Who wants tacos and tiki drinks? I think that’s all we really need to say here.
Going strong for over 80 years, where did the first tiki drinks come from? According to behindthebar.com, Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt opened Don the Beachcomber in 1934, inspired by his travels in the South Pacific. It was a tropical-themed bar and restaurant in Hollywood, California, replete with flaming torches and rattan furniture. Don the Beachcomber had a look and feel designed to transport patrons to an ambiguous, exotic locale. He called his concoctions “rhum rhapsodies,” and many of his original recipes, like the Scorpion and the Zombie, are still being slung by bartenders today.
This year we’re hosting the 2nd annual Kon Tiki Taco at Haus 820. Find a babysitter, schedule off work and get that tropical shirt cleaned because there’s a trip to paradise waiting for you. Spend the evening with a tiki cocktail in one hand and a taco in the other while dancing to the sounds of everyone’s favorite, DJ Jenks. Swan Brewing will be serving up a couple of craft brews, and fun will be had by all.
Let’s talk with Kon Tiki Taco creator, Chris Sexson about what’s new this year.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is it? “Kon Tiki Taco is a great cocktail party. We want to throw fun events without all the formality of networking or agendas. The goal is to raise a glass amongst friends, have a bite of food and just have a good time. There will be multiple cocktails to choose from crafted by our friends at Cob & Pen and Revival Bar. If cocktails aren’t your thing, we will also have a selection of great beer from Swan Brewing.”
What was your inspiration? “Good question. Growing up in Dayton, Ohio our local movie theater was called the Kon Tiki. This monolith of a place in North Dayton stood out like a sore thumb. It was highly impressionable to me as a kid. Designed like a Polynesian structure, the inside was lit with deep red lights, red carpet, tiki statues, it was awesome. I saw Star Wars there on its release weekend. As I have grown older, I have a deep appreciation for craft cocktails and tasty tacos. Maybe a drink or two a few years ago helped spark the name and Kon Tiki Taco was born. Keep it simple, craft Tiki drinks and Tacos. I thought, I’d go to that. Mix in a great DJ, make the room fun, keep the price right, bring together a great group of creators in the community. And here we are.”
What should the guests expect? “Too much to drink and too much to eat. Great sounds from DJ Jenks to keep you in the groove. Low lighting, good cocktails, tasty bites, great sounds, a little nostalgia, hopefully a memorable time.”
How much does it cost, what do you get for that price? “We never want to over serve, but we try to approach these events as open bar and food. Come have a good time. For $35 you get great craft drinks, tacos that are amazing, entertainment all in a chill setting. Honestly I don’t think there’s a better value for an event in Central Florida. Add in the fact that we have such great partners collaborating, this is kinda chill for thirty five bucks.”
Anything new this year? Anything different? “Last year we had just over 400 attendees. So the old saying,‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ may apply? With that said, we love to keep growing. We have added Revival Bar this year to help curate drinks with Cob & Pen. We will have a number of new taco vendors this year. We had one vendor last year but variety is the spice of life, mixing up the food options will be great. MyBox will be setting up a great outdoor lounge area, and I’m super excited to show some old episodes of Jacques Cousteau on the main projector. Jacques Cousteau inspired me to dream and explore as a child, his shows where great inspiration for me. Hours are a little different this year, it’s 6:30 – 10 p.m. Ticket price will increase at the door. We will cap the event at 500 attendees. If you’re reading this, and would like to come joins us, get your tickets now, and be sure to say hello. I look forward to raising a glass with you. Cheers!”
Please drink responsibly and definitely don’t drink and drive. This is a Tiki drinking event, be smart and plan ahead.
Kon Tiki Taco
October 4, 6:30 - 10 p.m.
820 N Mass Ave., Lakeland
Purchase tickets at CentralFloridaTix.com