Forbidden Island

★★★★★
  • 1304 Lincoln Ave

    Alameda, CA 94501

    Cross street: at Sherman

    Map & Directions
  • 510-749-0332

About Forbidden Island

Hours
Tuesday to Thursday 5 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Closed Mondays

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment
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We usually want a more interesting menu to choose from so we go out of town, but on occasion we stop in. BTW The service is usually good and fast.

1
★★★☆☆

We usually want a more interesting menu to choose from so we go out of town, but on occasion we stop in. BTW The service is usually good and fast.

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This is the coolest Tiki Bar I've ever been to. I can always tell when the staff and owners really appreciate Tiki. The decor was done by the fabulous Bamboo Ben and total rocks, right down to the restrooms. The blender drinks flow at a furious pace. Last time I was there I sat right in front of the head bartender and she didn't rest the whole time. I especially recommend the Missionary's downfall. Don't forget their signature mug, which you can take home for a small fee.

5
★★★★★

This is the coolest Tiki Bar I've ever been to. I can always tell when the staff and owners really appreciate Tiki. The decor was done by the fabulous Bamboo Ben and total rocks, right down to the restrooms. The blender drinks flow at a furious pace. Last time I was there I sat right in front of the head bartender and she didn't rest the whole time. I especially recommend the Missionary's downfall. Don't forget their signature mug, which you can take home for a small fee.

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One of the best Tiki bars on the West Coast! If you are at all interested in tiki fashion or drinks, this is the place to go if you are north of San Diego. Beautiful decor, and a truly amazing menu of tiki drinks that are true to the genre, not too sweet, and many based on either classic or original recipes. It's a little hard to find, and can be quite crowded, but it's well worth the trip.

5
★★★★★

One of the best Tiki bars on the West Coast! If you are at all interested in tiki fashion or drinks, this is the place to go if you are north of San Diego. Beautiful decor, and a truly amazing menu of tiki drinks that are true to the genre, not too sweet, and many based on either classic or original recipes. It's a little hard to find, and can be quite crowded, but it's well worth the trip.

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Forbidden Island is an delicious escape from everything, I've been there several times in the past year and have never been disappointed. It's not just the drinks that are amazing, the entire atmosphere is great. I can't wait to get back there.

2
★★★★★

Forbidden Island is an delicious escape from everything, I've been there several times in the past year and have never been disappointed. It's not just the drinks that are amazing, the entire atmosphere is great. I can't wait to get back there.

Pros: Clean and relaxing, Parking lot in back and easy street parking.

Cons: The ATM machine has vanished.

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I like the place, I like the outdoor patio although I don' t understand why the servers cannot serve drinks there (because it is a parking?) but I have yet to receive good service there, especially when it gets near closing time. I am sorry but aren' t you working for tips? I enjoy drinking their China Clipper cocktail. They have a wide selection of rums including top shelf Venezuelan rums (and the rums are all located on the top shelf). On weekend nights, I have now noticed a roped entrance with the obligatory guard at the door. It means two things. The place is crowded and I am making a U turn to go somewhere else.

1
★★★☆☆

I like the place, I like the outdoor patio although I don' t understand why the servers cannot serve drinks there (because it is a parking?) but I have yet to receive good service there, especially when it gets near closing time. I am sorry but aren' t you working for tips? I enjoy drinking their China Clipper cocktail. They have a wide selection of rums including top shelf Venezuelan rums (and the rums are all located on the top shelf). On weekend nights, I have now noticed a roped entrance with the obligatory guard at the door. It means two things. The place is crowded and I am making a U turn to go somewhere else.

Pros: China Clipper

Cons: n/a

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This dive bar gone tiki is a great after work hangout. Drinks are generally strong and well made, however service is slow and some of the bartenders are superior to others. (The chicks seem to know what they're doing better than the men.) Don't bother with the food. Its over priced and is only edible after 2-3 of their Hurricanes or Royal Hawaiians. There is outdoor seating in back for the smokers, however the waitress is not allowed to serve out there.
Overall its a neat destination that creates conversation.

2
★★★★☆

This dive bar gone tiki is a great after work hangout. Drinks are generally strong and well made, however service is slow and some of the bartenders are superior to others. (The chicks seem to know what they're doing better than the men.) Don't bother with the food. Its over priced and is only edible after 2-3 of their Hurricanes or Royal Hawaiians. There is outdoor seating in back for the smokers, however the waitress is not allowed to serve out there.
Overall its a neat destination that creates conversation.

