Vintage style Tiki illustrations by Oktopolis: The Art of Brian Miller
Series of vintage style Tiki illustrations inspired by classic tiki bars.
Do you know the secret of the Mystery Girl? We may never know all the details of Kahiki Supper Club but for decades it was the biggest and most happening Tiki spot in the Mid-West. The Kahiki was the brainchild of restauranteurs Bill Sapp and Lee Henry who wanted to bring a Tiki-themed restaurant to Columbus, Ohio. So popular was Kahiki it became a mainstay for celebrities visiting the area serving notable guests like Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bob Hope, Milton Berle , Gypsy Rose Lee, Robert Goulet, Van Johnson, and Andy Williams.
Kahiki Supper Club remains a legend in the tiki world years after closing. Why? Perhaps it was because of the grand Polynesian architecture. Or the legend of the "Mystery Drink", a cocktail served in a bowl with a "smoking volcano" in its center. The Mystery Drink served four people and had eight ounces of rum and brandy along with other secret ingredients. It was always served by the "Mystery Girl", a server summoned with a gong. The "Mystery Girl" would walk slowly to a drum beat and offer the "smoking volcano" to the large Tiki god fireplace before dancing her way to deliver the drink to the diners' table. A true spectacle to be witnessed by those in attendance.
In 1997, the restaurant was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At the time, it was the only tiki restaurant in Ohio, and the only remaining supper club in Columbus. It closed in 2000 and was sold to Walgreens who demolished the restaurant and replaced it with one of its stores. Today Kahiki only to live on in memories and artwork celebrating one of the greatest Tiki themed supper clubs of all time.
In 1956 Mai-Kai was born from the imaginations of brothers Bob & Jack Thornton. The two visited Don the Beachcomber’s in Chicago and dreamed of one day opening a Polynesian inspired paradise of their own. The brothers took a huge risk spending over $300,000 on design and construction making Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Florida resulting in the most expensive restaurant built in 1956. Their risk taking paid off with Mai-Kai earning over one million dollars in the first year and selling more rum than any other bar or restaurant in the United States.
The Mai-Kai contains many genuine Polynesian artifacts, some that are over 100 years old. Some of the original collection of Polynesian artifacts was donated to Stanford University in the 1970s and to the Fort Lauderdale art museum. In 2014 Mai-Kai was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Sadly Mai-Kai closed in 2020 during the pandemic and has yet to re-open. Mai-Kai lives on in the memories of all who visited over the years.
ABOUT THE ART
These illustrations were drawn using Adobe Draw on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. The drawings were exported to Adobe Photoshop where final color adjustments were made, and halftone patterns created.
Fine-Art Prints available from Oktopolis.