Tiki Dreams: From Far-Away Fantasy to Pop-Culture Phenomenon

More than Mai Tais and swizzle sticks:
Learn how California’s iconic tiki lounges and restaurants, including many in the Bay Area, inspired a global art and design movement.

On exhibition May 20 through December 31, 2023.

Tiki is an art, design and cultural movement dating back to the pre-WWII era, when visionary California restaurateurs created lavish Tiki Rooms evoking mysterious exotic lands, and which saw growing interest when soldiers brought home souvenirs from the South Pacific, and commercial air travel to Hawaii became common. Much of the history of the Golden Age of Tiki was written in the Golden State, in tiki lounges from Southern California’s Don the Beachcomber to iconic Bay Area outposts like Trader Vic’s and the Tonga Room. Curated by Baby Doe & Otto von Stroheim of Tiki Oasis, this exhibition illuminates California’s leading role in creating and defining Tiki as an American pop-culture phenomenon, showcasing artifacts from Northern California Tiki bars and restaurants, many of which have never been exhibited before. Works by contemporary Tiki artists will also be featured, celebrating the movement’s enduring influence and exciting future. 

Monthly events featuring top speakers from the worlds of art, design & mixology will accompany the exhibition, including curated tastings showcasing current Tiki bars from the Bay Area. A companion exhibition in our virtual gallery will invite the community to share their favorite Tiki art, décor, and memories. A show catalog and curated collectible products will be available for purchase in the museum store. Some of the artwork on display will be for sale at the conclusion of the exhibit.

VISIT OUR TIKI PARTY EVENT SITE – it’s a total Tiki Takeover all year, with these great parties and events!

Regular Museum Admission:
Members: entry is Free
Non-Member Adults (18 to under 65): $15
Non-Members Seniors (65+): $10
Youth (6–17): $5.00
Children (5 and under): Free
Admission is Free for residents of the California Veterans Home and Active Duty Military
This exhibition is not included with NARMS membership, but members are welcome to visit our Spotlight & History Gallery exhibits. This exhibit IS included as part of the Museums On Us program through BofA/Merrill Lynch.


Featured images:
Trader Vic’s “Suffering Bastard” tiki and the Golden Gate, courtesy of Trader Vic’s; Trader Vic’s sign, photo by Heather David, courtesy of Trader Vic’s; San Francisco’s Tonga Room