Pros: Umbrella drinks, atmosphere

Cons: Service, lighting

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Have frequented Forbidden Island since June. Great ambiance. Kinda reminds me of Trader Vics. And as traditional Tiki bars go, it's ambient lit. It's not supposed to be sunny -- it's like walking into the galley of a wrecked shipped in Polynesia. Every time I go in there I notice different details. There are two new bartenders, but theyre all consistently pleasant and mix darned good drinks: Sonya, Jennifer, Jim, and Ryan. Know them by name because they always greet customers and chat when it's not super busy. The drinks range from sour to sweet. Depends on what you want. Having tried most things on the menu, theyve all been good. A couple were not to my taste, but they seemed popular with others. Weekends are ok, but if you want to avoid the crowds, really experience the details, and get to know the bartenders (who will share with you the art of mixology) try going on a weeknight.

2
★★★★★

Have frequented Forbidden Island since June. Great ambiance. Kinda reminds me of Trader Vics. And as traditional Tiki bars go, it's ambient lit. It's not supposed to be sunny -- it's like walking into the galley of a wrecked shipped in Polynesia. Every time I go in there I notice different details. There are two new bartenders, but theyre all consistently pleasant and mix darned good drinks: Sonya, Jennifer, Jim, and Ryan. Know them by name because they always greet customers and chat when it's not super busy. The drinks range from sour to sweet. Depends on what you want. Having tried most things on the menu, theyve all been good. A couple were not to my taste, but they seemed popular with others. Weekends are ok, but if you want to avoid the crowds, really experience the details, and get to know the bartenders (who will share with you the art of mixology) try going on a weeknight.

Pros: Traditional tiki ambiance, strong service, high quality beverages.

Cons: Very busy on weekends, have to wait sometimes in line because of capacity limits. Wait's not too long though - hasn't been more than 15 minutes.

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I absolutely loathe this place. I started out really liking it, going there with my sister one Friday night. I had the pirate grog which was very good, albeit expensive, and my sister got something I can't recall the name of but the recipe needed work, it was sickly sweet.
The service was ok that time, we were helped by a woman I know who is actually pretty good. The men bartenders were terrible though. In a bar you want great service, affordable and stiff drinks and a great atmosphere. You also want to feel welcomed. The second time we tried to return we were treated very rudely. Not one to just give up my husband and I tried again last night to celebrate our 1 year anniversary and were turned away for a private rum event. They didn't even have a sign on the door, we walked in and were met with a lot of stares from the people at the event. My question about this is who closes their bar during happy hour for a private event? There may have been 10 people there tops. You do that during the day, not at 6:30 pm when people want a drink.
To sum it up, this place does not fit my bill for a good bar:

Service? TERRIBLE. The guys behind the bar don't make you feel like you are welcome or would want to return.
Drinks? Good, but way too expensive. I would much rather spend my money at La Pinata where they cost the same and you don't feel so unwelcome.
Ambience? They used an old familiar Alameda bar that is legendary for being really dark. When I think of a tiki bar, I think sunshine. Not a place so dark you can't even see the people you have come with.

I would not recommend it, unless you are into places that treat their customers rudely.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I absolutely loathe this place. I started out really liking it, going there with my sister one Friday night. I had the pirate grog which was very good, albeit expensive, and my sister got something I can't recall the name of but the recipe needed work, it was sickly sweet.
The service was ok that time, we were helped by a woman I know who is actually pretty good. The men bartenders were terrible though. In a bar you want great service, affordable and stiff drinks and a great atmosphere. You also want to feel welcomed. The second time we tried to return we were treated very rudely. Not one to just give up my husband and I tried again last night to celebrate our 1 year anniversary and were turned away for a private rum event. They didn't even have a sign on the door, we walked in and were met with a lot of stares from the people at the event. My question about this is who closes their bar during happy hour for a private event? There may have been 10 people there tops. You do that during the day, not at 6:30 pm when people want a drink.
To sum it up, this place does not fit my bill for a good bar:

Service? TERRIBLE. The guys behind the bar don't make you feel like you are welcome or would want to return.
Drinks? Good, but way too expensive. I would much rather spend my money at La Pinata where they cost the same and you don't feel so unwelcome.
Ambience? They used an old familiar Alameda bar that is legendary for being really dark. When I think of a tiki bar, I think sunshine. Not a place so dark you can't even see the people you have come with.

