The soft open for tiki ohana was tonight and it is time to add Napa to your Northern California tiki tours because Wilfred’s Lounge is fan-tastic!
Decor? Amazing. A few special effects but mostly some classic Polynesian decor and nautical elements. Lots of details.
Music? Lovely retro music including a variety of styles. Totally on point.
Food? Ranged from good to amazing. Fairly priced considering the quality and quantity. The Salmon Rangoon was the highlight.
Cocktails?Doc Parks’ cocktails were amazing. The Mai Tai was very good and several others were even better. Great mugs and cocktail glasses.
Service? Even during a soft open the staff were totally on point, super friendly and very attentive. Table service was very pleasant and easy. The bar was a little tight with packed attendance but the bar staff were very responsive.
More about Wilfred’s in upcoming posts, but suffice to say that this new tiki bar in downtown Napa is a hit. Wilfred’s officially opens on Friday, November 12.
Finally cracked it. After numerous attempts at making the beloved Disco Banana at home, I finally made one that compares at least a tiny bit to the cocktail made fresh at Zombie Village or The Kon-Tiki Room.
I got a tip from the drink’s creator Jeanie Grant to freeze the crushed ice, and use more than you’d typically use due to the higher proof rum. And sure enough, the crushed ice that was left in the freezer was certainly dryer than ice directly from the ice crusher.
Disco Banana by Jeanie Grant ⅓ Banana ¾ oz Lime Juice ¾ oz Cinnamon Syrup ¼ oz Demerara Syrup ¼ oz Creme de Banana ¾ oz Unaged Agricole Rhum ¾ oz Unaged Jamaican Overproof Rum Blend with ice Garnish with grated cinnamon and a banana chip
The 25th tiki bar I’ve visited this year is the Kona Club in Oakland.
Good news: The Kona Club hasn’t changed. Bad news: The Kona Club hasn’t changed.
Which is to say that The Kona Club remains a curious example of Bay Area Tiki since it eschews the craft cocktail sensibilities of the most well-known tiki bars in the region. Kona Club’s interior decor is a gorgeous bamboo explosion and so nicely laid out (except for a few tiki tacky elements), including a large second room and a pool table room. The Hula Girl remains a central focus, though not animated while decked out for Halloween.
But Kona Club’s longstanding shortcomings remain present: rock music, pretty bad cocktails, and service that… isn’t awesome. My Mai Tai was only $10 (cheap!), but very forgettable.
They were training a new bartender and while she seemed earnest and attentive, the lead bartender was less so. I entered shortly after opening along with two other groups. As the first round was almost all delivered I asked the bartender a bar-related question and he gave me an answer that said “I don’t want to talk to you.” It was not busy (again, only three parties, most of which already had their drinks) so I don’t know why he was so short with me. Maybe because I wasn’t a regular. Maybe the Aloha shirt I was wearing branded me a snob. I mean, sorry for wearing an Aloha shirt in a tiki bar and taking an interest in your business.
There’s no reason a neighborhood / dive bar can’t adjust to be “more tiki” in this writer’s opinion (Bamboo Hut and Tiki Tom’s have transitioned to this approach in recent years). It takes less time to make a measured 1944 Mai Tai than the Mac Nut Chi-Chi the Kona Club is famous for. If the place was always busy I could maybe get behind “count pours” rather than measured pours, but as it stands I’m perplexed why there isn’t even an attempt to do better.
Doctor Colada and Doctor Mai Tai attended a Halloween party and brought “shots” to heal all the “sick” people in attendance. Some very, very sick people. Thankfully, the shots seemed to be well received with no ill-effects.
Here’s the single-serving version of the batch that was used for the shots.
Blue Mai Tai 1 oz Lime Juice ½ oz Orgeat (“heavy pour”) ½ oz Blue Curacao ½ oz Rum Fire – White Overproof Jamaican Rum 1 oz Probitas – Aged White Rum