The Golden Tiki, Las Vegas’ world-famous premier tiki bar, celebrated Don The Beachcomber’s birthday last night with drink specials, guest bartenders, a special performance by house band The Sharps, and the unveiling of Lonnie Hammargren’s shrunken head.
To kick off the festivities, former Lt. Gov. of Nevada, retired neurosurgeon and collector of unusual Vegas artifacts Lonnie Hammargren was honored with his own shrunken head. Tony Felicetta of The Sharps was on hand to present the latest addition to the bar’s growing collection of famous heads. Prior to the unveiling, Hammargren and his family were emotionally moved as Felicetta paid tribute to the Las Vegas legend by sharing various personal and professional highlights and accolades.
“I just thought we were going out for a drink,” Hammargren told his emotional family, friends and fans who gathered in his honor. “It was a total surprise to be included in the shrunken head collection, and it means the world to me.”
Hammargren’s shrunken likeness was created exclusively for The Golden Tiki’s cabinet of curiosities by Smithsonian artist Terry Barr. The head was sculpted over the course of four weeks, referencing photos of Hammargren to ensure physical accuracies. It’s the eleventh in a series of celebrity shrunken heads on display at Vegas’ iconic Tiki revival bar. Previous shrunken heads include Marky Ramone of The Ramones, Carrot Top, Frank Marino, Robin Leach, Norm Clarke, Claire Sinclair, magician Murray Sawchuck, Vinnie Paul of Pantera, Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie, and Monti Rock III.
Throughout the night, local guest bartenders served up their twists on Donn Beach classic cocktails in honor of the founder of tiki cocktail culture. Participating bartenders included Anthony Demaria from Campari who served the “Bungle in the Jungle;” Wendy Hodges from Fusion Bar who served the “Pearl Diver;” Adam Rains from Flock & Fowl who served the “Navy Grog;” and Jessica Lee Westergom from The Black Sheep who served the “Zombie.”
“Donn Beach is responsible for tiki bars and tiki culture,” said Branden Powers, The Golden Tiki’s managing partner. “Tonight we pay tribute to a man who continues to inspire us. Cheers to his legacy!”