New York City has a notorious reputation for not being able to support true tiki bars, but there is hope that Brooklyn’s Sunken Harbor Club can combine most of the elements we seek at tiki bars while forging a distinct and slightly different path.
Located above restaurant Gage and Tollner, Sunken Harbor Club doesn’t have any totems but is otherwise everything you’d want in a tiki bar. It’s an intimate and immersive experience featuring nautical decor, exotica/surf/lounge music, and cocktails from the tiki tradition. Along with an innovative approach to the extensive cocktail list, small bites are also available. We loved the Miso Butterscotch Pudding with toasted coconut.
Aside from the fantastic Mai Tai we highlighted a few days ago, we were impressed by the cocktails. Thanks to Garret Richard and team, the cocktails use high quality ingredients and modern techniques to deliver superb cocktails. I really dug the Special Daiquiri No. 1 featuring Jamaican rum, passion fruit, honey, and falernum. Meanwhile Mrs. Mai Tai had the Yellow Tang with vodka, banana, pineapple, and passion fruit. This was from the “In the Shallows” section of the menu that features lighter cocktails, but was a little too light for what she wanted. She had better luck with the Ango Colada and the Bridge of Sighs, a complex blend of aperitivo, coffee, ginger, and rum.
The experience at Sunken Harbor Club was exquisite. Our bartender Dan Olivo was super friendly and engaging and watching him prepare the cocktails was like watching a mad scientist working with precision to prepare the cocktail and the garnishes. Dan also led the fire displays when customers ordered flaming cocktails such as off-menu Jet Pilots. Those are always a big hit with audiences and all the staff including Clayton (on shift this evening) and Garret and Adam truly have hospitality in mind when promoting the venue.
If you like tiki bars you’ll probably be having too much fun to notice totems aren’t there. It was very easy for us to take the Subway from Midtown to the Jay St./Metrotech station right across the street, so any tourist in the city should prioritize a visit.