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    Tambu Lounge

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Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Setting and Atmosphere

Each of the islands which make up Polynesia have ancient cultural traditions and beliefs. While these customs vary slightly between islands and island groups, there are some similarities. One of the oldest shared stories is about the first man. In Christian culture, he’s known as Adam, but to much of Polynesia he is called...Tiki.

What has come to be known as a Tiki is typically a carved wood item representing a god, and used either to bring good fortune or protection from bad things. The reason I mention this is that Disney’s Polynesian Resort is chock full of tikis, and its charming Tambu Lounge is no different.

Tambu Lounge is located in a second floor corner of the Polynesian Resort’s Great Ceremonial House, adjacent to the restaurant ‘Ohana. Due to the popularity of the restaurant, the lounge can get a bit busy during dinner as thirsty travelers await their table. However, if you come early or late, it is a reasonably quiet place to relax.

Sitting atop the large, wooden bar is a lovely thatched roof that evokes a village hut (that serves alcohol, as all village huts presumably do). In between the thatched roof and the ceiling sit a few large tikis. These particular tikis are hard to identify to a particular god, which is probably what they were designed as. The open, aggressive mouth and flared nostrils indicate that they are meant to repel bad spirits. I am sure that keeping away bad luck is something all Walt Disney World visitors can identify with.

Another aspect of ancient Polynesian culture that is abundant, although less noticeable, is the animal drawings which are found throughout the area. The lounge’s sign, the bar, and even the ceiling are spectacular examples of tribal art in its simplest and most fundamental form. It would be a mistake to not mention the extremely pleasant view from Tambu Lounge. The seating area is bordered on two sides by floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the lushly landscaped grounds of the Polynesian Resort. It is a view worthy of a good drink, and good drinks they have.

Speaking of drinks (nice transition, right?), there are several to choose from at the Tambu Lounge. They have a handful of beers on tap, including selections from Hawaii’s own Kona Brewery. The real stars of this bar however, are the mixed drinks. Two drinks in particular must be mentioned because of their popularity and uniqueness. The Backscratcher is a rum-based drink mixed with passion fruit juice and a touch of Jack Daniels. What makes it unusual is that it is served with...a backscratcher. Exactly why seems to be a mystery, but it is fun and whimsical and that is probably all that matters. The Lapu Lapu is also rum and fruit juice based (with Bacardi 151, so watch out for that kick). The whimsy from this drink comes from its serving vessel, carved from a whole pineapple. Drinking from a fruit can make you feel equal parts ridiculous and fanciful, but you’ll also feel completely on vacation.

In addition to these two superstar cocktails there is also the Tropical Macaw (coconut rum, melon liqueur, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice layered red and green) and the Island Sunset (spiced rum, coconut rum, melon, peach, guava, and passion fruit). There are a handful of appetizers here if you are getting hungry looking at all of those pineapples, but not a full menu.