Some additional shots of the newly soft-opened tiki bar in downtown Oakland, next door to Palmetto. The Kon-Tiki Room is a very nice space with plenty of room. You can see the nautical elements from artist Woody Miller, and the displays with nods to tiki bars past and present.
Congrats to the team for building a great space that is great out of the gate. This will evolve of course but has a strong foundation with some great cocktails, impressive decor, and bar bites paired with interesting sauces. Totally worth checking out (one block from 19th Street BART station), and sure to be a popular destination when the Fox Theater opens again across the street.
Noteworthy: The Kon-Tiki Room’s music included exotica when we entered, but transitioned to Yacht Rock. We think this retro-genre works in a tiki bar (famously employed at the sister location The Kon-Tiki), but we know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I personally like that these guys do things a little different and are introducing some variety to the Bay Area’s plethora of tiki bar offerings.
Next door to Palmetto and from the same team behind The Kon-Tiki and Palmetto is The Kon-Tiki Room. The soft-open was last night and once again those of us in the Bay Area are spoiled by yet another awesome tiki bar.
Though it shares a kitchen with Palmetto and there is a door in between the two establishments, The Kon-Tiki Room is really it’s own standalone destination. The nondescript door awaits your entrance and inside there’s a nautical themed bar with bright colors to pair well with Palmetto’s art-deco vibe. But whereas Palmetto is bright and shiny, The Kon-Tiki Room is dark and mysterious. There are several little nooks and a large bar running through the space.
The nautical design from artist Woody Miller is inspired by ports of yore, with dramatic scenes of barrels, cargo, and some skeletons. Not really “pirate themed” per se but definitely a little bit of that. There’s a medium sized tiki in the bar of the bar.
Small bar bites are available but cocktails are the focus here. We tried several and they ranged from good (Singapore Sling) to great (frozen Disco Banana, Cou-Cou Comber). The Mai Tai features Agricole rhum and is excellent. Not grassy at all, but the savory elements shine in this cocktail.
My favorite photo of Alex, when we visited Whitechapel in October 2019. Look at him checking out the bar, trying to experience the bar and the way it operated. He was always looking to learn something new and take something home.
Some new recipes were added to the Total Tiki app for iOS, an indispensable resource for cocktail recipes based on the books of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Hundreds of vintage recipes from the likes of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s, but also newer recipes from The Bum himself and others.
The best part of the app is the integration with an inventory system. You tell the app what spirits, syrups, juices, and other ingredients that you have, and then the app will show you which recipes that you can make. It’s a great way to get started with cocktails at home, since you can make a lot of drinks just with a few ingredients and then slowly add new things over time.
Threw some of this and that from what was on-hand at home for this Blue Hawaiian riff with different kinds of rum than the light rum or vodka that is typically used. The Martinique rhum adds an unexpected finish that is delightful.
Blue Caribbean ½ oz Lime Juice 3 oz Pineapple Juice 1½ oz Coconut Creme ½ oz Blue Curacao 1¾ oz Clement Premiere Canne (or other unaged Rhum Agricole or Rum Clairin) ¼ oz Dark Jamaican rum blend (Appleton and Hamilton)
The Kon-Tikihas transitioned back to making freshly prepared cocktails and the crew last night were working like a well-oiled machine. I had a fab Daiquiri with Worthy Park rum and Mrs. Mai Tai had her go-to Uma Uma.
We got a little preview of the revised cocktail menu, coming soon. Chris Day’s excellent Donnie’s Element is available now (in non-frozen form) and we got to try this most excellent Blush Crush. This dainty cocktail has Rhum Agricole and Campari, two ingredients that are not usually in my wheelhouse. But there is something magical about the one – it is delicious.
It is so strange being inside the bar after so long, but also nice to see Kon-Tiki coming out of lockdown/to-go cocktail mode and thriving.