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Tiki Road Trip: A Guide to Tiki Culture in North America Paperback – May 28, 2003

27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Whether a Tikiphile . . . explor[ing] new locations or . . . planning a unique road trip, . . . this help[s] map out a bangin' itinerary." -- Boston's Weekly Dig

"[A] cover-to-cover delight . . . this is a book that changes lives." -- RoadTrip America

"[A]n entertaining and definitive guide. It's a good read even if you're not going anywhere." -- Kim Roth, By the Way Magazine

"[N]othing short of fantastic: it's virtually a treasure map for Tiki lovers." --

About the Author

James Teitelbaum has been the webmaster of the Tiki Bar Review Pages since 1994, and has contributed more than 70 articles and reviews to magazines such as Alternative Press and Blue Harvest. He lives in Chicago.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Santa Monica Press (May 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891661302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891661303
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,516,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Teitelbaum travels the world, researches 1920s to 1960s pop culture, takes pictures, watches films, admires art and architecture, works in the music industry, teaches at a Chicago college, and writes extensively on all of these topics.

His books are Tiki Road Trip (Santa Monica Press, 2003 and 2007), Big Stone Head: Easter Island and Pop Culture (Tydirium Multimedia, 2009), and Destination: Cocktails (2012). James has also written shorter pieces for a wide variety of magazines and web sites.

James lives in Chicago but is usually somewhere else - such as on Easter Island, which he has visited twice.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Trader Mort on September 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Tiki Road Trip is an excellent, if somewhat scattershot guide of Tiki bars, restaurants, and other Polynesian-themed facilities. Teitelbaum provides names, addresses, reviews and in some cases, photos to help you plan your next driving trip.
The author's reviews vary from cursory to pretty detailed. His emphasis is on the "Tikiness" of each place, based on decor, atmosphere, and food/drink. I didn't always agree with his "TiPSY" rating of some places, primarily because his emphasis seems to be primarily on Tiki decorations. I felt that Teitelbaum did not give enough weight to rarer architectural features (e.g. lava rock construction, A-framed roofs, etc.) in calculating his TiPSY scores. However, he states in the beginning that TiPSYness ratings are subjective, so any criticism described here is very minor.
This book isn't so much a road trip guide, as it is a compendium of Tiki joints past and present. While some places are alive and well, Teitelbaum includes places that are closed - in some cases for many years. Some of the Tiki spots documented are long forgotten, and the only testament that they even existed is a mug or matchbook. Also the addresses or, in some cases, cities of some of the spots listed are not provided.
A few improvements would help with subsequent editions of this guide. An index would be useful. Tables listing Tiki joints by TiPSYness, category, etc. would also be beneficial. Another recommendation is the inclusion of maps, at least at the state level. Finally, color photos are a must. Teitelbaum includes some outstanding pictures, unfortunately all in black and white.
While this book could be a bit better, it is still a must have for Tiki buffs.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By lynz-h on June 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent tribute to tiki history and lore--written by an man who is obviously passionate about his subject--all the while being amusing and charming. You may not be able to visit the bars, but his vivid and detailed descriptions make it almost as good.
My only real gripe is the small, black and white photos inside--no colour used to depict the vibrant and lush world that is tiki--faux or otherwise. also, I hoped that I would be able to use this book as a guide for some inspired tropical travels--but, alas! there aren't very many good bars in the heartlands.
one amusing plus--
James Teitelbaum leaves few stones unturned.
in a bleak winter, while driving through Iowa, I observed a fabulous sign for the "Tiki-Truck Stop". we were too tired to be tempted to stop, but my heart is now at peace knowing there is a full report in this book.
if you're already into tiki-lore, this book's glossaries and recipes will probably not be anything new. I advise looking at a copy first and seeing if there are any tiki locals near your area before making a purchase. unless you are happy to know there are fabulous tiki bars in california and scant ones in michigan.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jupiter Jones on June 27, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So you already have a no doubt well-worn copy of the first edition of "TRT" and you're wondering if it's worth buying this new one?

Yes. Get it.

Sure, you've got the expected updates to the fast-changing world of tiki, along with more of the tell-it-like-it-is reviews that were the first edition's trademark.

But Teitelbaum has also expanded the historical information about locations that are no longer with us. And there seem to be more photos and other "urban archaeological" tidbits sprinkled throughout, giving it more of the flavor of Sven Kirsten's "Book of Tiki". These are welcome improvements, and it makes this edition just as suited for armchair reading as it is for actual trip planning.

Maps, perhaps one at the beginning of each state's section, would've been nice. Many of these tiki spots are in the suburbs, which can make it difficult to tell what's near the particular city you're visiting if you're not familiar with the names of the surrounding towns. But that's not enough of a quibble to detract from a solid, five-star rating.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Elvis-from-Hell on April 22, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This a great travel guide whether you're a tiki lounge aficionado or a fan of venacular, roadside attractions from days gone by. This is an extremely comprehensive book that is conveniently organized by state - describing every tiki bar (and related attractions like tiki motels) in each of the 50 states. The author also lists the address of famous tiki attractions no longer in existence. Both authentic and retro tiki attractions are listed and described by the author.
The listings are very thorough including descriptions of decor, food and drinks as well as photos of many interiors of the listed tiki bars. There are also international listings to help you find tiki bars around the world. And, if that weren't enough, there's a helpful glossary of tiki terms in the back of the book along recipes for exotic drinks.
This is one of the better, easier to use guide books I've come across - regardless of subject matter.
Hats off to James Teitelbaum - you'll find this a great, informative book no matter where you live (indeed, I found out about a great tiki bar in my home state that I didn't even know existed!).
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