Walking through the Golden Tiki (3939 Spring Mountain Rd., 702-809-3636, TheGoldenTiki.com) at noon on July 23, the final touches for the new bar are still coming together. Captain William Tobias Faulkner—an animatronic pirate skeleton whose tale sets the theme for the new bar—had been expected to hold court at a friends-and-family soft opening just a few hours later. Instead, he sits in the kitchen staring at cases of booze as his “pirate’s lair” awaits new flooring. In the bar area, the L.E.D. ceiling panels that will display stars and fireworks have just arrived and need to be installed. And both the front and rear entrances are still under construction. Friends and family of owner Branden Powers will have to wait until July 24, when they’ll be invited to a short private party before the doors open to the public at 8 p.m.
Nonetheless, as Powers and his staff scramble to handle the delays, what may end up being one of Las Vegas’ most interesting off-Strip bars is clearly coming together. The three-level clamshell waterfall is already operational. Thatched palm fronds adorn the ceiling areas. The live music stage and DJ booth are in place. And a giant talking tiki god has been installed above the bar—although he’s still voiceless. And then there’s the collection of memorabilia and collectibles that Powers has assembled, but hasn’t quite distributed to his liking. From shrunken head replicas and spears to the authentic giraffe bone, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of small touches still awaiting placement. Some will be on prominent display. Others, like the cast of a Sasquatch footprint, will be more subtly placed to encourage guests to explore the various areas of the venue in search of such hidden treasures.
Looking around, it’s hard to believe this is the same space I toured just over two months ago as the just-closed bar, Little Macau. That day, as Powers regaled me with the saga he’d written about the pirate Faulkner, and the way he planned to tell that tale in his bar, I wondered to myself whether he’d bitten off more than he can chew. Yet, despite the delay of tonight’s party, it’s starting to look like he’s accomplishing it.
“We’ll be ready by tomorrow,” Powers tells me in no uncertain terms. And I’ll be there to see the final product. Because, so far, the place is looking pretty damn cool.