The History Of The Mr. Bali Hai Cocktail.
If you go to the Bali Hai restaurant today and order a Mr. Bali Hai, you will not get this drink. The recipe has been changed over time, and this recipe is from the 2002 book “Intoxica” by Jeff Beachbum Berry. Tiki cocktails are not like old classic cocktails that every bar makes; many tiki recipes tend to be unique to each bar and get changed over time to adjust to the evolving trends and differentiate from competitors. The current Mr. Bali Hai is made with blackberry liqueur, whereas this one is made with coffee liqueur. Jeff Beachbum Berry cites this as the version he got during the 1980s when he first visited the restaurant, but he dates this recipe back to the 1970s. Mr. Bali Hai also comes with a super cool mug that can only be bought at that bar. The face looks like the giant wooden head hunter statue outside the entrance.
History Of The Bali Hai Restaurant.
The Bali Hai is a Tahitian-themed restaurant on Shelter Island in San Diego, CA. The Bali Hai on Shelter Island started as one of a tiki-themed bar chain locations called Christian’s Hut. Christian’s Hut opened in 1935 and was originally the makeshift bar under Clark Gable’s room. While filming the 1935 film “Mutiny on the Bounty,” Clark Gable played the character Fletcher Christian and the building (Bedroom above makeshift party bar below) became known as Christian’s Hut. After filming ended, the crew had the foresight to keep the building, move it to Newport Beach, and open a Tahitian-themed restaurant. I’m not sure how much of this was inspired by Don The Beachcomber, which opened in 1934 in Los Angeles, but part of the movie does take place in Tahiti, so that the Polynesian theme may have come from there. It could have been a bit of both. The restaurant and bar did well and eventually opened several other locations. One of those other locations was on Shelter Island in San Diego.
By the early 1950s, Christian Hut on Shelter Island started to fall on hard times. A new owner named Tom Ham stepped in, renamed the restaurant the Bali Hai, which in Indonesian means “Your own special island,” and was able to turn the restaurant around. The bar and restaurant are still open and worth visiting if you want to see one of the original and few surviving Polynesian-themed restaurants.