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The Fascinating History and Revival of Tiki Mugs

The Fascinating History and Revival of Tiki Mugs - Walldecos


Tiki mugs, also known as Tiki cups or Tiki glasses, are a type of decorative drinkware that became popular in the mid-20th century. Originally used in Polynesian-themed restaurants and bars known as Tiki lounges, Tiki mugs have experienced a resurgence in recent years and have become a beloved collectible for many.

But where did Tiki mugs come from, and why are they so enduringly popular? Let's take a look at the fascinating history and revival of Tiki mugs.

A Brief History of Tiki Culture

Tiki culture, also known as Polynesian pop, emerged in the United States in the 1930s and 40s as a response to the exoticism and escapism of the post-World War II era. Tiki bars and restaurants were designed to transport patrons to a tropical paradise, complete with tropical drinks served in exotic Tiki mugs and other decorative items such as Tiki masks and torches.

The first Tiki bar, called Don the Beachcomber, opened in Hollywood in 1934 and was created by a man named Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, who later changed his name to Donn Beach. Beach was a former bootlegger who had traveled extensively in the Caribbean and Polynesia, and he used his experiences to create a unique and immersive atmosphere in his bar.

Tiki culture quickly spread and became popular in cities across the United States, with Tiki bars and restaurants popping up in New York, Chicago, and other major cities. Tiki mugs, which were often made of ceramic, glass, or other materials, became a staple of the Tiki bar experience, with each bar often having its own unique designs.

The Decline and Revival of Tiki Culture

Tiki culture experienced a decline in the 1970s and 80s, as the tropical escapism it represented fell out of favor. Many Tiki bars and restaurants closed, and Tiki mugs and other decorative items became harder to find.

However, in the 1990s and 2000s, Tiki culture began to experience a revival. Tiki bars and restaurants once again became popular, and Tiki mugs and other decorative items saw a resurgence in popularity. Today, Tiki culture is enjoyed by a new generation of fans, who appreciate the kitschy and nostalgiciac aspects of the style.

Collecting Tiki Mugs

Tiki mugs have become a popular collectible for many fans of Tiki culture. There are numerous Tiki mug collectors' clubs and events, such as the Tiki Oasis in San Diego, California, where collectors can meet and trade mugs.

Tiki mugs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, and can be found in antique stores, thrift shops, and online marketplaces. Some collectors focus on mugs from specific Tiki bars or restaurants, while others collect mugs with a particular theme or design. The value of Tiki mugs can vary widely, with some rare or sought-after mugs fetching high prices.

In recent years, there has also been a trend towards the creation of new Tiki mugs by independent artists and companies. These mugs often pay homage to the vintage Tiki mugs of the past, while also incorporating modern design elements.


Tiki mugs are a unique and enduringly popular part of Tiki culture. From their humble beginnings in the Tiki bars and restaurants get your very own mug here at 

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