The Kon-Tiki is a tiki bar and restaurant in downtown Oakland. The Kon Tiki was born out of Chris Aivaliotis and Matthew Reagan’s longstanding desire to stop commuting to San Francisco, but still wear a Hawaiian shirt to work every day. After searching for a location for three years, they started the bar and restaurant in 2017 through their shared passion of for and drink. The Kon-Tiki serves classic tiki drinks from the canon established by Donn Beach and Oakland’s own Victor Bergeron, as well as original tropical libations. Their chef Manuel Bonilla has worked in some of the best restaurants in Oakland and creates local, seasonal, dishes in a casual setting that doesn’t break the bank.
The restaurant uses unapologetic amounts of fake foliage and tiki-style art from local artists. “We’re not pretending to transport you to some ‘Oriental’ tropical escape. That’s shaky ground,” said Aivaliotis. “We wanted to have a tiki bar that was really something from the past and was referencing Oakland. It’s all California.”
Their tiki drinks use the finest ingredients, and freshest juices and syrups. They offer a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks in order to serve families and kids in the neighborhood. The bar has been getting great reviews since opening. As The East Bay Express wrote, “Despite the over-the-top silliness, The Kon-Tiki team is completely serious when it comes to the bar’s food and drink. Aivaliotis’ bartending résumé includes Oakland’s Flora, San Francisco’s Hawker Fare, and Hawker Fare’s upstairs neighbor, Holy Mountain, which he helped open. Chef Manuel Bonilla was chef de cuisine at Hawker Fare Oakland and polished his skills during stints at Clove & Hoof and Homestead.”
Despite all the local press and two years of success, they were turned down by traditional banks when they needed capital to expand the bar. The team at PCV was happy to say yes. The Kon-Tiki partners with local business and nonprofit organization and contributes over $500,000/year to the local economy through employee wages and B2B partnerships. We’re excited to help them grow and create good local jobs.