Tiki Rock Bar couldn’t come to Boston at a more opportune time. What better elixir for the winter blues than the colorful, over-the-top fun of tiki cocktails? Officially open as of this week at 2 Broad Street in the Financial District, Tiki Rock Bar aims to carry on the tradition of the original tiki bars of the 1930s while utilizing the best aspects of current cocktail culture. Under the helm of Chris Straub, the restaurant will seat roughly 100 with a 32-stool bar. Tasteful island décor adorn the walls and the kitchen will serve up Polynesian-inspired food like sushi, crab Rangoon and barbecue skewers. Most importantly, you can expect an impressive selection of expertly balanced classic and proprietary tiki cocktails made with fresh juices, homemade syrups and eccentric garnishes.
Straub grew up in Wyndham, NH so this is a homecoming of sorts for him. For years, he worked for Hyatt Hotels, opening up higher-end properties in cities like New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago. While he enjoyed the work, he was ready to make a change. “I got tired of moving around and wanted to stay in one place for a while.”
As Straub tells it, the concept of the tiki bar is rooted in escapism. When the West Coast creation was initially conceived it provided “those who couldn’t afford to travel an opportunity to escape the trials of everyday life and do something exotic.”
“It’s our goal to have something that’s fun and a little outside the box,” he says. “It’s an ode to the old world of tiki while still doing something new. There are no rules when it comes to tiki. You can interpret it however you want.”
Sharing the space with Tiki Rock will be Oisa Ramen Slurp & Go. The popular ramen shop pop-up, from chef Moe Kuroki, finds its brick and mortar home as a restaurant within a restaurant. Aside from sharing real estate, the two are separate ventures, but we’d be remiss in not mentioning Tiki Rock’s exciting roommate.
Back at Tiki Rock, Straub isn’t working alone. By his side is bar manager Charles Smedile, (Waypoint, Uni) who also comes from the more regimented, fine dining background. “This is definitely a new direction for me,” Smedile says. “We’re trying to embrace that Hollywood era tiki culture. The style of cocktail is super fun. I don’t know how anyone couldn’t love a delicious tropical fruity cocktail.”
The cocktail list will feature your familiar tiki classics, like mai tais and zombies, but you’ll also see housemade creations like the “ScRumdiddlyRumptious” made with a house rum blend, mangosteen long pepper syrup, pineapple and lime. Furthermore, the bar will feature an extensive rum list showcasing the breadth and variety within the category.
“Rum has a lot of character,” Smedile says. “It has a wide range of terroir and a storied history. If you’re going to sit over something and contemplate it, what could possibly be better than rum?”
So whether you’re looking to geek out over hard-to-find rums or enjoy a large format drink with a couple of your closest friends, Tiki Rock Bar is going to have you covered. Flip-flops optional.
Visit Tiki Rock Bar at 2 Broad St, Boston, MA 02109, and find them online at www.tikirock.com.