During the Tiki in Waikiki weekend we visited Skull & Crown Trading Co. a couple times, including one visit with the standard service and one that was connected to the event’s Sunday luau featuring food stations and multiple cocktail bars.
We enjoy our visits and the excellent cocktails at Skull & Crown. The numerous historical items including several vintage tikis means this feels like a business that’s been in Honolulu’s Chinatown for a hundred years and somehow survived. We didn’t love the Moose and Deer head mounts since they didn’t really fit the theme, though we were told they would be going away. Service is always a strength here, and was again for us on both visits.
Our first visit this trip took place the night when we arrived and we were feeling the jetlag by the evening (or perhaps the day’s earlier cocktails). I ordered the Maunakea Mai Tai which is Skull & Crown’s traditional 1944-style Mai Tai, but the flavors weren’t as bold and complex as I remembered. This was the same reaction I had for a couple Mai Tais the earlier that day and the day after, so it might have just me that day. I normally find this Mai Tai with Appleton Estate 12, Clement Select Barrel, and Smith & Cross to be fantastic.
A couple nights later I tried the Firecracker, made with Tanduay Especia Spiced Rum, Select Aperitif, Fresh Tangerine, Peach, Li Hing, Chili Pepper Tincture, Lemon, and Orgeat. I asked for the chili pepper to be dialed down since I am sensitive and it tasted just fine for me. I liked this cocktail. The Poe Poe we tried at the luau event featured Kō Hana Kea, Ube Syrup, Coconut, and Lemon. This pretty purple cocktail was not as heavy as something like Pina Colada or Painkiller, which might be a plus or minus depending on the customer. I thought it was pretty good.
Skull & Crown is a gem of a cocktail bar and is a must-visit for any tikiphile or craft cocktail aficionado.