Have you ever experienced a perfect day? If someone gave you the ability to re-create a perfect day in paradise, wouldn’t you?
Jordan’s perfect day didn’t start off that well. He was having a bad day at work, but managed to muddle through by looking forward to a date he had that night. He had convinced Morgan and their mutual friends to try his favorite bar that night, so they donned their aloha wear and made their way to the Tiki Cat, recognized as one of the best tiki bars in the world in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jordan and Morgan had found themselves being put together before. With mutual friends, they were often at the same place at the same time. Truth is the two of them didn’t really like each other for the longest time. Where Jordan was outgoing, Morgan was reserved. Where Morgan was thoughtful, Jordan was impulsive. Where Jordan was vague, Morgan was direct. But something had recently shifted. Jordan had begun to realize that Morgan was the exact balance he needed in his life.
When you fall in love, your first date is a perfect day. You remember the setting, the smiles, the tastes, and the sounds. Your memories are imprinted, and time stands still. Jordan’s memories of his first real date with Morgan are just that. Imprinted. He remembers Morgan’s smile. He remembers the laughs among friends. He remembers savoring the taste of a Kirk and Sweeny 23 year aged rum offered by the generous and personable bartenders. He remembers the dark, colorful vibes and the complex smells of vintage artifacts, citrus, and booze from the interior of the Tiki Cat. Most importantly, he remembers realizing he was in love with Morgan. It wouldn’t be long after that Jordan would be dressing up in an aloha shirt for a different reason – posing for engagement photos with the love of his life.
What does a perfect day have to do with creating a home tiki bar? When you lose something that is valuable, you do everything to hold on to it.
On July 7, 2020, the terrible news hit. Tiki Cat would close its doors permanently. The unexpected closing of the world-famous bar was a huge loss to Jordan and Morgan. The paradise setting of their first date abruptly ceased to exist. Although they had hoped Tiki Cat would be there for years to come, now there would be no opportunity. How might they hold on to that perfect day? They decided to create their own Tiki Cat. Within a short time of hearing the news, Jordan and Morgan set a goal to create a home bar in the storm cellar underneath their home in North Kansas City.
One year later, the Black Flamingo is an amazing labor of love. Morgan painted all of the walls. Jordan divided the room into seating areas. Morgan reused materials from their wedding to create the perfect matting for their lamp and tiki mug collections. Jordan commissioned a replica of the Sleestak black velvet painting from the same artist who had pained one for the Tiki Cat. They thrifted for velvet sofas and vintage bars with similar tiles to the tabletops in Tiki Cat. They found the same Creature from the Black Lagoon statute and hung it similarly. They also expertly combined the tiki aesthetic with another cherished jazz club in Kansas City called the Green Lady Lounge, one of Morgan’s favorite bars.
It’s not often that you get to step into someone’s perfect day. But, I did, at the Black Flamingo.