Orinda’s Boo Loo Lounge Has Expanded Hours

Just in time for spring, Orinda’s small tiki bar Boo Loo Lounge now has expanded hours, offering guests an opportunity to enjoy the fresh air on their patio. As with the main bar, this patio is small but does provide additional seating, a small water feature, and the same exotic music track that plays inside. Totally chill. The venue now opens at 2 pm.

The drink pictured was a non-alcoholic cocktail with lime, prickly pear syrup, and ginger beer. It was quite refreshing out on the patio, my first time being able to try the outdoor seating since most previous visits coincided with rain. The patio is shaded during the day and does have heat lamps for use in the evening. Check it out.

Orinda’s Boo Loo Lounge Now Serving Bar Bites

Had a great time in downtown Orinda to revisit the Boo Loo Lounge for the first time in a couple months. The strong bar program is still going strong with a menu of a dozen or so cocktails. This little bar next to the Orinda Theater is now serving a selection of fryer style bar bites, similar to Forbidden Island in Alameda. Don’t expect these to be gourmet but may hit the spot if you’re trying to stay in the venue longer. There are several nearby restaurants if like us you want to work off your buzz with a full service dining option.

Coconut Shrimp with Mai Tai in mug brought by the author

The Mai Tai’s orange liqueur has been switched to the Hamilton Petite Canne Shrubb, a Rhum Agricole-based liqueur. Along with a rum base that includes Rhum Agricole I found this to lean too far in the grassy flavor profile. Regular readers may remember that Smuggler’s Cove briefly used this liqueur in their Mai Tais, with similar not great results. Feedback was provided, with DeKuyper suggested as an alternative in a similar cost range.

Thankfully, the Hurricane I had was truly fantastic, a wild blend of Fassionola, juices, and rum. This cocktail met the high expectations I’ve grown accustomed to at the Boo Loo Lounge. Similarly, Mrs. Mai Tai’s Lady of Singapore and Saturn were excellent.


The crowd was having a great time, as we were with our friends. Boo Loo Lounge is so small they’ll really benefit from sunny skies and the use of their patio seating out front. By layering on bar bites onto the small venue with modest staffing, I wonder if they’re biting off more than they can chew but there’s nothing wrong with trying something to see how it goes. I hear there are plans for something else new to whet the appetite of guests, coming soon – so stay tuned.

Mai Tai Presentation for Three Rum Club

Had a great time yesterday for a private seminar for the Three Rum Club, a group of home tiki bar bar owners who are affiliated with Tiki Tom’s in Walnut Creek. The Three Rum Club crowd was a great audience, asked good questions, and even laughed at the punchlines.

The presentation was Appreciating Rum Through the Lens of the Mai Tai, a rum-focused seminar on how the rums in the Mai Tai changed over the years. We covered the different rum styles used by Trader Vic’s over the years, when Rhum Agricole was first used, and how rum blends have been a key component in a Mai Tai for decades.

The welcome cocktail was a special Three Rum Mai Tai that I put together and got to prepare behind the bar at Tiki Tom’s. The three rums included 1 oz of Worthy Park Estate 12 yr and ½ oz each of Worthy Park 109 and Kuleana Hawaiian Rum Agricole. The bold Jamaica rums combined well with the Hawaiian rum that imparts vegetal notes and was really delicious. We have to thank Darrin, Steffani, and the entire team at Tiki Tom’s for their assistance and always appreciated hospitality.

Thanks to Sherri for the logistical help and for the photos.

Tiki Tom’s Cocktail Deep Dive

We had a pre-dinner visit to Tiki Tom’s on Wednesday. We were surprised it wasn’t overflowing busy like it always seems to be but was quite mellow and about halfway full during the 5:00 hour when we rolled in. We ordered some coconut shrimp and enjoyed fast service and knowledgeable suggestions from the bartender.

You can’t always have the Ultimate Mai Tai at Tiki Tom’s (well, you could, but..) so I went deeper into the menu and had a Captain Cleo from the Beachbum Berry section. This is a Rum Runner variant that’s shaken rather than blended and leans more into the blackberry than banana, a good choice in my view. Rather delicious.

Meanwhile they were out of Mrs. Mai Tai’s favorite, the Ohana Punch, so she went for the Banana Hammock with light rum, banana liqueur, falernum, and juices. Definitely a lighter style drink that’s pretty good with only subtle banana notes.

