Aku Aku – A Tiki Bar in Oslo
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After I met Thanos and Elias from the Baba Au Rum in Athens at the Fuglen coffee shop and after another heavy rain shower, we decided to make an afternoon bar trip together. The Aku Aku is one of the first nouveau-tiki bars in the world. It was a great honor for me to make this bar visit together with this famous rum experts.
We walked two kilometres up to the north-eastern part of the city centre. Despite of the changing weather conditions it was an interesting walk through a different part of Oslo. The area was less busy and we passed many tiny wooden houses like you usually see on Scandinavian movies. After crossing a small river we reached Grünerløkka. Somebody told me that this is the hipster area of Oslo with many cafés, restaurants and vintage shops. It seemed very relaxed and I noticed many young and creative looking people.
We finally reached our destination and entered the Aku Aku Tiki Bar. The bar is a spacious room with small tables and seats, a small lounge area and the bar counter with approximate twelve seats. The concept is obvious and you find many Polynesian tiki culture decor and details. Many things but not really cluttered. From my point of view there could be more of a Polynesian theme. What catches the eyes are the numerous tiki mugs lined up on shelves or stored in show cases. I liked the paintings of the hula girls on the wooden claddings of the bar counter. This place exists for 15 years now.
Aku-Aku are beings in Easter Island mythology. “They are the spirits of our ancestors. Some of them are mischievous, but they are mainly friendly. Everyone has their own Aku-Aku, who will give you advice when you need it. They are invisible and walk next to you on your left hand side. They are about as tall as your knee and can travel very fast. They can get as far as Chile and back in about two minutes.” (Reference: http://www.akuaku.no/)
There are two menus. The first is a long list of their good rum selection, what else can you expect in a Tiki bar? The second menu is the latest summer cocktail menu with dramatic, not only rum based cocktails. The creations looked interesting with a Nordic twist on liquorice and other local ingedients.
We odered the Banjana Punch garnished with a lovely live flower, a Voodoo Poison and Black Star. Both drinks with a strong liquorice taste. I had the Voodoo Poison and the combination with the mezcal and the salty liquorice flavour was really nice. Elias didn’t like his Nordic Gothic drink that much, it was very sweet but he found a nice Bristol Caroni Rum 1998 to treat his palate nicely. Overall we came to the conclusion that the drinks are nice but need a bit more balance.
Nordic charm with an exotic flair.
Be careful, there is a list of house rules: The keeper of the bar is always right. I am not familiar with the Nordic hospitality and don’t know something about the behaviour of guests here. I would describe the service, let me say a bit “special”. The barmaid was tough and grounded, also a bit sarcastic but in the end very nice. It was a successful expedition.