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March 1 / Community

Miami Finally Joins the Tiki Revival.

MIAMI BEACH, Florida. (Tanabi) – Saturday February 20, 2016.

One of Miami’s most decorated and beloved celebrity chefs, Ralph Pagano, has opened what is to become Miami’s first full-blown Tiki concept, Naked Tiki.

As many will recall, Chef Pagano, is the brainchild of several Naked concepts in Miami: Naked Taco (at The Dream Hotel), Naked Lunch (located inside the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park) and now, Naked Tiki (located inside the Stiles Hotel at 1120 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Naked Tiki is significant as it marks Miami-Dade’s first foray into a full-tilt Tiki concept, something which a lot of restaurants and hotels in the area have been flirting with in recent years but have not been fully committed to.

(L to R) Celebrity chef Ralph Pagano, journalist Jim "Hurricane" Hayward, and Tanabi's MMV

Tanabi teamed up with Tiki expert, The Atomic Grog blogger, and Palm Beach Post journalist Jim “Hurricane” Hayward for a sneak peek before the crowds arrived.

Located inside the Stiles Hotel, Naked Tiki boasts a multilevel paradise consisting of roughly 2,500-square-feet of space divided into three separate areas. Up front, there’s the nautical-themed main bar – The Coconut Bar, while downstairs introduces time travelers to a sleek lounge area with an adjoining restaurant called The Bamboo Lounge, complete with a smaller tropical islander bar called The Shark Bar. Finally, a lush outside seating area includes three small swimming pools and decorative moai-laden gardens for guests to enjoy a twinkling starry evening sky.

On Saturday night about 250 people descended upon the Stiles Hotel sipping on Mai Tai’s and Scorpion Bowls that transported them to faraway tropical isles. Guests included Emmy award-winning actor and producer Vincent De Paul, Honduran filmmaker Guillermo Ayestas, and Syndicated News’ Dena Stewart and Stewart Stewart.

Naked Tiki's Bennett Goldman and actor Vincent De Paul (center) with the Polynesian revue dancers

Naked Tiki’s concept is simple: to pay tribute to Tiki culture and to become a haven for classic cocktail lovers dedicated to embracing recipes of bar masters from the days of yore; our favorite drink of the night was the famed Aku Aku (an original recipe developed back in the 1960s in Las Vegas) and Tiki’s signature drink, the Mai Tai.

As we walked around the outside pool area, we observed numerous Tiki torches, string lights, teakwood furnishings, and giant custom moai. Dancing hula girls greeted guests with leis and live Polynesian fire dancers put on an authentic revue show towards the end of the night. As we walked, Chef Pagano explained, “I have been a fan of Tiki for a long time and I am thrilled to put one on the map in Miami Beach.”

Poolside revue show with Polynesian fire dancers

Naked Tiki’s rum-soaked cocktail list spotlights updated classics from yesteryear (for example, muddled mint in our Aku Aku), and included themed drinks (the famed #88 which utilizes tequila), large-format punch bowls, and frozen daiquiris. We tried the delicious Barrel of Monkeys, Mai Tai, and the Aku Aku, which according to Chef Pagano, uses fresh squeezed juices, in-house infusions, homemade shrubs, and fresh seasonal ingredients from local farmer’s markets.

Naked Tiki's exotic five-selection Pu Pu Platter

With a choice from a tantalizing array of exotic dishes, we chose Naked Tiki’s famed Pu Pu Platter (a delicious mixture of spicy tuna poke, real lump Crab Rangoon, steak Negimaki, sticky wings, and BBQ spare ribs) and handmade pork and ginger Dim Sum, among tempting appetizers, and over 15 Cantonese-inspired preparations.

Tiki bars have a special place in American booze lore and Naked Tiki is a testament to all who have come before in bringing you hand crafted cocktails and island inspired dishes in a traditional Tiki setting.

The comeback of Tiki (which had it’s original heyday in the middle of the 20th century) is not only a natural progression of the craft-cocktail movement, but also the country’s first viable cocktail culture form; Tiki drinks are so complex in nature and require so many hard-to-find ingredients that Tiki drinks are viewed as the ultimate craft cocktail expression.

