Seared Ahi Salad at Kon Tiki (Photo by Jackie Tran)

Kon Tiki Restaurant & Lounge Celebrates 60 Years in Tucson

September 18, 2023
By Matt Sterner

Near the corner of Broadway Boulevard and Swan Road rests an indoor tropical paradise consisting of cocktails that come in big goblets, Luau Platters, a dimly lit dining room, and a vibe that sometimes makes you forget you’re in the desert.

a flag hanging on a wall
(Photo courtesy of Kon Tiki Restaurant & Lounge)

We’re talkin’ about Kon Tiki Restaurant & Lounge and the fact that they’ve been serving drinks, dishes, and good times now for 60 years in Tucson. Below the iconic Polynesian Kon Tiki sign, which can easily be spotted from Broadway, is a tiled pathway that leads you into the restaurant.

Once you make your way inside, step past the bubbling fish tank filled with darting Cichlids and unwind with a Kon Tiki Mai Thai or one of their Scorpions — a beverage you can order for yourself or big enough to share with others.

a glass cup on a wooden table
Kon Tiki Mai Tai at Kon Tiki (Photo by Jackie Tran)

“Our team works hard to create a welcoming atmosphere for our guests, and we take great pride in our cocktails and cuisine,” said Kon Tiki’s General Manager, Jeffrey Glomski. “This recognition is a testament to our commitment to providing a memorable experience for our patrons.”

The cocktail menu at Kon Tiki has its flagship cocktails but is also everchanging and inspiring to other tiki bars around the country. For instance, according to Tasting Table, Tiki Tatsu-ya in Austin has a gin and shochu-based concoction named Strip ‘N Go Naked — something that was inspired by a drink invented at Kon-Tiki.

a plate of food on a table
Kon Tiki (Photo by Jackie Tran)
60th Anniversary Party

To celebrate its 60th anniversary there is a big party happening at 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 24.

There is going to be a $10 cover at the door (cash only) and they’ll have an exclusive cocktail and food menu (TBD), new Kon Tiki mugs and merchandise, music curated by DJ Han Cholo, and a vintage clothing and art sale featuring multiple vendors. The vendors include James Owens Art, Clever Vintage Clothing, The Witchdoctor’s Den, Winkwell, Bunny’s Treasure Chest, Kahuna Collective, and The Sonoran Siren.

On the day of, one of the hosts will stamp your hand, and seating will be first come, first served.

For more information on the event, follow Kon Tiki on Facebook.

a plate of food on a table
Rib Eye at Kon Tiki (Photo by Jackie Tran)
Brief History of the Tiki Bar in the U.S.

Legend says that in 1947, a Norwegian explorer sailed a raft from Peru to Polynesia. That inspired a wave of tiki bars across the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s, including here in Tucson.

Opening back in 1963, the team behind Kon Tiki can now claim the restaurant as one of the last remaining, operational tiki restaurants from America’s mid-century tiki past. In recent years, Kon Tiki was named one of the best happy hour spots in Tucson by The publication is fond of Tucson’s beloved tiki bar’s “Polynesian twist” when it comes to its food and cocktails.

So, stop by on Sunday, September 24, and give a warm aloha when you show up and as you leave. Better yet, pay a visit to the local tiki lounge multiple times throughout the year to keep its legacy flowin’ for years to come.

Kon Tiki Restaurant & Lounge is located at 4625 E. Broadway Blvd. For more information, visit and follow Kon Tiki on Instagram.

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