Upon my most recent visit to Trader Vic's
, I was met with a warm welcome by the attractive and well presented staff (a collection of women in colourful long silk gowns). The staff were informative and delivery of the food and drinks was rapid in pace. I also learned something about tiki bar culture and how the Trader Vic's franchise was instrumental in spreading it globally. The history of the tiki bar is an intriguing part of American popular culture which stretched out from California. Once numbering in the thousands worldwide, and building in popularity from the 1930s, tiki bars had their heyday after WWII through the late 1960s. Tiki bar culture was also linked to the "Hawaiiana" culture that was trendy after it became the 50th American state in 1959, which was most propagated through the (eternally recycled) Hawaiian shirt fetish (which, side-note, was big in Japan when I went over Christmas). Bands like the Beach Boys and the 1950s era where the "martini lunch" preceded after work cocktails furthered this fun and vibrantly colourful trend.