“A lot of that growth is being driven by the craft cocktail scene finally embracing Tiki, plus the slow revival of the economy. This is giving smaller, risk-taking entrepreneurs the motivation to open Tiki bars,” Jim ‘Hurricane’ Hayward, said during our VIP tour. “Of course, there’s a worry among the hardcore Tiki purists that growth may be coming too fast and that the new establishments aren’t grounded in the traditions of the past.”

If you’re brand-new to the Tiki scene or extremely skeptical about its legitimacy, rest assured that Naked Tiki is the real deal. Despite misleadingly ending up as a kitschy architectural footnote, the Tiki aesthetic has a surprisingly cosmopolitan and intellectual provenance, which people are slowly beginning to realize. It’s pretty fascinating to see Tiki making a comeback, thanks to passionate enthusiasts like Chef Pagano, whose numbers are growing steadily.

Tanabi and “Hurricane” Hayward also caught up with Chef Pagano at this year’s 2nd annual The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown event hosted by Rhum Barboncourt at The Surfcomber Hotel in Miami Beach; the Art of Tiki is a competition featuring bartenders from some of the most noteworthy Tiki bars across the United States, including the world famous Mai-Kai in Ft. Lauderdale, and Branden Powers’ newly-opened, 24hr Tiki bar in Las Vegas, The Golden Tiki.

While neo-Tiki’s crowning achievements may be San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove and Chicago’s famed Three Dots & A Dash, the Tiki scene is now in full flower in locales as far-flung as Miami, Poland, London, Moscow, and Slovakia.

Naked Tiki's own 'mystery girls' Maria Ippolito and Mariarita Battilana waiting to greet you...

So, stop on by to Naked Tiki at The Stiles Hotel and spend an evening in paradise where you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of exotic tropical cocktails in which rare rums, spices and fruit juices go into making the most exquisitely refreshing drinks you have ever enjoyed, while cares of the outside world seem far away from this wonderland of music, Cantonese cuisine and whispering waters.

Mahalo to the Tiki Revival!

Naked Tiki, 1120 Collins Avenue (inside The Stiles Hotel), Miami Beach, FL 33139 (305) 307-5890. #GetLeid #GetNaked #NakedTikiMiami

January 3 / Business, Community

Happy New Year / Blwyddyn Newydd Dda


We would like to wish all our partners and friends a great new year that will be filled with happiness and success, thank you for your continued support across the group. We are excited to be launching #Tanabi2020, our 5 year plan which will hopefully make a big difference in Wales, details will be announced in the coming months.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i’n partneriaid a ffrindiau, rydym yn edrych ymlaen yn fawr at lansio ein cynllun #Tanabi2020 dros y 5 mlynedd nesaf efo’r gobaith o wneud gwahaniaeth mawr yng Nghymru, bydd manylion pellach yn dros y misoedd nesaf.

October 3 / Community

Ohana: Luau by the Sea debuts at Ft. Lauderdale’s world-famous Mai-Kai



FT. LAUDERDALE, FL 02 October – Ohana: Luau by the Sea dubbed the, “biggest little event in tiki,” debuted this week at the World-Famous Mai-Kai Restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale; Ohana is a three-day charity event held in several locations in and around Fort Lauderdale from October 1st through 3rd, 2015.

In Hawaiian culture, ‘Ohana’ means ‘family’ in an extended sense of the term, including blood-related, adoptive or intentional. Ohana: Luau by the Sea is organized by the Fraternal Order of Moai (FOM), an organization that serves as the premier fraternal organization and social network for all men and women interested in tiki culture and the Polynesian pop era.

Famous for the annual “Ohana: Luau on the Lake” summer event at The Tiki Resort on Lake George in upstate New York, these tiki time travelers have finally set their sights on creating a spin-off event in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on the first weekend of October. Locations include Kreepy Tiki rum bar, World-Famous Mai-Kai Polynesian Restaurant, and the Grand Ohana Luau located at the Sheraton Ft. Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port Hotel.

