Mai Kai – The Postcards

The Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale is my favorite place on Earth. It’s far beyond words. Knowing the owners only makes me love it more. If you don’t know about the Mai Kai, look at my page HERE for a little information.

As part of my love for the place I started work on a Mai Kai fan site a while back. If I had more time, it would be done by now, but, you know how that goes. I have managed to get images of every vintage postcard the Mai Kai produced (as far as anyone can tell me.) So, here is that sampling of the Mai Kai ephemera catalog.

  • tropicalEarly card showing the cannibal trio of tikis on the sign.
  • pc14Perhaps the earliest photo card. The coverig for the valet area is not there yet. Look how few trees are around. It really was out in the middle of nowhere.
  • pc15A slightly later image, now showing the covered valet area. These two are some of the most common pastcards.
  • signAnother early photo card.
  • pc11Early interior shot.
  • surf roomThis was the bar before the renovation in the 1970s that created the Molokai Lounge. I am told it was really an incredible room and this single image does it no justice. There was some sort of mural that I am told was incredible.
  • mk9I assume this is an early card just because it is linen. Linen postcards went out of style a long time ago in favor of chrome. I think this is likely where the garden area is now.
  • mk5This is perhaps the oldest card. It seems to be an architectural drawing of the Mai Kai, done perhaps before they opened in 1956.
  • mysteryThe famous iconic Mystery Drink Lady. This piece of Polynesian Pop was invented by the Mai Kai.
  • guestsA classic luau scene at the Mai Kai.
  • galsThe friendly wait staff of the Mai Kai.
  • coffeeThe pouring of the Flaming Coffee Grog.
  • pc3This is a little later than the second card above. The covered valet area is there now.
  • pc1This is also perhaps a very early card from before they opened showing an architectural rendering of the Mai Kai.
  • bartenderThe coasters on the bar and the style of the Rum Barrel tell that this is a very early image. Likely 1950s, maybe early 1960s.
  • pc4Here is his counterpart. I think this card is dated 1963. I know that’s got to be a wig, but, wow, what hair! The picture is taken in exactly the same spot as the one above. It could be the same photo shoot which would make the above image not 1950s.
  • mk11An exterior shot from the road. This tiki is still there in front of Bora Bora. My guess is that this is from the mid 1970s, but I am not sure.
  • pc12A wider shot of the with the same tiki. You can see the city now coming to meet the Mai Kai. The car is early 70s. I think this is an image after the remodel that added to the Mai Kai in the 1970s.
  • mk3The first of a trio of paintings of the Mai Kai that were made into postcards.
  • pc8
  • pc5
  • longpicA long picture card.
  • molokaiA linen card of the Molokai Lounge.  That means it came out in the 1970s, but the style is old. Maybe this is also an architectural image of an uncompleted lounge, before it was opened.

  • mk8The performers of the Mai Kai. I think this is from the 1970s as well.
  • pc9I think these are interior images from before the renovations.
  • pc6I think this is a later shot. Maybe 1970s.
  • pc3vThis shows the room that would become the gift shop after the remodel. I think it is from the early 1970s.
  • pc13A recent postcard.
    I think it is all of them. If you have any not here, please send me images of them.

If you have not been to the Mai Kai, you need to put it on the top of your to-do list and think about coming down in a month to Hukilau when it will be filled with enthusiasts from around the world. It is truly greater than any description can give.

UPDATE: Another new one found.

13 Replies to “Mai Kai – The Postcards”

  1. He is sort of right. The Mai Kai employees over 200 people. It’s a huge operation and thanks to the hard work of the great staff and the guiding hands of the family owners, it continues to thrive. But something that complex could change and end. I hope it never does! I wanna take my daughter there for her first legal drink when she is 21 in 6 years. But as in all things in life, do not take them for granted. Get there now!

  2. I CAN’T WAIT!!! Only 10 days ’til my next Mystery Drink!

    Now that I have a working computer once again, I bet I spend at least a half hour a day (some days much more) from now until then pouring over this post. I also can’t wait to see these postcards in person!

  3. March 26, 2007~~
    I went to the Mai Kai as a kid in the mid 1960’s…. about 1967 or 1968.
    It was a wondrous fairyland inside and out!! I have color photos that we took of the exterior. Beautifully landscaped on the outside with big sea shells acting as fountains…it was a true fantasy land!!! Better than Disney World!!
    I had one of those long slim post cards on my little bulletin board for years!! They gave them free back then~~
    I saw the floor show back then…boy i wanted one of those gorgeous floral leis that they had for sale, i think that they were a whopping $3.50 at the time.
    I had a pineapple drink in a real carved pineapple there~~ it was about $3.25 back then.
    Well the MaiKai is an established tourist attraction and since it has been around for 50 years, i think that it will be there for another 50!

  4. I took my grandmother there so she could finally see fire dancers and it was a blast. She was always cold in her last years and I was able to treat her to two trips to Florida. We made it to the Mai Kai on the latter of the two and I am so glad we did. She passed away a week after I got her home to West Virginia.

  5. Taking out of towners to the Mai Kai was always the high light of everyones vacation in the 60’s. There really wasn’t alot to do back then and it was way before its time, after all Ft. Lauderdale back then was just a sleepy little town. Great posts cards…………………..Janice

  6. once again – LOVIN’ this site – such wonderful memories and the MAI KAI – the place of my engagement – nearly 40 years ago – in the garden – my TOM placed my engagement ring on my finger – LOVE IT!


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