Butterfly Tiki Bar
The Butterfly Tiki Bar in the mainland sim of Raiden (view on map | direct teleport) is another curiously engaging build that takes full advantage of Second Life's unique combination of references to and departures from the physical world to create both interesting architectural form and intriguing narrative subtext.
In somewhat typical Tiki Bar fashion the location occupies only 16 square meters of waterfront; however the compact floorplate multiplies over seven levels, each with its own functional contribution (i.e. dance floor, hot tub). Through these additional levels the build adds to the usual Polynesian experience by incorporating a wide swath of pan-Asian influences such as a Japanese Tea Room located just a few floors up from the bumpin' booty pad. The result is a slim, totemic (dare we say 'torch-like') piece of off-ramp ouevre that wouldn't be out of place in urban centres such as Macau, Manila, or Malé. In most of these cities the eccentricity of the build would actually be a form of utility, borne out of the need to make the most of what little land might be available.
In Second Life, however, it sits without any adjacent neighbours and yet nestles up close to a road bridge running across the waterway. The siting seems to justify and benefit from the verticality of the build, the seemingly intentional choice to address the roadway condition rather than just say, coping with it, makes the build all the more appropriate to the physical attributes of the location. At the same time it takes advantage of the lack of gravity (and the avian abilities of the avatar) to create an unstable, almost provisional quality that establishes a clear dialogue with the virtual.
This, combined with the unsavoury goings-on implied on some of the upper levels gives the build a whimsically gritty narrative tension that not only enhances the overall experience but sits in stark contrast to the idyllic setting and technical perfection of the Azure Islands Tiki Bar (view on map | direct teleport), for example, where the experience is overwhelmingly pleasant and stress-free, complete with crashing waves and screenings of the popular video podcast Tiki Bar TV.
Both destinations are worth a visit, IMHO, but if the two were pitted against each other in Mortal Kombat, well, you know. Raiden Wins.