Restaurant Review

Tiny Tiki Bar offers a beach-style escape from Jozi's chilly winters

Tiki-style rum cocktails are the order of the day at this bar/eatery in Melville. Enjoy them with tasty snacks from the adjoining eatery, The Anti-Social Club

28 July 2019 - 00:00 By
The delicious rum cocktails at Tiny Tiki Bar are traditionally served in brightly coloured Tiki mugs.
The delicious rum cocktails at Tiny Tiki Bar are traditionally served in brightly coloured Tiki mugs.
Image: Supplied

Wrapped in a thick coat, draped in a fake flowery garland and sipping a cocktail in a beach-style bar on a wintry lunchtime in Melville, Joburg, felt incongruous …  

One of the city's oldest suburbs is undergoing (another?) facelift and the Anti-Social Club and Tiny Tiki Bar on a busy corner are a continuation of the recent gentrification of the area. The thing about Melville is, love or loathe it, it's irrepressible, it bounces back like a cheeky child that never fails to surprise, both good and bad.

"Tiki" means one of two things: it's a reference to wood or stone carvings typical of the South Pacific islands or a place that imitates a South Pacific bar. Think beach, loud flowery shirts, gauche brightly coloured decorations, pretty suntanned boys and girls and rum, lots of it.

"I've wanted to create a Trader Dick's [a famous tiki bar that opened in the US in 1956, and where Marilyn Monroe is said to have been a regular] since I was 19 years old," said Alex Szabo, one of three partners in Tiny Tiki.

"At Trader Dick's the owner's secrets were his biggest drawcard - surprise rum-based cocktails made with secret flavour and syrup combinations."

Tiki cocktails are traditionally served in brightly coloured Tiki mugs, which you'll find here too, a collection of just 30, Szabo's pride and joy.

Here cocktail mixes aren't state secrets, rather enticing descriptions on a menu - Mai Tai (a combination of light and dark rum), Zombie, Dark & Stormy, Bahama Mama and Rum Swizzle - but if you prefer a surprise, the team of young and enthusiastic bartenders-in-training are up to the challenge and dying to add their signature.

The ribs from The Anti-Social club, the eatery adjoining Tiny Tiki Bar, are really good and not covered in THAT marinade.
The ribs from The Anti-Social club, the eatery adjoining Tiny Tiki Bar, are really good and not covered in THAT marinade.
Image: Supplied

What to eat? In the adjoining eatery, the Anti-Social part that's very social, you can nibble on typical bar items - chicken wings and other snack-type food. The ribs were really good and not covered in THAT marinade.

If that leaves you cold, try the all-day Brinner - a breakfast plate featuring their famous bacon, which is damn good, two sunnyside-ups, a stack of sweet pancakes and a blueberry confit.

They've been open for a month and word is they've been persuaded to add a selection of vegetarian items to the menu.

• Visitantisocialmelville.co.za/tiny-tiki-bar


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.