I would not recommend it, unless you are into places that treat their customers rudely.

Pros: Tasty drinks (some of them)

Cons: Bad service, unwelcome vibe, way too dark

.

So if you haven't heard yet the Forbidden Island in Alameda is happening! I was completely blown away by what was waiting for me inside. Tasty drinks mixed by a knowledgeable and skilled staff, exotic ambiance aplenty and a fantastttic selection of tunes on the jukebox. The Foridden Island sets the standard for what a tropical watering hole should look, sound and taste like. If you happen to find yourself anywhere in the vicinity of the San Francicso bay area you have got to stop in and experience the enchanted magic that Martiki, Conga Mike, his Brother Mano, Bamboo Ben and their family and friends have created.

2
★★★★★

So if you haven't heard yet the Forbidden Island in Alameda is happening! I was completely blown away by what was waiting for me inside. Tasty drinks mixed by a knowledgeable and skilled staff, exotic ambiance aplenty and a fantastttic selection of tunes on the jukebox. The Foridden Island sets the standard for what a tropical watering hole should look, sound and taste like. If you happen to find yourself anywhere in the vicinity of the San Francicso bay area you have got to stop in and experience the enchanted magic that Martiki, Conga Mike, his Brother Mano, Bamboo Ben and their family and friends have created.

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Forbidden Island deserves high marks on everything- excellent drinks, inviting atmosphere, great service After an evening here, you feel like youve been away on vacation! The decor is gorgeous and so thoughtful every seat in the house provides a unique experience, whether youre sitting at the bar watching the master bartenders, nestled in your own thatch hut, or lounging by the waterfall. The drink selection is amazing, and each drink looks as good as it tastes. My favorites so far: the coconut kallaloo and the combover (for sipping while you munch tasty treats from the kitchen) and the Chamborlada and Banana Mamacow are not to be missed if youre in the mood for something decadent and dessert-y. On a scale of 1-10, this one goes to 11!

2
★★★★★

Forbidden Island deserves high marks on everything- excellent drinks, inviting atmosphere, great service After an evening here, you feel like youve been away on vacation! The decor is gorgeous and so thoughtful every seat in the house provides a unique experience, whether youre sitting at the bar watching the master bartenders, nestled in your own thatch hut, or lounging by the waterfall. The drink selection is amazing, and each drink looks as good as it tastes. My favorites so far: the coconut kallaloo and the combover (for sipping while you munch tasty treats from the kitchen) and the Chamborlada and Banana Mamacow are not to be missed if youre in the mood for something decadent and dessert-y. On a scale of 1-10, this one goes to 11!

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In a word, Forbidden Islands was absolutely FANTASTIC! It is on a quiet residential block, but inside it is full of energy and fun! The music (not live) was upbeat and fun. The drinks were some of the best drinks I have ever had. They have "bowl" drinks for up to four people. Sooooo GOOD! All of the bartenders were very attentive and really nice, even after you get a little tipsy. If you want to have a great time, this is definitely the place to go! Good mix of older and younger clientele.

2
★★★★★

In a word, Forbidden Islands was absolutely FANTASTIC! It is on a quiet residential block, but inside it is full of energy and fun! The music (not live) was upbeat and fun. The drinks were some of the best drinks I have ever had. They have "bowl" drinks for up to four people. Sooooo GOOD! All of the bartenders were very attentive and really nice, even after you get a little tipsy. If you want to have a great time, this is definitely the place to go! Good mix of older and younger clientele.

Pros: GREAT Drinks, Great Service

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A new tiki bar staffed with 3 employees from a world famous tiki restaurant/bar trained in the art of making a cocktail?!!? Sounds like a good start to me. Walking into the bar, one notices a few tikis and it doesn't stop there. More tikis and great decor all inside the bar. Smelling the food(bar snacks) being served made me want to try some-so far so good. Food is nothing fancy, just fried fun good to help offset a few of their cocktails. The cocktails might seem a bit pricey to the newcomer, but they are actually a good deal because they are STRONG!!! I have trouble trying to finish more than two.

