Where to Find Tiki Mugs in Honolulu and on Oahu
Tiki mugs are likely the most sought after non-edible “souvenir" on Oahu. Because of the demand you’d think that the island would be littered with these Polynesian treasures. But in all reality, they can be a little hard to come by.
Sure, you can find a diluted version of them from one of the 37 ABC stores scattered about the Waikiki area. However, these assembly line drinking vessels are about as as authentic as the ukuleles found on the same shelf.
If you are looking to either add your well curated collection, start one, or simply bring an authentic item back from the island visit one or more of the following shops and studios below.
1. South Sea Arts in Makakilo
When it comes to tiki mugs, Oahu is not quite as retail friendly as Maui, home to two of the four best tiki mug master-craftsmen on the planet, Rob Dawes of Maui Tiki Tours (aka Tradewind Graphics) and Scott Taylor of BeachBumz, both in Kihei. Thankfully, the third is on Oahu. His name for all intents and purposes? Gecko, of South Sea Arts. Located in Makakilo, you're looking at a 45 minute drive (1 1/2 hr on The Bus) to this leeward destination from Waikiki. Convenient? No. Worth it? Damn right. Ceramic mugs and other decorative masterpieces line the shelves and walls of South Sea Arts. If you time it right you may have the first glance at something special fresh out of the kiln. Forget the Honolulu Arts District, this is where authentic island crafts exist. View more, including how to make an appointment to visit the gallery, on South Sea Arts here.
2. VanTiki in Kailua
Like South Sea Arts, VanTiki represents one of the most renowned tiki artisans in the world (one of the top four). VanTiki's collection is a bit more eclectic and hard to come by offline, with Henrik Van Ryzin hocking his Polynesian Pop wares on his site and on eBay. That being said, no "tiki mugs on Oahu" list could exist without his name on it. You may not be blessed with the opportunity to visit his windward side studio while on Oahu but it's worth a try. Contact VanTiki directly here, and ask.
3. La Mariana Sailing Club Gift Shop in Honolulu
If you're not looking for one of South Sea Arts' one-of-da-kine mugs yet still want a piece of Gecko to add to your collection, then stop by the La Mariana Sailing Club gift shop. This historical landmark / tiki bar located at the Keehi Lagoon marina off of Sand Island Access Road is more convenient (18 minute drive or 45 minutes on The Bus) and offers up some great Hawaiian pub food, cocktails, and of course, tiki mugs. Have some pupus and Mai Tai's and then ask the manager to open up the gift shop before you leave (it's always locked). Inside, is a collection of Gecko's made-for-market mugs among other island souvenirs. View location information and more about La Mariana Sailing Club here.
4. Polynesian Treasures in Haleiwa
If you're tiki mug hunting on the North Shore then Polynesian Treasures in the North Shore Marketplace is it. This small shop is jam packed with authentic Polynesian arts and crafts, including South Sea Arts mugs (beginning to notice a theme?). View location information and more on Polynesian Treasures here.
5. Tiki's Bar & Grill in Waikiki
While purists may frown upon any tiki mug bearing the "Made in China" stamp on its underside the ones found within the Tiki's Bar & Grill gift shop have a bit more island cred, designed exclusively for this local eatery and watering hole. The mugs here are fun, colorful, and animated and admittedly add flavor to any collection. At just $12 with a cocktail of your choice you can't help but look upon the mug when back at your home and have nothing but fond memories. Isn't that what this whole tiki mug collecting thing is all about anyways? Plus, Tiki's is located in Waikiki, so you don't have to fight rush hour traffic to grab a mug. View the complete Tiki's Bar & Grill review here.
Have you come across an Oahu tiki mug haven not found on this list? Name the location via a Facebook comment below and we'll investigate. Mahalo!
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