I finished with a Tropical Itch, Harry Yee’s all-time classic dating back to the Hawaiian Village in the 1950s. This version was pretty good and even comes with a backscratcher with the Tiki Tom’s logo!

On the way home around 9:30 it was totally packed at Tiki Tom’s, just like we usually experience. Seemed like the place to be in Walnut Creek on Thanksgiving Eve.

Orinda’s Boo Loo Lounge is the Newest Bay Area Tiki Bar

The Bay Area just lost the Kon-Tiki Room in Oakland, but there’s a new spot in nearby Orinda that may scratch the itch for those looking for a neighborhood tiki bar. The Boo Loo Lounge has soft opened, connected to the Orinda Theater and just a four minute walk from the BART station. The venue is small; there’s room for just over 20 inside with additional seating on the patio. Look for a grand opening soon.

Ruby Daiquiri with a friend

The dark and windowless venue features decor with heavy nods from Creature of the Black Lagoon and nautical/pirates but has a few tikis and some cheeky and fun signage. The drink menu features classics like the Saturn and Mai Tai, with the Boo Loo for Two being the namesake cocktail that’s served in a pineapple! There’s even a small but well-curated rum collection. The space is cozy and fun with a few bar stools, a half booth, and loungy tables.

Boo Loo’s GM is Maxton Kennedy (Tiki Tolteca, Kon-Tiki, Forbidden Island), who you might also find behind the bar. Off menu orders will probably vary depending on the bartender but the quality was there when Maxton filled an order for a Jungle Bird and a called rum Mai Tai that was incredible.

The venue’s small size and single serving well presents challenges when larger groups arrive at the same time. In our two visits we’ve seen a lot of ebb and flow with the crowds and backups on drink orders, but patience is rewarded with high quality cocktails. The Ruby Daiquiri with Port wine is a nice twist, the Mai Tai is legit good, and the fantastic Saturn is sure to be a huge hit especially for tiki newbies who’ll be shocked a gin cocktail can be that good.

Boo Loo Lounge is off to a promising start. Check them out Thu-Sun in downtown Orinda.

Walnut Creek Yacht Club Mai Tai

After some cocktails and apps at Tiki Tom’s we walked over to Walnut Creek Yacht Club for dinner. For those who are unfamiliar, Walnut Creek is a land-locked city in Contra Costa County in the East Bay Area. So, the “Yacht Club” is a theme or maybe an ironic name, not an actual place to dock your yacht.

We enjoyed our dinner and I had an incredible Lobster Roll. Our service was very prompt and friendly, and this place is so popular that reservations are recommended. Prices are a little high, commiserate with quality.

The WCYC has a nice cocktail menu including a 1944 style Mai Tai. The Mai Tai includes Cruzan Spiced Rum, Appleton Reserve Rum, Orgeat, Ferrand Dry Curacao, and Lime Juice, along with a float of Coruba Dark Rum in the spent lime shell. Far better than the average suburban restaurant, and far better than we’ve had at a lot of places (even if it doesn’t compare to the Ultimate Mai Tai over at Tiki Tom’s). They also serve a Mary Pickford that we thought was pretty good as well.

Lobster Roll

Tiki Tom’s Pre-Dinner Apps and Cocktails

Had a great time over at Tiki Tom’s for some pre-dinner cocktails and appetizers on Saturday. They only serve you in the bar if you’re just having drinks, so we ordered some appetizers to justify a table seating.

Drinks were well done, consistent with our recent visits. I made sure to check on the quality control of the Ultimate Mai Tai and can confirm they’re still making this very well (not sure about the offer of a rum float, though…). And our two guests thought their Ultimate Mai Tais were really great.

Mrs. Mai Tai ordered her favorite, the Ohana Punch, still really great featuring green apple and walnut. She also had the Pineapple Whip with dark rum – so wonderful when you mix the rum in with the dairy desert.

Our friends went with a couple Tiki Tom’s favorites, the Blowfish Intoxica and the Song of the Siren. Two very good options for those who haven’t been to Tiki Tom’s before. They really enjoyed Tiki Tom’s amazing decor.

We enjoyed the apps, including the Tiki Spamsubi and Prawn Skewers, and our service was super prompt and friendly. As is common on our last few visits, the waitress did a good job making sure that orders with specific ingredients would be okay for the guests. Tiki Tom’s doesn’t take reservations on Fri/Sat and there were plenty of people there but the tables turned over quick enough that no guests seemed to need to wait long.