2
★★★★★

A new tiki bar staffed with 3 employees from a world famous tiki restaurant/bar trained in the art of making a cocktail?!!? Sounds like a good start to me. Walking into the bar, one notices a few tikis and it doesn't stop there. More tikis and great decor all inside the bar. Smelling the food(bar snacks) being served made me want to try some-so far so good. Food is nothing fancy, just fried fun good to help offset a few of their cocktails. The cocktails might seem a bit pricey to the newcomer, but they are actually a good deal because they are STRONG!!! I have trouble trying to finish more than two.

Pros: drinks, decor, easy parking

Cons: don't speed!25 mph al

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Forbidden Island is exactly what it attempts to be, a well-done Tiki Lounge established for the appreciation of fine tropical cocktails and good company. The mood is right, the decor expertly done. Some great music on the juke. There are enough finely-crafted cocktails to satisfy even the most discriminating tastes. One can search high and low, visiting much larger and more well-known establishments and still not be served a better cocktail than Forbidden Island's offerings. Drink prices are in-line with the costs of tropical cocktails at this level. Given the quality of the product, a person will easily get their money's worth. You will enjoy a visit to Forbidden Island!

2
★★★★★

Forbidden Island is exactly what it attempts to be, a well-done Tiki Lounge established for the appreciation of fine tropical cocktails and good company. The mood is right, the decor expertly done. Some great music on the juke. There are enough finely-crafted cocktails to satisfy even the most discriminating tastes. One can search high and low, visiting much larger and more well-known establishments and still not be served a better cocktail than Forbidden Island's offerings. Drink prices are in-line with the costs of tropical cocktails at this level. Given the quality of the product, a person will easily get their money's worth. You will enjoy a visit to Forbidden Island!

Pros: Excellent Drinks, Friendly Staff, Great Decor

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What a wonderful place to open in the Bay Area! Bringing back the yesteryears of tiki and poly pop. Once you enter the front door, you are transported back to that small island you dreamt about for years. Rums of all kinds line the back shelf... a drink menu of 40 or more tropical drinks of all flavors and strengths... and those coconut prawns! I wished I lived closer, but well worth the drive from the wine country. Friendly and smokefree!!! A perfect escape.

2
★★★★★

What a wonderful place to open in the Bay Area! Bringing back the yesteryears of tiki and poly pop. Once you enter the front door, you are transported back to that small island you dreamt about for years. Rums of all kinds line the back shelf... a drink menu of 40 or more tropical drinks of all flavors and strengths... and those coconut prawns! I wished I lived closer, but well worth the drive from the wine country. Friendly and smokefree!!! A perfect escape.

Pros: many drink choices, fantastic atmosphere, friendly

Cons: street parking

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This new tiki bar on the island of Alameda is the perfect recreation of a tiki bar from the 1960s. There is a long bar covered with a bamboo-framed thatched roof and some cozy booths made from bamboo with thatched hut roofs. The walls and ceiling are made of dark weathered wood interspersed with tropical matting, tapa cloth, and bamboo, giving it a shipwreck feel, and there are numerous hanging lamps and other flotsam suspended from the ceiling.

The drink menu is loaded with tropical drinks, all handmade with the finest liquor, fresh juices, and with full garnishes. All the drinks I have tried were excellent, and reasonably priced, considering their ingredients and strength. An assortment of fried pupus are available.

The service is top notch, from the bartenders wearing custom shirts to the cocktail waitress dressed in vintage aloha wear.

2
★★★★★

This new tiki bar on the island of Alameda is the perfect recreation of a tiki bar from the 1960s. There is a long bar covered with a bamboo-framed thatched roof and some cozy booths made from bamboo with thatched hut roofs. The walls and ceiling are made of dark weathered wood interspersed with tropical matting, tapa cloth, and bamboo, giving it a shipwreck feel, and there are numerous hanging lamps and other flotsam suspended from the ceiling.

The drink menu is loaded with tropical drinks, all handmade with the finest liquor, fresh juices, and with full garnishes. All the drinks I have tried were excellent, and reasonably priced, considering their ingredients and strength. An assortment of fried pupus are available.

The service is top notch, from the bartenders wearing custom shirts to the cocktail waitress dressed in vintage aloha wear.

Pros: cocktails, decor, atmosphere

.

