Shameful Tiki Room
4362 Main St, Vancouver, Canada

The view: An ideal way to transport yourself somewhere tropical on the often-rainy days in Vancouver, The Shameful Tiki Room has no windows and is dimly lit. Like a late-night in mid-century Rarotonga, thatched palm fronds hang overhead, the walls are plastered with tapa cloths and carvings, and neon lights are reflected in the lacquered table tops.

The vibe: We went early as we heard this place gets super-busy. It was a relaxed atmosphere with a mixed crowd that started to pack out as the evening went on. Somewhat kitsch, the decor speaks to the style of the first-ever tiki bar, "Don the Beachcomber", which displayed collections of tropical artefacts. The Shameful Tiki features kooky items picked up in Fiji and Tonga.

The chat: Our server was knowledgeable and welcoming, recommending drinks to suit our tastes.

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Somewhat kitsch, the decor speaks to the style of the first ever tiki bar,
Somewhat kitsch, the decor speaks to the style of the first ever tiki bar, "Don the Beachcomber", which displayed collections of tropical artifacts. Photo / Instagram

The menu:

You don't go to a tiki bar for the food but this place makes great snacks - including a deliciously rich crab and artichoke dip with super-crunchy homemade tortilla chips. We also ordered forgettable steamed vege dumplings that were enhanced slightly by the ponzu sauce. There's a range of beer and some wine options but, of course, the main focus is on the largely rum-based, tropical cocktails served in flamboyant vessels with fruity garnishes. The menu is aesthetically pleasing with lots of cool pictures and a "strength key" - this is very helpful. They also have drinks served in giant clam shells, designed to share. We watched a group at another table all leaning into one and slurping away with giant straws.

The expectation: Recommended to us by friends who are Vancouver locals, we were totally impressed. I started with a Skull and Bones cocktail, a "mysterious" recipe with cinnamon, grenadine and two types of rum, then stepped up to the most popular drink on the menu, a Pain Killer. It was divine, with a blend of rum and coconut. My partner enjoyed a 1960s-inspired Pago Pago: rum, various citrus fruit, bitters and honey.

The reality: We loved the vibe, the drinks and the great glassware and cups. They weren't missing a trick either with their take-home souvenirs available to buy.

- Stefanie Blithe