Friday evening was host to a special dinner and Polynesian Islanders Review show (the world’s longest running show of its kind) at the World-Famous Mai-Kai Restaurant with a special happy hour for Ohana from 7 – 9 pm in both the Molokai Lounge and on the Lanai.

(L to R) NYC super couple Nicole and Joe Desmond (proprietors of the secret Rhum Rhum Room) and Mai-Kai owner Dave Levy – pictured with the potent (and inexplicably smooth) Pina Passion (Source: © Tanabi Group)

The Mai-Kai, having last year been added to the National Register of Historic Places, has this year been officially crowned ‘the best tiki bar in the world’ by a recent poll.  The midcentury modern Mai-Kai, built in 1956, is not only a tiki mecca for fans of Polynesian pop, but is the longest-running tiki theme restaurant in America. Tanabi was happy to celebrate this much-anticipated event with Mai-Kai owner Dave Levy and friends.

While the accolades keep piling up, 2016 will see the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the annual Hukilau (another larger-scale and seminal tiki event for fans of the genre) in addition to the Mai-Kai celebrating it’s much-anticipated landmark 60th (yes, 60) Birthday.

Tiki is more a state of mind – an “escapist’s fantasia, if you like, an exotic place where the trapdoor to life is seemingly pulled out from beneath you,” explained one fez-adorned reveler. With widespread events like Ohana, The Hukilau, Tiki Oasis, Texas Tiki Week, and many other regional rum-soaked gatherings (for example, Miami’s annual Rum Renaissance Festival), so too have restaurants and bars been popping up all over the place (a notable example being The Golden Tiki in Las Vegas) in similar fashion.

However, while the tiki ‘revival’ has been in full swing for the last 5 years, at the center of it all is American craft cocktail culture itself, a renewed interest in rum as a spirit, and the banal trappings of everyday life which has sent people desperately searching for a more ‘immediate’ and romantic escapist fix.

July 16 / Community




From Dubai to the ancient Egyptian elite, via Neath, actress Samira Mohamed Ali will wow audiences of new Spike TV drama documentary, Egyptian Vice, which will see experts recount the scandalous tales of the ancient Egyptian elite. The two-part special is set to premiere in the UK tonight (July 15) at 9pm on the digital channel.

South Wales-based Samira Mohamed Ali was born and raised in Dubai but moved to Neath when she was in her early teenage years. The model and presenter will star in the ancient Egyptian drama documentary after only discovering her acting talents and breaking into the industry a few years ago.

Her latest acting role will see Samira play the iconic Ptolemy, the king’s sister in the Egyptian Vice, which will be an educational preview for the highly anticipated mini-series ‘TUT’ that stars Sir Ben Kingsley and also premieres on Spike TV later this month in the USA and Canada.

“I was extremely honoured to be headhunted for a role in such a huge production,” said Samira.

“Receiving the script was so exciting and it’s been one of my most challenging yet fulfilling roles to date. I don’t want to give too much away but if you expect an ancient Egyptian version of Game of Thrones then you won’t be disappointed! ”

The first-part of Egyptian Vice will take an in-depth look at the sins of Egypt, where the drama documentary will touch upon the extravagant and vice filled lifestyles of the wealthiest rulers in ancient Egyptian history. The second installment of the two-part event delves into the rulers of Egypt and the darker side to those who shaped Egyptian civilisation into the icon it is today.

Since her first acting role in the horror film Spirital Phantoma (2012), Samira has also starred as an alcoholic mother in the award-winning horror Molly Crows (2013), and as Dr. Elizabeth Santer of this Autumn’s release of Tanabi Films’ screen adaption of best-selling novel By Any Name (2015). As well as her established acting career, Samira is also a successful businesswoman and is VP of Tanabi Group, which is based in Swansea, as well as Miami, USA.

The former model and presenter utilises her role as a producer at Tanabi to encourage big productions from overseas to come to the UK to support the UK film industry and economy.

