Ohana Tiki Bar and Restaurant in Belltown Seattle
There are no polynesian war club replicas hanging in Ohana and they make no claims as an authentic tiki bar, evidenced in-part by the large dragon-kite strewn across its ceiling. However, after spending two-hours over food and drink in this Belltown bar and restaurant we can state that they have indeed earned tiki bar status, even if it's a hybrid.
The other half? Well, there is an unapologetic shout-out to Japanese culture within Ohana, complete with an adjoining sushi-bar beside the main dining room. We didn't venture over as we came solely for the North Pacific island experience. We weren't disappointed.
Ohana as a brick and mortar is built-up by a hearty lumberyard collection of bamboo and thatched palm, the prerequisites to conveying one's position on the tiki bar totem hierarchy. Knick-knacks range from dashboard hula girls and pufferfish to sea-glass lamps and mounted marlin on the wall. All of it is dimly lit by repurposed Christmas lights that line the edges and bar stool awning. Ohana balances the perfect amount of beach bar and kitsch without going overboard on pop-culture. The key ingredient that makes the scene work is less tangible but no less effective - aloha spirit.
Staff consists of attractive hip (not hipster) chicks and aloha-shirt clad bartenders that welcome you in and attend to your needs with a cheery yet laid-back disposition. The menu is packed full of the grindz you expect to find in the Sandwich Islands, including SPAM Musubi, Kalua Pork, and the essential Loco Moco. We ordered the latter (w/bacon on top) and it did not disappoint. Ohana's Loco Moco is a beast in a bowl, drowning a healthy serving of rice, beef patty, egg, and onion in a generous pool of rich brown gravy. The Loco Moco at Ohana is ono!
Ohana's island-style cocktail menu also speaks to your umbrella drink desires. Their DA LIME IN DA COCONUT (Barcardi Coco-nut, Triple Sec, cream, lime and simple syrup shaken and served) and LAVA FLOW (Barcardi Superior Rum, pineapple juice and Coco Lopez, blended smooth with a strawberry swirl) could be served in some of the world's best beachfront bars without anyone suspecting the drinks arrived via a Pacific Northwest passport.
As a travel guide to beach conscious travelers we cannot speak to the other half of their menu - we'll let the local sushi-bloggers handle that. What we can say about Ohana in Seattle's #trending Belltown is that it is a great tiki bar through and through, without needing to get the stamp of authenticity.
Good food, great drinks, and lots of aloha spirit. Put this Emerald City eatery / watering-hole on your itinerary.