I don’t know if it’s just me, but right now, the only thing keeping this “strikecation” from feeling like early summer is its total lack of good weather! I know we’re all pulling our hair out by the handful as we wait impatiently for actual summer to start; the only things keeping us from kicking our feet up and enjoying a cold one in the sun are the icy wind, the annoying mini-blizzards, the torrential downpour of rain just when it was warming up, and, oh yeah, the imminent, imposing deadlines of assignments we’ve been putting off until now.
In the spirit of procrastination and far away summer thoughts, I visited The Shameful Tiki Room! As a self-proclaimed weirdo who has been to a number of tiki bars in her day, I present this tiki bar to you along with my highest of recommendations — don’t let its name fool you! An important fact about tiki bars: They are not all created equal!
The key to a good tiki bar is commitment.
The Shameful Tiki Room immerses you in a nighttime paradise fantasy. Outside, on the cold, wintry Parkdale street, I had little faith in this bar, with its blacked out windows and modest signage on the door; its exterior definitely did not exude hidden oasis! As soon as I walked through the door, my jaw dropped. I was greeted with grass hut lining around a quaint quasi-swim up bar, warm wooden walls featuring polynesian motifs and Elvis’ Blue Hawaii-era posters. People sat on basket woven throne-like chairs or barrels around nautical tables, while birds and lanterns swung from the ceiling. No Dollarama decorations here!
The food menu, of course, is also tiki-themed, featuring items such as pineapple burgers, luau pulled pork sandwiches, coconut shrimp and fish tacos, as well as an array of appetizers called a “Pu Pu Platter” — I felt like ordering one just to say the name out loud! The menu, I felt, was reasonably priced (read: fairly cheap); however, the portions were small, just enough to fill you up after your drinks hit you!
Speaking of drinks, their drink menu is huge. It featured tropical classics such as the Piña Colada, the Blue Hawaii, and the good ol’ Caesar, as well as a whole whack of other concoctions I’ve never even heard of, like the Pago Pago, the Tiki Puka Puka and the Nui Nui. It’s definitely a spot to revisit if you’re into trying new drinks; you’ll probably never run out of options! The greatest feature of the drink menu is not actually the drinks themselves, but the cute tiki rating scale they have to accompany every menu option. If numbers confuse you, and you don’t really know the difference between 1oz or 3oz of alcohol, this rating scale would really help you out. Beside each drink on the menu, they have between 1 and 4 tiki symbols. A drink with one tiki symbol will have the least amount of alcohol, whereas a drink with four will have the most. A really good feature, regardless whether your aim is to get tipsy or to just have a chill night out.
Finally, the Shameful Tiki’s best feature is, without a doubt, its bowls! My suggestion is to go in a group. The menu features four bowls, all of which come with a little extra. If you have a flair for the dramatic, this is the bar for you! Once a bowl is prepared, something special happens as they bring it to your table. For example, when you order my personal favourite bowl (and the most expensive one), the Volcano Bowl, it comes out on fire and literally a volcano goes off at the bar and the whole room shakes! If a Rainforest Café experience is missing from your adult life, The Shameful Tiki Room makes up for it (without the creepy animatronics). If the winter strike blues have got you down, definitely head over. You’ll feel better, I promise!