Tuesday, November 27, 2007

California Road Trip: Forbidden Island

I’m back from an incredible adventure along the California coast. Arriving on Halloween, I started in LA, dipped down to San Diego for Tiki Magazine’s “Tiki Island at the Bali Hai” art show and then cruised up to the Bay Area for the Tiki Central Tiki Crawl with all sorts of memorable pit stops along the way. Most of the time, travel buddies Tiki Racer (who'd flown over from England with me) and Chongolio (who’d flown in from Kauai) were by my side. In retrospect, the whole trip seems very Wizard of Oz, with fascinating characters, new and old friends making appearances and plenty of lessons learned. However, when it came time to fly back, I was clicking my heels wishing I could stay just a little bit longer.

The Tiki Crawl was an absolute blast with plenty of good times. Some of the best moments were by no coincidence at Forbidden Island, a fine little Polynesian-themed bar in the East Bay town of Alameda. What a place! Phenomenal drinks (I highly recommend the house cocktail, the Nui Nui and the Monkeypod) in a honest to goodness Tiki setting (kitted out by folks who know). To have opened only in 2006, the place oozes with atmosphere and ranks up there with some of the all-time great Tiki bars of yore.

This may sound incredibly stupid and cheesy but Forbidden Island kinda reminded me of a Tiki version of "Cheers" - everybody seemed to know each other. The bar certainly had the vibe of being a preferred drinking establishment. Of course, there was plenty of aloha spirit for first-timers like me. Regulars aren't necessarily all that local either. If only I were a little more local though. I would love to spend more time drinking at Forbidden Island!

Click here to view my Flickr set of photos of my visit to Tiki Farm and be sure to check out all my California Road Trip posts!

Photography by Chris Osburn © 2007

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