Ok, you guys…I know it’s been a while. 2019 has, for the most part, been a kick to the teeth. I had a particularly crushing experience at work and struggled to rediscover my love for writing and telling stories. But after a lot of soul-searching (and maybe a little procrastinating), I felt it was time to get back into writing about what I love most — Tiki!
I’ve said before our Texas Tiki scene is not quite as robust as in other cities, so it’s important to visit the Tiki destinations we do have as often as possible. We unfortunately lost Howie’s Tiki last year, so that was crazy sad for a state already kind of slim on Tiki.
But last month, Lei Low Bar in Houston celebrated their 5 year anniversary, which was cause for major celebration. Lei Low always goes big on their anniversary parties, and this year was no different. I made the trek down to Houston for the event, and I enjoyed great music, an awesome new Lei Low Tiki mug, and the company of some wonderful friends.
A few of us arrived a little early to “tailgate” and enjoy a small potluck before the festivities. It was much cooler weather-wise than last year, so we had to bundle up a bit!
By the time the 2:00 opening time rolled around and the doors opened, there was a pretty long line of happy Tikiphiles waiting to get in. As we made our way in, the staff welcomed us warmly. I took a seat at the bar and ordered my first drink — a Mai Tai in their fancy new anniversary mug, which was in the style of the original Trader Vic’s Suffering Bastard mug. The mug was made by none other than John Mulder of Eekum Bookum, who always makes amazingly intricate, high-quality Tiki mugs.
I am always crazy impressed at how the bar staff keeps track of orders and slings drinks during these anniversary parties. Despite intense pressure from rows and rows of thirsty patrons, they never miss a beat and are on top of everything.
This year, Lei Low spiced up the music by bringing in Joe Tropicana, who entertained the masses with his latin-infused DJ set. I do vaguely remember dancing a cumbia at some point during the afternoon. The atmosphere was lively and energetic, and people were really enjoying themselves!
And what better way to say happy birthday to the Lei Low than with banana rum cake? (Yes, you read that right.) The cake was heavenly. I even ate the frosting, which I normally toss. My friend Maria and I helped spread the love by walking around offering cake to patrons, including those outside waiting to get in.
Sadly, I had to leave earlier than I wanted, since I had to drive back to Dallas in time for work the next day (save the “you’re crazy” comments, haha!). I’ve done this several times before, and it’s always worth it to drive down.
I’m so thankful for the incredible friends I’ve made in Houston, and that includes the Lei Low’s owners and staff. I hope they stick around and that Lei Low stands the test of time, because they deserve it! If you ever find yourself in Houston, please pay them a visit. And tell them I said hello!