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The Creation of Hale Tiki
Augusta, GA

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In March, 2004, I joined the Bamboo Ben crew and met Basement Kahuna, Crazy Al and Ben to convert an empty shell into a tiki bar in one week. Hell, not even a week. More like 4 days. Brad had met Al and Ben on a beach at Hukilau 2003 and asked if they would help him build his bar. They have heard that before and figured it would never happen. But it did happen and they kept their word.

With a literal ton of thatch, matting and bamboo from Oceanic Arts and many carvings from BK, plus a huge mass of donations by Tiki Central members, we set out to make this transformation.

We met in Atlanta at Trader Vic's where they flew into.

Crazy Al Evans - Artist - Mad Man - Stunt double for Captain Morgan

Bamboo Ben - Third Generation Tropical Artist - Mad Man

BK, Me, Hale Tiki Manager, bartender and owner Brad, Al, Kiliki, Ben and Brad's wife Jules

The facade of Hale Tiki. The black thing will be rewired to make the neon sign. The Chateau was the former restaurant.

The bare walls of what would become the big room in the back. We had to cover that awful red, beige and black ceiling, and the walls, and come up with better lighting... for starters...

BK demolishes some shelves in the area that will become a seating alcove.

Al up front near the bar area looks for some inspiration.

Maybe that's inspiration on the phone? You can see some of the tapa cloth that's become wallpaper and a lauhala wainscoting.

Al trimming the lauhala matting under the bar with Ben's "help."

A call from home and a few minute break for Ben in the Chief's Hut.

Ben working near the doorway between the bar and first room.He hand selected the bamboo to cover that door way top to bottom with few gaps. For tapa cloth wall paper and one of the original lights.

More work from the other side.

Al working on the area behind the bar as Brad watches.

The doorway gets some of BK's carved panels and tapa.

The wall and doorway at the back rooms gets more hand carved paneling and Ben's Bamboo wall effect.

Ben and Brad inspect the area in front of the bar with the bamboo trim in place.

Ben and Al pulled a late night working together and when we came back the next morning, they had constructed a bamboo rafters in the first room that was awsome. Seeing Ben do pull-ups on it told us it was damn secure too!

The ceiling is painted black so you get an open air at night feeling.

The thatch roof over the bar has been installed.

Al creates the plan for the wall behind the bar.

Vaughn, on the ladder, was the original partner with Brad and a profesional contractor. His crew did a ton of the groundwork on the bar. We just came in and finished it out.

BK inspects Al's creation behind the bar. His carved panels show up well under the lights.

A little R&R between work.

The back room is now covered in lauhala trimmed out in bamboo. The cieling is covered in reed fencing and we are installing the large bamboo frames.

The cove area is needing more work...

BK and I could not wait and put up the first decor pieces. This is a Gope board he carved with authentic Papua New Guinea arrows and bow around it.

BK adds a few more of his hand carved pieces to the walls beside the bar.

That was the work of maybe 4 days with Ben and Al. The place had a design and BK stayed and helped put it all together as we all went back home.

A few weeks later, I took Brad and BK to Indiana to a collector/dealer of Papua New Guinea artifacts I knew to fill a van with stuff to decorate Hale Tiki.

Here you see the storage space filled with carved artifacts.

BK tries on a ceremonial outfit for size.

It was a difficult choice. But we filled the van and headed back.

I didn't see the finished bar until a little later when I took Sven Kirsten, author of the "Book of Tiki" to see it himself.

This is one of 4 or 5 tikis Brad got off Ebay. They are mahogony.

Sven enjoys a cocktail at the bar. You see two more of those tikis to the right behind the bar.

Sven and Brad talk story in the back room. BK's Cookalloussu watches over


A Witco fountain at the door, and BK's carved "Aloha" sign.

Mark beside an Oratory table in the Chief's Hut.

Swanky in the Cheif's hut with Flounder painting on the wall.

BK and Sven talk shop.

BK, Swanky, Sven and Brad under the great neon sign.

Later there was the grand opening party and a few folks came up from Florida.

Bre-elle and Tristan

And Pablus enjoyed a variety of Hale Tiki's concoctions

Hale Tiki closed in 2005. Much of the music was provided by Swanky. Recordings of classic vinyl Exotica and Hapa Haole and other island music.