After dinner in one of Chinatown's little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, my friend Rhiannon suggested a drink at a local bar, so we headed deeper into Chinatown, to 3939 Spring Mountain Road, the location of the fabulous Golden Tiki!  This ultra-hip, fun, colorful bar was an immersive experience echoing the tiki bar culture that flourished in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60s’. 

Conceived by Branden Powers, and designed and built by Danny Gallardo and Billy “The Crud” Toney, this tropical paradise was a feast for the eyes - a “lava cave” entrance, tables under palm frond roofs, an enchanted waterfall with giant clamshells, colorful lamps that looked like island drums, and gorgeous hand-carved tiki idols everywhere.  There were three distinctive areas in which to sit: at the Golden Idol bar, in the Pirate’s Cove, or in the skull-strewn Headhunter’s Village.  There was even a giant clam banquette, where partiers sat to take “shell-fies!”

The staff contributed equally to the retro-cool ambience.  Rex Dart, the resident DJ, was spinning fun, often silly novelty records like Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater,” to which we sang along gleefully.  The bartenders were mostly local musicians, and the waitresses were pin-up girls and burlesque performers with names like Ms. Red, Asia DE Vinyl, and Buttercup!

There were numerous potent tropical drinks from which to choose, including the classic Mai Tai, the Polynesian Haze, with a flaming shot glass of 151 proof rum stuck inside, or our choice, the delicious Painkiller, made with rum, orange juice, coconut cream and Dole pineapple whip!  YUM!

I’m already planning my next visit to The Golden Tiki, and I highly recommend you do a little off-Strip exploring as well, especially if you’re looking to experience a different side of Vegas.  So when you come to Las Vegas, take a little side trip to Chinatown and have an adventure of your own.