Forbidden Island is a gem of a place. I'm a huge fan of tiki bars, and I've travelled far and wide to visit as many as I can -- I would be thrilled to discover this place if it were on the other side of the country; I'm pinching myself that it's actually within driving distance. The owners of this bar have paid attention to every detail, and it shows. The drinks are the best-constructed and most delicious you will find in the Bay Area, and the decor is jaw-dropping, yet cozy. The patrons are friendly, the music in the jukebox is appropriate and not too loud, and the place feels like it's been around forever.

2
★★★★★

Forbidden Island is a gem of a place. I'm a huge fan of tiki bars, and I've travelled far and wide to visit as many as I can -- I would be thrilled to discover this place if it were on the other side of the country; I'm pinching myself that it's actually within driving distance. The owners of this bar have paid attention to every detail, and it shows. The drinks are the best-constructed and most delicious you will find in the Bay Area, and the decor is jaw-dropping, yet cozy. The patrons are friendly, the music in the jukebox is appropriate and not too loud, and the place feels like it's been around forever.

Pros: delicious drinks, amazing atmosphere, friendly people

Cons: wish I lived closer

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Follow up reveiw:
I haven't been to Forbidden Island in a while (bogged down with work and life) but went by with some friends last weekend. What can I say? I realised how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this bar.
The drinks have gotten better -if that's even possible. They now have drink specials created by the staff members (including the gorgeous cocktail waitress), as if their menu of 30 or so cocktails wasn't enough!!
I just cannot believe this bar is in Alameda. I can't think of a sinlge bar in the City (and I include NYC here too) that creates such incredible concoctions. The manager explained to me how they juice citrus daily and use nothing but Premium rums - whatever it is they do, it works!!
The jukebox is top notch too, by the way( no Top 40 or Steely Dan) It truly feels like you've stepped back in time.
If you haven't experienced Forbidden Island yet, get yourself over there!!

Wow..what a find. I went by with some friends this weekend and was blown away by what I saw. Wonderful decor and a fun time overall. The drinks in particular, were outstanding. We tried a bunch from their specialty menu - My favorite is the China Clipper and Sidewinder's Fang. The bartenders were really professional too. I liked it so much, I bought a T shirt!! I now have two favorite Tiki bars in the East Bay - Conga Lounge and Forbidden Island.

2
★★★★★

Follow up reveiw:
I haven't been to Forbidden Island in a while (bogged down with work and life) but went by with some friends last weekend. What can I say? I realised how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this bar.
The drinks have gotten better -if that's even possible. They now have drink specials created by the staff members (including the gorgeous cocktail waitress), as if their menu of 30 or so cocktails wasn't enough!!
I just cannot believe this bar is in Alameda. I can't think of a sinlge bar in the City (and I include NYC here too) that creates such incredible concoctions. The manager explained to me how they juice citrus daily and use nothing but Premium rums - whatever it is they do, it works!!
The jukebox is top notch too, by the way( no Top 40 or Steely Dan) It truly feels like you've stepped back in time.
If you haven't experienced Forbidden Island yet, get yourself over there!!

Wow..what a find. I went by with some friends this weekend and was blown away by what I saw. Wonderful decor and a fun time overall. The drinks in particular, were outstanding. We tried a bunch from their specialty menu - My favorite is the China Clipper and Sidewinder's Fang. The bartenders were really professional too. I liked it so much, I bought a T shirt!! I now have two favorite Tiki bars in the East Bay - Conga Lounge and Forbidden Island.

Pros: drinks, decor, parking

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Had a great time there this past weekend. And the weekend before that. Forbidden Island rivals Traders Vic's in terms of ambiance, but it's much friendlier and more relaxed. It's literally like walking into a pirates ship on a Polynesian Island. They hit the mark in creating an authentic retro lounge. The drinks are tasty...and lots to choose from! Their drink menu had at least 40 tropical drinks. The decor is all about details. We sat in our own little thatched roof hut near the waterfall. Very cool place. I'll be hanging out at Forbidden Island often.

2
★★★★★

Had a great time there this past weekend. And the weekend before that. Forbidden Island rivals Traders Vic's in terms of ambiance, but it's much friendlier and more relaxed. It's literally like walking into a pirates ship on a Polynesian Island. They hit the mark in creating an authentic retro lounge. The drinks are tasty...and lots to choose from! Their drink menu had at least 40 tropical drinks. The decor is all about details. We sat in our own little thatched roof hut near the waterfall. Very cool place. I'll be hanging out at Forbidden Island often.

 

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