Xp Bonaire IslandLife Feature Story
The development and growth of the island in the last decade has also broadened the demand for, and supply of, quality, service and creativity in the new businesses on Bonaire. Due to the covid situation, only in June did we start to enjoy social interactions again and move about more freely. That is a reason why we recently hear so much about the new and unique addition to our nightlife on the island: Tiki & Co, THE Cocktail bar.
For those who are not familiar with cocktail history, here’s a quick dive into Tiki culture. Tiki culture began at the end of Prohibition in 1933, with the opening of Don's Beachcomber, a Polynesian-themed bar and restaurant in Hollywood, California by Donn Beach, founding father of the tiki culture. Offering an exotic escape to Polynesia, Hawaii, forbidden love and pirate adventures while sitting in a bar around the corner. The popularity of those “get away” bars spread around the world.
Tiki & Co breathes exotic mystery and pirate adventure with a Polynesian influenced interior of tiki carvings, tropical plants and Caribbean touches of voodoo, pirates and plenty of rum. Tiki & Co is not just another ordinary bar on the island where we walk in to check who is there and whom we can join. This cocktail bar is really a special experience in that it beams you into a very tasteful, mysterious, tropical location. The team of bartenders and owner, Eddy, radiate professionalism and the backdrop of the bar is filled with mysterious bottles from faraway shores.
Eddy, owner of Tiki & Co, has a success story to tell about following your heart and passion. Eddy spend most of his childhood and teenage years on Bonaire when he moved from Rotterdam to the island at 5 years of age. While he went to school, he was already interested in bar work, service, interacting with people and watching the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail. He was inspired. At a young age, he started to help out at some bars on the island and fell in love with the profession. When his was allowed to make his first Pina Colada, he laughed out, “top shit!”
Later while he was studying criminology in Chicago, USA, he worked at a bar where he had to work his way up. After only two months, he was allowed to step behind the bar and it was here where his bartender career really started.
When he moved back to the Netherlands to finish his studies, he again worked at a bar and finally gave up his studies. When an old friend asked him to join the team at the high-end bar, Stir, his rise to fame started. Stir served a menu, but became famous for their “off menu” drinks, winning awards from Esquire and Entrée magazine Netherlands. At Stir, Eddy refined and developed his talent of creating personal drinks and it was here where he was first named: “Sir Eddy, Master of Tailor-made Drinks.”
Passionate about his profession and the urge to prove his daughters wrong, Eddy made a deep dive into the matter by participating in tastings, reading books, talking to other bartenders and specialists, and traveling around the world to visit the top 50 bars in the world.
Eddy always wanted to have his own bar and finally opened Bricks Hooch & Brew in The Hague, Netherlands with two other passionate bar tenders. The goal was to win awards within the next half year.
It was faster, after only 5 months, the hospitality industry’s top names started knocking on his door to congratulate him on his win. Esquire, followed By Entrée magazine, and more wanted to hand out awards and nominations for “top of the game, best cocktail bar and best new top 100 entrées of Europe.”
After the first phone call and his award win announcement, Eddy and his wife cried happy tears. Eddy felt he finally could prove his daughters wrong, even his teacher who once told him, “Keep on hanging around the bars, nothing will become of you.” Thankful for his wife, Sharon, who stood behind him always, because we all know success doesn’t come easy. As Eddy explains, “Let me put it this way, I have learned so much about how I don’t want to run a business.”
Life is a roller coaster and with a strong team and new goals set, covid 19 came and problems with the neighbors and lock-downs made him rethink the situation. He was looking for a new location when he came to Bonaire in October of 2020 to marry his wife, Sharon. They both felt it was time to move to Bonaire and start over again and the family of three moved to the island in November the same year.
Growing up on the island, Eddy knew exactly the concept of his new bar. The Tiki & Co team is well trained on the menu and it is pure entertainment to watch preparation and result. The preparation of classics will be done the right way, with the right ingredients and measures and the tailor-made cocktails are exciting. For the one who needs a bite, they offer a munchies menu with some finger food. To keep the standard, quality and atmosphere, the place will not be overcrowded. When it’s full, it’s full, but you can come another time or later. Tiki & Co is located down town opposite little Havana and previously known as the “Biker Bar”. The bar is open 6 days a week, from Tuesday through Sunday starting 5 pm.
Enjoy a new experience and a new drink. Eddy, who is a rum lover, made me curious to try a classic and his personal favorite, a Mai Thai, next time I visit. And you never need to ask “but why is the rum gone?” at Tiki & Co. You’ll see.