The Tennessean’s Lizzy Alfs recently pulled together a piece that highlighted something we’ve been thinking about a lot recently: It feels like tiki-bar culture is bubbling up in a big way in Nashville, and especially East Nashville.
For months now, we’ve been watching the progress at some in-the-works, tiki-toned East Nashville bars: CHOPPER, on Main Street near Barista Parlor, and Pearl Diver, up a little further north at 1008 Gallatin Ave.
Both have been sharing their progress via social media, from testing out fruit-forward drinks and snacks to their latest building milestones. Both look like they’ll bring welcome tropical breezes to that long strip of blacktop that runs up and down East Nashville, so we’re among the many Nashvillians looking forward to their arrival. (Pearl Diver is hoping for a mid-July opening, and CHOPPER’s aiming to open in the next two months.)
Then the newspaper drops the news that yet another tiki bar, dubbed Hubba Hubba, is in the works at 912 Main St. in East Nashville (close to high-end clothing and home goods shop Two Son). When/if that one opens, we’ll have gone from zero to three in one neighborhood, in the span of a year. A fast-moving wave of an East Nashville trend, for sure. (One that the folks behind the Nashville Cocktail Festival definitely called, hosting a “Polynesian Pop” tiki extravaganza night in April at East Nashville’s Pavilion East.)
Why we’re down with the tiki trend
Our team is as intrigued as anyone else by the tropical drinks and otherwise islands-y flavors on our way, but one big reason we’re inspired by the tiki trend: the decor.
Granted, tiki inspiration can take you in a painfully kitschy direction when it comes to decor — the world of fake grass and over-the-top totems. But the home- and business-owners who are taking tiki-heyday inspiration and blending it with more mature lines are doing something well worth taking note of right now.
Since tiki bar culture had its heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s, midcentury imagery — from typefaces to bright orange and aqua palettes and atomic-age patterns — makes a cool complement to the stuff that builds a tiki foundation: beachy and relaxed vibes, with rattan and bamboo, florals and fronds.
Palm leaf (or even more often, banana leaf) wallpaper has been huge for years now, and it works right into tiki vibes. Below, a favorite of ours on that front: Miami Palms Removable Wallpaper from Nashville’s own Walls Need Love.
Actual palms and other tropical-feeling houseplants are a must for good tiki vibes, too, and we’ve been getting inspired there by another new East Nashville business: GrowHouse Method (1105 Woodland St.), a gym that doubles as a plant shop, and stocks lots of gorgeous greenery.
Rattan is in the middle of a serious home-decor resurgence, so it’s become an easy material to work into more tropical, beachy or tiki-tinged design. Anthropologie is particularly on top of this trend, with bamboo and rattan pieces, from beds to chairs to tables, that bring big, beach-side vibes. Loving these Donna plant stands, perfect for GrowHouse goods.
One of our favorite pieces of tiki-time decor inspiration, though, came right from one of the above East Nashville bars. Below, Pearl Diver’s awesome midcentury-styled door. We’ve met many an adorable Inglewood ranch that we’d love to add that door to.
What’s your feeling about the resurgence of tiki bar culture in Nashville? Looking forward to the rum cocktails? Feel inspired or repelled by the beach-y decor? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
And if you’re looking for a home that’ll keep you close to tiki-bar central in East Nashville, we can absolutely help. Check out some homes for sale in East Nashville, and reach ACRE here to get started on your househunting process.