Tiki Time in Fitzroy

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There’s a stuffed shark above the bar, skulls on sticks to your right, plastic palm trees to your left. Hawaiian tunes twang in the background as the bartender slams a cocktail the size of football down in front of you. Welcome to LuWow.

Launched officially last night amid many a cocktail and swizzle stick, LuWow brings is a new level of Tiki Bar to Melbourne. Started after WW2 when returning GI’s brought their love of beach bars and strong-as-holy-hell cocktails back with them, Tiki’s are all about theatre, escapism and drinks (plus the odd wax-covered skull).

Opened by Tiki-loving couple Barbara and James Collins (pictured below), who have run Tiki Bars from London to Las Vegas to Perth, LuWoW is the glitzy, gaudy realisation of their technicoloured dream.

‘We kept waiting and waiting for someone to do it, so we finally decided to do it ourselves’ says Josh, who had a hand in designing everything from the sunset wallpaper to Tiki masks and Hindu god statues. ‘I want people to be able to walk in here after a day at work and be transported to the ‘Eternal Utopia’ of the South Pacific’.

Mission accomplished Mr. Collins. Stepping into LuWow from a grey Melbourne evening was like stepping into a Tardis and landing in another strange, fantastic, larger-than-life world.

In the front room past the carved Tiki idol doors there’s a Tiki Village with booths, bamboo and pretty much every inch covered with some or of knick-knack and doovalacky. Step through the unassuming doors towards the back and discover ‘The Forbidden Temple’, a huge space where bands will play on weekends. It’s the type of place you’d expect to see the Brady kids hanging out in that episode where they go to Hawaii and visit the Tiki Caves.

Then there’s the drinks:

LuWow has a huge range of fruity-inspired cocktails with funtastic names like the Bikini Bottom and the Kato Monkey, plus classics like the Mai Tai and Dark and Stormy.

Sure, you won’t get much change from a $20 on most, but they’re strong enough that you won’t need more than a couple to get that buzz humming and go along with that Tiki flow.

62 – 70 Johnston St, Fitzroy
Wed /Thurs 5pm – 12am
Fri/Sat 5pm – 2am
Sun 4pm – 10pm
Photos by Ed Whitfield. See more of his work at www.edinfocus.com

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