Mai Tai Bar at the Pike
97 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
Hours: Mon-Fri 4 pm - 1:30 am, Sat-Sun, noon - 1:30 am
Mai Tai Bar opened in mid-2005 above its sister restaurant the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company across from the Aquarium of the Pacific at the Pike in Long Beach. The décor is laid-back island-themed wicker. Strategically placed large screen TVs play surf videos, cartoons and sports. The heated patio area ringed by tiki torches overlooks Aquarium Way and Rainbow Harbor. A large square bar dominates the center of the space, but with all the roaming waitresses, there's no need to wait in line at the bar. An area around the bar is roped off, which is a bit confusing. It's designed to keep you inside the ropes, so the serving staff has a clear path outside the ropes. If you clog these paths, security staff will shine bright lights at you until you move.
There are seating areas to accommodate large and small groups in the main bar and on the patio. Three indoor group seating areas for 6 to 14 people, including two large curtained booths, can be reserved with a $200 to $350 minimum bar tab.
The stage is crammed against a wall between the entrance and one of the curtained booths. A walkway is roped off in front of the stage and there is a tiny space between the rope and the bar designated for dancing. This doesn't preclude people from dancing elsewhere in the bar if the mood strikes them.
Mai Tai Bar in Long BeachCourtesy of Mai Tai Bar
Mai Tai is a tropical haven not only in décor; it also draws a large number of LA and Orange County Pacific Islanders to add Polynesian flavor to the multicultural crowd. The age range is diverse, weighted toward under 35. It's a great venue for groups and there were half a dozen parties of 8 or more on the scene on a recent Saturday night: celebrating special events, entertaining out of town guests or, just a bunch of friends out for a good time.
It's proximity to Downtown Long Beach hotels brings in a lot of travelers including fans of the other two Mai Tai bars in Hawaii and Florida who come looking for that familiar laid back atmosphere and live island music. As one guest said, "I just like to kick back and get that tropical feel without it being all about dancing."
Food and Drink
Mai Tais are obviously the specialty of the house, but the bar features a long list of exotic tropical cocktails less lethal than its potent namesake, as well as a limited selection of draft beers, wines and well drinks. We tried the Icy Mai Tai and Traditional Mai Tai and preferred the traditional to the slushy variety, which had little juice to mask the rum. It might have been improved with the optional float of peach or watermelon schnapps. We also enjoyed the Raspberry Lemon Drop - much lighter in flavor and alcohol, although I could have done without the sticky rim of sugar.
They don't have a full restaurant menu (the menu on their website is out of date), but the appetizers are a decent size to sop up some of the alcohol. Food ranges in price from $3 for an order of fries or edamame (soybeans) to $7-$9 for meat and seafood dishes. The kitchen is open until 12:30 am. When the clock strikes twelve, you can get a decadent warm chocolate chip cookie with a glass of cold milk, served only at midnight.
Happy Hour occurs twice nightly, from 4 to 7 pm and from 8:30 to 11 pm. Happy hour drink prices include $4 Mai Tais and select specialty drinks, Domestic beer $2.50/pint and $6/pitcher, imported beer $3/pint, $9 pitcher, well drinks and house wine $3. At the early happy hour, five of the appetizers normally $7-$9 are offered for $5 each. Check the menu for specifics.
Mai Tai also offers Kona coffee and Mighty Leaf Teas in addition to juices and soft drinks.
Tropical Drinks at Mai Tai BarPhoto courtesy of Mai Tai Bar
is known for its kick-back island music which could be reggae, calypso, Caribbean, Hawaiian or whatever variations local bands can generate, with the occasional 80s cover band to mix things up. They have two different musical groups every night. Monday through Saturday from 5 to 8 pm solo artists perform. From 9:30 pm to 12:30 am you can hear various bands with the exception of Wednesdays, when there's a DJ and Monday nights when different solo artists do both the early and late sets. On Sundays the live music sets are 3 to 6 pm and 8:30 to 11:30 pm.
$5 after 9 pm Friday and Saturday, otherwise none.
Group Table Reservations:
$200 to $350 minimum bar tab for 6 to 14 people
no sports apparel, baggie clothes, hats, plain T-shirts or tank tops
15-20 minutes some weekend nights, otherwise none
, (562) 435-1200
This information is accurate at the time of publication. Please check with the venue for the most up to date information.