The Shameful Tiki Room

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4362 Main St. Menu

I had heard about this place from a coworker. “It was awful. There were no lights, and the drinks were disgusting.” Now, I take pretty much everything this coworker says with a good helping of salt; which is why, when my roommate suggested we go there one bored Friday night, I figured I’d give it a go. Arriving outside the bar, I was struck by the large blacked out windows. It seemed very strange for a cocktail joint, however, all was revealed once entering the bar. The small room was a re-creation of a standup beach bar in Hawaii, or other Polynesian island. The walls were lined with greenery, palms, and bamboo. The humidity had been cranked up, in order to simulate the stifling heat, and there were glowing tiki masks protruding from various spots in the foliage. Every table in the small room was occupied, so my roommate and I took up positions at the bar, where they were showing a black and white movie on a small vintage tv nestled in with the bottles. As we sat down we were startled by a gong ringing out and a chorus of “Myyyystery booooowl!” from the servers. We turned to watch a large shell, full of flaming alcohol be served to one of the nearby tables.

After vowing never to order one of those, we perused the extensive cocktail list. I immediately ordered my favourite tiki drink, the blue Hawaiian, and my colleague decided on a Zombie. I’ve recently found that sitting at the bar is, by far, the best way to experience an establishment. Your drinks arrive promptly, you are able to engage with the tender who makes your drinks, and is much more refreshing to talk to than someone who is paid to be nice to you. This was certainly the case at the Shameful Tiki Room as well. The bartender was very friendly, made superb drinks, and had an extensive knowledge of the menu. The chap was also fantastically patient with the vapid group sitting next to us at the bar, who ordered eight piña coladas (not on the menu) and didn’t say a word of thanks.

I have has some bad experiences before at tiki bars, specifically in regards to over priced, watered down drinks; Shameful does not suffer from the same dilemma. After three drinks (blue Hawaiian, some kind of gin and ginger concoction, and a Bermudian swizzle) I was holding myself up on the stool. Roomie and I decided to put something in our stomach before leaving and quickly decided on some tortilla chips and salsa. We were both pretty wavy at this point, so I don’t feel I could give an accurate assessment for the appie, but it’s also really hard to mess up chips and salsa.

The crowd was fairly young, mid twenties I’d guess, and in large groups. Clearly this place is a one off for many people, they come for the strange atmosphere, bring back a couple of friends, and then never go again. I personally think Shameful is great bang for your buck and a welcome relief to the cactus club clones popping up around Vancouver. I’ll defiantly be back, Aloha!<

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Raglan’s

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15 Lonsdale ave
C- $$$

Raglan’s is a bit of a North Shore legend. So much so that since I had moved to North Vancouver I had heard about it so many times I had to see what the fuss was about.

The exterior instantly let the patron know that this was a themed pub. The patio was surrounded by a bamboo gate and covered with thatched roofing, giving the impression of a beach-side bungalow. The bamboo theme carried on inside where fake palm trees, tiki masks, and surfboards welcome you. A large projection screen plays surf videos on the back wall and beach murals cover the walls. The menus are made out of a woven substance and the text is painted on.

There are really only young adults in this bar and the menu reflects it. Jäger is served on tap there and there are drink specials every day, displayed on a bamboo framed chalkboard on the wall. The food is your usual pub fare (burgers, sandwiches, pizza) with an “island” theme. What doesn’t reflect the youthful atmosphere are the prices. With $8 drinks and $12-18 appetisers, this bar would only be affordable to teens with too much money or carrer-ers (30-40).

Unfortunately, the prices do not reflect the quality of the food. The food is generally quite greasy and flavourless, over-fried and over-sauced. There are very few vegetarian options and all of the plates are overloaded with meat and starch, leaving you feeling bloated and disgusting. This place would be great as a hangover dive, if not for the prices.

What Raglans is most famous for are their fruit drinks. They come in three sizes: squall (single), hurricane (double), and monsoon (bowl). Once the kitchy appeal of a bowl of fruity alcohol had worn off, it was quite apparent that the drinks were made up of mostly concentrated fruit juice, sugar, and a bit of alcohol. These cocktails are tasty, but more than one or two will leave you with a terrible sugar headache. They have a very basic selection of beer, a list of which can be found on the wall rather than on the menu, all in bottles rather than on tap.

I’ve never stumbled upon a bar that was so well spoken of, yet so horribly disappointing. I’ve been to this pub three times now, each time on recommendation of different friends, and each time I’ve left with a sore stomach and an empty wallet.