Located in Downtown Orlando, right next to Lake Eola is Aku Aku. I had been intrigued by a couple tiki bars in downtown, Aku Aku being one of them. When you’re staying in Lake Buena Vista it’s quite a haul to get out there but I’m glad I did if for nothing but getting out of LBV for a while!
When we turned off I-4 into downtown I noticed how crowded and how little parking there seemed to be. The deeper we got toward Lake Eola, the more dense the street parking was becoming. Busy night! Fortunately when we found Aku Aku, it happened to be located directly across the street from a completely reasonable pay parking garage with ample space! When you approach the bar you may first notice the large World of Beer restaurant ahead. Don’t be tempted, tiki drinks await just before there on the left. It’s quite humble on the outside with just a couple Tikis to greet you and a small staircase.
There’s not much to Aku Aku. When you walk in, you are greeted with a small 8 person bar. To the right and left are a few sitting areas including a couch to the side. Against one wall is a collection of tiki mugs and kitsch. When we visited, it wasn’t very crowded at all. There was just a few people sitting at the bar and half of them were drinking fizzy yellow water. Against the back bar I didn’t see much in the way of rum selection. Overall the bar wasn’t overtly Tiki upon first impression so I held out hope that the menu would deliver.
As you can look for yourself, it’s quite small and not a lot of rum options. According to the current menu, there is just Bacardi Rums, Meyers, Sailor Jerry, and Plantation. About half of the menu are classic(ish) tiki drinks. You’ll see from the menu that they at least had my two “evaluation” drinks. So going in first on the Zombie, you’ll notice a heavy heavy influence of Orange with just a tiny bit of spiciness to it. The rums weren’t notable at all in it. It was a totally serviceable Zombie, but nothing you’ll remember. The Mai Tai fared a bit better in its flavor profile but there was a weird leathery taste to it. Not quite a black strap rum kind of flavor but something similar.
I liked Aku Aku for how not crowded it was and it was quiet and comfortable to have good conversation with some tiki drinks. While not using any exciting rums, it still was worth it to come out here, away from the $20 dollar drinks of Lake Buena Vista and still have some good beverages.
Aku Aku - Orlando, Florida
Easy to miss. Very convenient parking garage right across the street.
431 East Central Blvd
Orlando, FL 32801