Austin’s fourth annual Texas Tiki Week — the one time each year you’ll almost wish, by the end, that the rum were gone — is returning just in time for the summer doldrums, when a boozy pick-me-up is just the ticket for making it through the next few weeks of never-ending heat.
The rum-fueled fun launches on Monday with a kick-off party at Isla, Austin’s year-round tiki temple. For the party, you’ll be encouraged to come in your best island attire and be ready to enjoy discounted tiki cocktails and bar snacks. Get tickets for the kick-off either online or at the door.
But that’s not all. The Austin chapter of the U.S. Bartender’s Guild, which has been throwing this week-long rum bash since 2012 to celebrate what’s become known as tiki culture (you know, the only remaining appropriate situation for wearing a Hawaiian shirt), has gotten many other Austin bars involved. Here are the events that you can participate in this year.
- Monday: Tipsy Texan David Alan and Dallas bartender Mate Hartai are taking over the Jackalope’s patio bar for a happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. with Pyrat Rum.
- Tuesday: Croon into the microphone for a late night of tiki-oke at the King Bee Lounge. Starting at 10 p.m., the King Bee will offer a special cocktail menu featuring Mt. Gay Rum and other spirits, which will, of course, get you all loosened up for that surf rock song you’ve secretly been dying to cover.
- Mai Tai Tuesday is an earlier option for tiki lovers who don’t want to be up too late on a work night. Try the classic tropical drink at bars like the Tigress, Half Step, Weather Up and the King Bee Lounge (which is preparing ’em frozen, and if they’re anything like the bar’s frozen Bee’s Knees, these mai tais will be very good). The Corner Bar at the JW Marriott will also have a Texas Mai Tai made with Treaty Oak rum.
- Wednesday and Thursday: Bartenders from the famed Chicago-based tiki spot Lost Lake are stopping by the courtyard at Hotel San Jose for a happy hour pop-up, from 3 to 6 p.m. both days, that will feature cocktails from Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, Rhum Clement and Plantation Rum.
- Thursday: Play “Beach Party Bingo” with Frankie Avalon and the gang at the Alamo Drafthouse’s tiki edition of the theater’s Cocktails and Cinema series. While you watch, you can sip on boozy tiki treats from Drink.Well’s Jessica Sanders. You might even receive a free armadillo tiki mug to take home with you.
- Friday: The Jigglewatts Burlesque Revue will take you on a tropical holiday to the glamor of the silver screen’s golden era at this live entertainment show at the Roosevelt Room. Starting at 9 p.m., this Hollywood Havana party will have a special cocktail menu featuring Caña Brava Rum.
- Saturday: Cool down and close out your tiki week adventures with the Tiki Takeover Pool Party at Rio on West Sixth Street. Tiki tunes will have you swaying poolside as you sip on tropical cocktails from Grand Marnier and Kappa Pisco.
In addition to those official Texas Tiki Week events, there will also be special tiki nights at various local bars through Aug. 9, when the days of boozy rum punches, bright tropical shirts and elaborate island decor sadly come to a close.
Among the fun side events is Whisler’s 3rd Annual Tiki Takeover on Tuesday with collectible tiki mugs galore. Weather Up will also be throwing a pig roast with daiquiris starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, and the Volstead will have an island-style cook-out with yet more daiquiris for you to drink up. For weekend tiki fun, visit Searsucker downtown starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, when $8 tiki cocktails such as the Peg Leg and La Sirena will transport you to a tropical paradise.
No Va on Rainey Street, Bar Congress and Drink.Well, which have been spotlighting tiki drinks throughout the summer on their cocktail menus, will also be good spots to visit (especially on Tuesday).
Even a local liquor store is getting in on the fun. Throughout the week, Twin Liquors is celebrating Tiki Week, but the big event is Thursday, when Tiki Fest will bring in Treaty Oak Distilling, Liber & Co. and Austin Cocktails for free tastings.
For more information about Texas Tiki Week, visit texastikiweek.com.