Book Trailer for Pilikia

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mai Tai update, part 2

The mai tai movement is gaining momentum. At this point I should offer a disclaimer that I am not associated in any way with Trader Vic's, The Conga Lounge or any other tiki bar in Oakland, Ca. I have eaten at Trader Vic's on more than one occasion and always had a great experience. I also regret that I didn't know, until this week, about the movement to make the mai tai the official cocktail of Oakland. We were in San Francisco last week and would have worked in a trip to Oakland had we known about it.

I heard from Emmanuel ( Mano) Thanos, who, with his brother Michael, runs the Conga Lounge in Oakland and the Forbidden Island in Alameda, CA. Mano launched the mai tai movement in Oakland. Here is what he had to say:

Aloha Troy,
My name is Mano Thanos and I started the mai tai campaign , to get the city of Oakland to recognize the mai tai as the official drink of Oakland. I really liked your article on the mai tai and yes, most people probably did not receive a real mai tai when they ordered it!

Trader Vic's ( based in Emeryville.Calif.) has always made the correct version of the mai tai because it was invented by their founder, Vic Bergeron. He invented the drink in Oakland at his bar Hinky Dinks in 1944. In the 40's and 50's Oakland was the hub of tropical drinks and Tiki culture, but by the 80's there were no tropical drinks bars left in Oakland.

In March of 2003, my brothers and I opened the Conga Lounge in Oakland and thus brought Tropical Drinks back to the city of Oakland. There are now 4 Tropical Drinks bars in the Oakland area.

About 2 years ago I was inspired by the successful Sazerac campaign in New Orleans. New Orleans had just declared the sazerac the official cocktail of New Orleans, and so I thought, what about the mai tai? It was more well known and famous throughout the world than the sazerac and yet very few people even knew that it was invented in Oakland! I printed up a few thousand flyers. started a petition drive at the Conga Lounge, hired a publicist for the mai tai campaign and opened a web site for the campaign ( )

I am glad to report that our efforts appear to be successful and the Oakland city council is taking up a vote on July the 28th. We have received tremendous support from the community as well as from the creators of the mai tai, Trader Vic's restaurant.
Very soon the city of Oakland will do what they should have done while Vic was still alive. ( Honor the creator of the mai tai by making the mai tai the official cocktail of Oakland. )

If you are in the Bay Area July the 28th we would love to have you witness this historic occasion.

Mahalo and good wishes.
Emmanuel ( Mano) Thanos
Mai Tai Campaign

Sadly, I won't make it to Oakland on July 28, but you can be sure I'll have my flip flops on and a mai tai in my hand. Mahalo, Mano, and congratulations on the campaign.


  1. Helen Ginger said...

    Mark, you were part of a movement and didn't even know it! You are always leading the pack.

    Straight From Hel