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History Lesson: 614Tiki Week and a Newly Discovered Kahiki Story

Doug Motz Doug Motz History Lesson: 614Tiki Week and a Newly Discovered Kahiki StoryPhoto by Edmund Garman.
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There’s a rhyme that I’ve heard from lots of my Tiki pals this week when discussing all of the happenings in our local Tiki-verse and it goes like this:

One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak

Using this ditty about making one of the oldest rum punches as a jumping off point, I’ll start this history lesson, which honestly hits very close to home for me as much of this news is about my friends and a slice of Columbus that I dearly love. So maybe it’s part History Lesson and part love letter to all things Columbus TIKI!

One of sour – Columbus Losing a Favored Tiki Spot

Grass Skirt Tiki Bar is closing.

My heart has broken a little as I really do love the place. My husband and I were there before they opened as well as on opening day. We gifted our friend and Grass Skirt owner Carmen Owens and crew a framed print of our friend Brittney Lee’s Grass Skirted Hula Girl and it has hung in the ladies room ever since. Carmen served me my very first Mai Tai there and my friend and founder of the Fraternal Order of the Moai, Matt “Ahu”, bought me my first properly poured painkiller there as well. 

Matt “Kuku Ahu” and Carmen Owens at Grass Skirt
Matt “Kuku Ahu” and Carmen Owens at Grass Skirt.

One of my very first articles for Columbus Underground was about the ties Grass Skirt had with the late, GREAT Kahiki.

That article from 2012 launched a book about the Kahiki written by my friends David Meyers, Elise Meyers-Walker, Jeff Chenault, and me: Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise.

That led to two additional restaurant books I wrote with my friend Christine Hayes. 

When my husband and I opened up our own basement Tiki bar, we held a fundraiser there and Carmen supplied my favorite Grass Skirt libation “Rum and Happiness” and she donated dozens and dozens of delicious shrimp Rangoon that our guests devoured. 

Grass Skirt was also the home of the Hula Hop and it was also where I first met my “cane curious” friend Chad White of the incredible Ohio Rum Society (ORS) – Up Spirits fellow Rummers!

I’m excited for Carmen and her new venture She-Creature, but sad for all the regulars who loved donning their finest Hawaiian shirts, skirts, and rock-a-billy togs for a night of fun and escapism at her wonderful tropical hide-away. 

Grass Skirt remains open Tuesday & Wednesday 3:00 – 11:00 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – midnight until August 24, 2019.

Continue to Page 2: Uncovered Stories About the Kahiki Franchise

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