Bret Redman

Bar Review

4 Kahunas Brings The Beach To Arlington

A tiki hut settles among the landlocked suburb's used car dealerships.

You don’t expect to find a slice of tiki life among a strip of used car dealerships in Arlington. But on a recent Friday night at 4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge, surf rock played overhead, the scent of orange and cloves wafted through the air, and everyone had a bright, colorful drink in hand. I grabbed a menu and, within minutes, found at least 20 cocktails I wanted to try. I knew I was in for a long night.

The space is compact, low-lit, and decorated with tiki culture staples: wooden masks, ukuleles, strings of seashells, and a glass case of mysterious objects that included what may have been a shrunken head. The Hawaiian-shirt-clad bartender pointed to four tiki carvings behind the bar and explained that each represented one of the 4 Kahunas founders (Chris Powell, J.P. Hunter, Randy Shepherd, and Scott Smith).

“Now for the best part of a tiki bar,” he said, lighting the top of a Tiki Torch cocktail. “We set things on fire!”

Behind him, a bright screen showcased footage of waterfalls and tropical forests. A group nearby debated ordering one of the shareable “search party” cocktails. Two women talked beneath a hanging mermaid figurehead.

“What’s in the Zombie?” a tall, thin guy asked the bartender.

“Deliciousness,” the bartender said, starting on the drink. “Trust me, you want this.”

As the night wore on, I watched the bartenders whip up more vibrant concoctions than I could keep track of. (Brad Bowden, who designed the tiki drinks at Lounge Here, created the menu.) There were classic tiki cocktails like Trader Vic’s original Mai Tai; there were inspired libations made with ingredients like sherry and absinthe. A man in a patterned shirt sipped the whiskey-based Yellow Rose from a ceramic yellow mug. A little pirate flag poked out from a rum-and-brandy drink called Blackbeard’s Ghost. Fresh fruit and house-made syrups abounded. Lemon and orange peels were curled to resemble butterflies and snakes.

Cute gimmicks aside, these drinks were the real deal. My only regret was that I couldn’t try them all. But that’s what the next visit is for.

Newsletter

Our SideDish newsletter features Dallas’s newest dining spots, scrumptious recipes from local restaurants, and news on breweries, cocktail hours and more.

Find It

Search our directories for...

Dining

Dining

Bars

Bars

Tex-Mex

Tex-Mex

BBQ

BBQ

View All

View All

Comments