RIP Tiki Hideaway. Here’s why you were important to our city

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Tiki Hideaway has officially closed. I sent Mike (the proprietor) an email asking him to confirm and he responded “Put a fork in me, bud.”

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Whether we want to admit it or not, Charlotte is a mostly calculated city. It’s been led by business leaders using smart judgement and MBA-style thinking. I’m thankful for their leadership and it’s given our city the opportunity to be great. The foundation is laid.

But, MBA-style thinking isn’t what takes a city from good to great. Psychos do.

What’s a psycho? People so freaking obsessed with something that it’s illogical. Bob Peters is a psycho about cocktails. Brad Panovich is a psycho about communicating weather. Matt Hooker is psycho about putting art all over the city.

Psychos do stuff because they can’t not do it, not because it’s the rational thing to do.

Psychos drive cities forward. Charlotte needs more of them.

That’s why I love Mike. That’s why I loved The Tiki Hideaway.

Mike couldn’t not open a tiki bar. You see, he’s obsessed with tiki culture and the community it creates. Unprompted, he once chatted my ear off about the history of tiki bars in America for 12 minutes. Then he told me about how he sources his rum for another eight minutes. Yes, I ordered a second Mai Tai.

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Tiki Hideaway failed to be a business success, but this doesn’t mean that Mike failed to make an impact on the city of Charlotte. He gave customers a truly unique experience and he did it his way.

Critic: Why did this guy choose a location that’s underneath a Jason’s Deli and next to a Ben & Jerry’s in a strip mall?

Critic: Why did this guy use premium liquors instead of keeping the price points on cocktails under $9?

Critic: Why did this guy spend so much money on up-fitting the inside of the bar to create the atmosphere?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Cheers to you Mike, and long live the vibe created by the Tiki Hideaway.

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Ted Williams
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Publisher, golfer, dad and magician (seriously).