Another sensational tiki destination is within driving distance of the population centers of the Bay Area with the addition of Kapu Bar in Petaluma. The large main room includes several large booths and some tables, featuring cohesive Polynesian decor and numerous tikis. Seating there accommodated via reservations and the Big Trouble (think Big Trouble in Little China) room with pinball machines serves as an overflow area. The large U-shaped bar is available for walk-in seating and there’s plenty of elbow room. The Captain’s Quarters is available for special reservations and features a separate bar and some stools and chairs.
The interior of Kapu is a classic dark tiki bar and the menu is inspired by venues of the past. There’s a nice medium-sized menu of $16 tiki classics, plus a section of frozen concoctions. Food is Asian and Hawaiian inspired and though the portions are fairly small the quality is more than reasonable. Prices reflect the quality as well as the immersive nature of the venue. Music was a blend of Exotica, Surf, Jawaiian, Garage, and even some Punk. I enjoyed this eclectic blend, though the Clash was too mainstream for my taste.
Frankie’s Tiki Room alum Michael Richardson is the GM, and I would say that the cocktails are a big step up from that venue. The Mai Tai was pretty good, with some rich rums and a little bit of a heavier lean more in the Orange Curacao direction. I really enjoyed the Frozen Saturn, balanced well with tart Passionfruit. Mrs. Mai Tai really enjoyed the frozen Sesame Chi Chi, an interesting riff on the classic, and also enjoyed the Pearl Diver.
Talking to locals, the cocktail program seems to be settling in at a good place, though supply issues with specified spirts have made ongoing production a challenge. But for a new venue with staff new to the program, the issues have been minimal.
Kapu Bar is a compelling and exciting new destination for any tikiphile or newbies looking to see what the fuss is about. We found the staff to be super-friendly and extraordinarily prompt with service. We also got to see a preview of a forthcoming mug that will elevate the opportunity for those looking to take home a souvenir.