Following her work the UK film industry, Samira has recently been invited to the House of Lords for a private meeting to discuss exciting plans for the near future.

June 17 / Community



In case you’ve not heard, the ‘Hukilau’​ is South Florida’s largest annual event for tiki-lovers and fans of midcentury Americana alike. For four days this past weekend, Fort Lauderdale was the top destination for an exodus of fun-loving, tropically-clothed tiki lovers. The Hukilau, billed as “The World’s Most Authentic Tiki Event,” not only brought people from all over the United States, but from far corners of the globe, as the event draws close to 1,200 visitors annually and in 2015 celebrated its 14th anniversary.

Originally, last year’s event was scheduled to be the last, however, the event had grown so popular that founder and owner Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White was contacted by Idle Hands Event Management, LLC’s Michael Zielinski and Richard Oneslager (themselves Hukilau attendees for years) who proposed a partnership deal in order to keep the celebration alive. A much needed shot in the arm, the Hukilau this year was effectively ‘revived’ and promptly proceeded with opening and closing festivities at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel and the recently-appointed National Register of Historic Places, Mai-Kai restaurant located in Oakland Park (the “tiki mecca” for many fans.) Since 1956, the Mai-Kai has captivated people with its warmth and magical aura and remains one of the few grand Polynesian palaces of tiki still in operation today.




This year’s Hukilau was unlike any other in terms of sheer Tiki-ness. It was over the top – a tiki lover’s dream come true. Over the course of the four-day event, the Hukilau featured several symposiums meant to educate, inform, and celebrate the tiki and Polynesian-pop lifestyle. Symposium presenters included Arthur Dong, who discussed the history of Chinese American nightclubs; Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily, who explored Disney’s original Polynesian Village Resort, and Jeff Chenault, who’s fantastic discussion centered on Ohio’s oft-remembered Kahiki Supper Club restaurant. Additionally, there was a milieu of tiki-related activities for attendees, including symposiums on drink culture, rum tastings, cocktail parties, tropical performance shows, and a grand tiki marketplace dedicated to selling midcentury Americana trinkets, Hawaiian shirts and dresses, beach-inspired jewelry, and original artwork. To top it all off, the Hukilau Finale coincided last Sunday night with Mai-Kai owner Dave Levy’s milestone 60th Birthday. Tanabi was honored to experience first hand the tiki craze revival and personally joined Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White and her cast of Polynesian-pop enthusiasts to celebrate it all.

With top tiki bars opening up in the United States (Smuggler’s Cove, Three Dots and a Dash, Lost Lake, Latitude 29, to name but a few) and all over the globe (London, Italy, Germany, Paris etc.), tiki’s last seven years have been a renaissance unlike many others, going from an incidental category to one of the largest collective growth trends in the tropical mixology bar scene.

The first tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber, opened in Los Angeles in 1934; it started a sensation as celebrities and debutantes alike were regularly spotted sipping mai-tais, eating pu pu platters, and enjoying an exotic environment unlike anything they had seen before. By the 1950’s Polynesian pop culture was in full swing. Fueled by the music of artists such as Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Robert Drasnin and Cal Tjader, the phenomenon was spreading to countries all over the world. This trend would continue well into the early 1970’s. The late 1970’s and early 80’s saw the decline of Polynesian pop and tiki culture and as popularity waned, many tiki restaurants and bars closed or went out of business.

Thankfully though, the glamour of retro travel and midcentury Americana is alive and well. Sure, there are plenty of factors that may have influenced the return from obscurity (not least because of the renewed global interest in rum as a spirit), but in this case we should give proper credit to pop culture, a gentleman by the name of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, and a slew of other tiki practitioners – most notably, Martin Cate, Brian Miller, and the inimitable Paul McGee.


The 14th-annual Hukilau took place from June 10 through 14 at various locations including the Mai-Kai Restaurant (3599 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954-563-3272; and the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel (2301 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-6666;

For more information and to sign up for next year’s epic Tiki extravaganza, please visit