FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Super-Secret Tiki Temple Bar and Other Mysteries

by Aoife O’Riordan

Mar 19, 2023

A little more than two weeks ago, two of my friends and I made reservations for an evening at Secret Tiki Temple, a place steeped in Chinese heritage with a tiki twist, which we heard so much about and yet also knew very little of.

As it is available only by reservation, we booked a table for three about 1.5 weeks out. When I arrived, I actually drove right past it as I didn’t realize the bar sat within a pagoda-shaped Chinese restaurant. In fact, the entrance is the same, but for those waiting to enter the secret bar, you sit off to the side and wait to tell the hostess the secret password.

We soon were seated at a high-top table beneath countless hanging, tropical-themed lamps of various colorful bulbs. The space can probably hold a maximum of 20 guests total, so it soon became clear why the bar books up quickly. While our table sat against a back wall, some seats were tucked away behind plants and quirky masks and lamps.tiki bar

We first browsed the drinks menu, but the mysteries of Secret Tiki Temple Bar continued on to the menu. Every drink listed only described the feeling you’d have drinking it, with no information on its ingredients. Some people may not like this, but I thought this added to the secretive nature of the space. We asked our waiter about different drink recommendations and weren’t disappointed. The bar rotates its drink menus regularly, and on this occasion we all opted for a fun rum-based drink served in a panda-shaped mug, complete with an umbrella and maraschino cherry.tiki bar

For food, we decided to split several dishes, including Spam fried rice, chicken wontons, barbecue ribs and crab Rangoon. My favorite, the Spam fried rice dish, surprised me, as I didn’t think I would enjoy Spam as much as I did. The presentation was also unique, coming in an actual Spam tin, filled to the brim with fried rice, Spam and vegetables.tiki bar

The chicken wontons were also delicious, coming with a sweet soy sauce. We stayed at the spot for about two hours, enjoying every last bite of food, sip of drink and minute of our time in this funky space. One of the other workers even spoke to us about special days with unique drink menus, including May 4, in which they offer special Star Wars-themed drinks. All prices for drinks and dishes were reasonable, and I would easily visit again.

Should you find yourself in Jacksonville, plan ahead and make a reservation to enjoy an evening at Secret Tiki Temple Bar. Just be sure to remember it sits within Pagoda, a larger restaurant masking the wonders waiting within … .

— Aoife O’Riordan, associate editor

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