The light is on.

And Brian said, let there be a tiki bar. And Brian divided the rum from the beer, called his dad over, and in three days, the Barloney Tiki Lounge was created. And Brian and his neighbors said, it is good.

Brian’s wife didn’t even know that he was building a tiki bar over a long weekend until she and the kids returned from the weekend trip. When she left, it was an outdoor beer and poker bar. When she returned, it was a full-fledged tiki bar. Brian’s dad painted beautiful murals on the walls and was himself a carver of tiki back in the 80s. Brian created shelving, made lamps, and stocked the space with flotsam from his life. He built everything in his bar from what he calls “garbage.” The result is beachcomer at its finest.

Not everything went as planned. Although Brian is master craftsman, he decided to (quite literally) try his hand at chain saw tiki carving. That did not go well. After recovering from a scary moment when a chainsaw almost took his arm off, he burned that tiki in effigy and decided that collecting tikis was just fine.

Brian’s advice? Have artifacts that people can point to your bar to remind them of a story. Encourage them to tell that story. Take time to listen. When you come to a tiki bar, you want to be part of its narrative, so help others find words to tell their stories. Look around. Pour a drink. See yourself.

Brian Maloney has a light on the outside of the bar that can be seen by his neighbors from the street. When the light is on, any friend is welcome to come, sit down, and escape. Brian doesn’t need to be there. In fact, he has looked out the window and seen people enjoying themselves in his backyard bar. Half the time, the light stays on all night. Brian often forgets to turn it off. But, he doesn’t care. It is more important to offer a moment of aloha for his friends whenever it is needed. That’s Brian’s personality. He’s open. He creates space for others to escape.

The light is on. Have a tiki. Sit awhile. Tell me story.

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