved to Hollywood in the 1930s and opened a bar called "Don's Beachcomber" in 1933 after Prohibition ended.

Later on, he would legally changed his name to Donn Beach.

Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr. opened a pub in Oakland, California, originally called "Hinky Dink's" in 1934 at the age of 30 that he later changed to "Trader Vic's".

In 1944, Trader Vic had created what is widely known as the pinnacle of Tiki Cocktails: the Mai Tai. Donn Beach claimed that he had originally made the drink in 1933.  Although the cocktails were similar, Trader Vic was ultimately recogzied as the original creator of the Mai Tai.


Although Vic and Donn had a friendly rivalry, the competition between the staff of the two establishments was far from cordial. This led them to explore ways of making new and exotic cocktails using different kinds of rums, fruit juices, and other spirits.

This competition pushed the bartenders to elevate their craft and over time, form the basis of what would become the Tiki cocktail genre.