Before you dive in, test the tiki waters

May 12, 2007|By Tom Dunkel | Tom Dunkel,Sun Reporter

"There's nothing not fun about it," Scott Wolfson, a Germantown news photographer, says of tiki culture.

But this can be serious fun. Wolfson and his wife, Jen, spent $12,000 transforming their basement into a Polynesian-flavored "immersion environment" - and he now has his eye on the backyard.

If you'd like to try sticking a toe into the tiki waters, here are a few possibilities:

Festivals: Hukilau will be held June 14-17 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Includes a trade show, concerts (including a performance by Baltimore's Keri Burneston and Adam Krandle, better known as Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey) and a "mixology seminar." See thehukilau.com for details. A similar bash known as Exotica takes place in Chicago July 5-8. chicagoexotica.com.

Web sites: Tiki Room and Tiki Central forum (tikiroom.com) serve as the office water cooler for tiki fans. A variety of tiki links can be found at konakai.com. About 70 local tikiphiles frequent mary landdctiki.com.

Shopping: Thrift-store bargains have gotten harder to find, but local shops such as In Watermelon Sugar (3555 Chestnut Ave.; 410-662-9090) and Hampden Junque (1006 W. 36th St.; 410-889.6453) occasionally yield gems. Large retailers such as Target and Pottery Barn carry some tiki merchandise.

Off the Deep End (offthedeep end.com; 800-248-0645) is a Hagerstown-based online store that sells more than 2,500 tiki-related items ranging from bar signs to inflatable palm trees. Tiki Farm (tikifarm.com) stocks similar fare.

Restaurants/bars: Tiki snobs gravitate to Pacific Restaurant (46240 Potomac Run Plaza, Sterling, Va.; 703-404-5500), where the decor is bland, but food and drinks are top-notch tiki.

The quasi-tiki Big Kahuna Cantina (301 Light St.; 410-539-7060) recently opened at the Inner Harbor. Tiki Bar on Solomons Island (85 Charles St., Solomons; 410-326-4075) just underwent a facelift, and there are plans for an online gift shop.

tom.dunkel@baltsun.com

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