The Kon-Tiki is ready to set sail, celebrating its grand opening this weekend with volcano bowls and pupu platters aplenty. The 1,800-square-foot space at 347 14th Street in Oakland was formerly Longitude, a contemporary tiki-inspired bar that laid the groundwork for The Kon-Tiki co-owners Christ Aivaliotis and Matthew Reagan.
“They did a lot of great stuff [at Longitude], so it was a good canvas that was already primed,” Aivaliotis, who previously opened Hawker Fare SF upstairs bar Holy Mountain, told Eater. As he was planning out the bar, Aivaliotis noted “a lot of old decor we’re going to keep,” but said there was plenty to add. “Our intention is to kinda overdo it, as best as we can.”
Like all the best tiki bars, the Kon-Tiki is a voyage to nowhere in particular: It’s a cultural mashup of Polynesian pop decor, Caribbean rum, and food and cocktails summoned from thin air by famous tiki bar owners like Trad’r Vic and Don the Beachcomber.
The Kon-Tiki takes its cues from those American tiki gods, and seems to be as authentically inauthentic as possible. It’s a fake paradise where customers can enjoy 80 different kinds of rum, flaming cocktails with high-quality ingredients, and yes, even a cheeseburger. Former Hawker Fare Oakland cook Manuel Bonilla is in charge of the kitchen — the whole food and drink menu is here.
During the process of opening The Kon-Tiki, Aivaliotis noticed more enthusiasts and tiki artisans coming out of the woodwork. To support them, he hopes to host regular showcases and sales of their work.
The Kon-Tiki is open Tuesday to Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, and Thursday to Saturday until 1 a.m., closed Sunday, with the kitchen open until last call.