Wilfred’s Lounge in Napa Makes a Fine Little Saturday

Late summer seemed like a good time to venture up to Napa to check out the wine town including their very fine tiki bar and restaurant, Wilfred’s Lounge. They have a main entrance but the bar has open doors and you can order at the bar and drink there or take it upstairs to the deck or into the ship’s hull section.

Bar at Wilfed’s Lounge

We did a group dinner and given the size of the party we were seated on the patio. The restaurant isn’t large and so the patio is used as overflow and additional seating. While it’s not a dark immersive experience, there are worst places to hang out in the early evening given the cool breezes from the adjacent Napa River. And plenty of people watching.

The Hawaiian-inspired menu isn’t vast but we really liked the meal. I found my Kalua Pork to be just the right amount of greasy and and had a mild but very satisfying flavor. And we made sure to leave room for some ‘Ono Pie (don’t call it “Hula”) with coconut ice cream, macadamia nuts sprinkled on top with caramel, and cream. So good.

The cocktails remain on point. Their Mai Tai uses Jamaican and Martinique rums but these are not too challenging for the wine crowd and leaned a bit towards a lime cordial taste. The Doc’s Grog was quite fantastic. The strawberry cocktail called Maximum Aloha continues to impress, not sticky sweet like you’d expect but a tart leaning base to balance all the coconut banana whip on top. They have a very good rum collection and reasonable prices. As the menu says “call your spirit,” which I did (with please and thank you) for a Mai Tai with Denizen Vatted Rum.

Thanks to Doc Parks and the crew who did so well to service our group, even when it expanded mid-meal. Reservations are always helpful on a weekend, and Wilfred’s has a large collection of mugs and other merchandise for sale. I’m also a fan of the size/shape of their swizzle stick.

Wilfred’s Lounge Layout and Decor

There are several distinct sections within Wilfred’s Lounge, including a small dining room off to the left when you enter. There are a few 2 and 4 top tables, plus a couple larger tables with lounge seats and cushioned bench seating. Out back there’s an enclosed patio with a rail, perhaps for overflow or maybe just to offer a place to look at the lovely view of the Napa river. Outside there’s a covered patio for outdoor seating with several tables and also some rail space facing the river.

The bar is off to the right when you enter, with space for around 8 chairs and a couple small two-top tables. It’s a little tight if the crowd is heavy, though there’s a glass door that can be opened up to allow for more breathing room.

Wilfred’s has a second level, which is designed to look like a pirate’s quarters. There are a few places to sit in the lounge, which then leads out to the rooftop patio that overlooks the river. There are a few tables here, as well as ship’s wheel that could be popular for photos.

The decor is lighter and brighter downstairs and turns darker as you walk upstairs. Thunderstorms arrive every so often, and there’s a porthole screen with mermaids and a pirate skeleton. Outside two large tikis tell you that you’re in the right place. The decor is quite well done and includes plenty of nods to Komes family that owns the place.

Like any good tiki bar, there is merchandise for sale including mugs, Mai Tai glasses, and t-shirts.

When we visited, the music was a mix of Hawaiian-leaning tropical instrumentals and songs with mellow vocals. This set the perfect escapist mood, and I hope this musical trend continues.

The staff worked together quite well during our visit, coming back to refill water and take second round drink orders right on time. There was a mixup with one of our food orders but the staff totally rectified the situation right away without any complaint.

Wilfred’s Lounge is great and officially opens today. Make plans to visit downtown Napa soon.

Wilfred’s Lounge: Food and Drink

Wilfred’s Lounge is officially opening in Napa today, so this is an overview of the food and drink from our visit during the soft-open last week.

As a restaurant that is open for both lunch and dinner, Wilfred’s has a variety of appetizers and main courses, though not so much for vegans. We really enjoyed the Salmon Candy Rangoons, a very nice riff on the Crab Rangoon originally developed at Trader Vic’s. Such a nice chance of pace and just the right balance between the fish and the cheese. We also enjoyed the Coconut Shrimp. The Spam Sliders were a bit of a disappointment since the sauce was not particularly flavorful and so the sliders basically ended up as bread and Spam.

Salmon Candy Rangoon

For the main courses, these were well-received and fairly large. At our table, we tried the Pineapple Fried Rice, Sticky Ribs, and Chicken Katsu, each of which was quite good.

And the cocktails? With Doc Park (ex-Pagan Idol/Zombie Village) at the helm, you know this is a strength. The 1944 Mai Tai is very solid, featuring rums from Jamaica and Martinique. This Mai Tai leans lighter than I prefer, but is a good fit for Napa’s crowd of tiki newbies. I really liked Batten Down the Hatches, with an exotic rum blend, pineapple, fassionola, lime, absinthe, and Doc’s spic. Very boozy (“limit 2 per customer”) and a ton of flavor. 

Uma Ube and Mai Tai

Mrs. Mai Tai totally dug the Uma Ube with rum, cream of coconut, pineapple, and ube (and a name that’s a nod to a similar drink at Kon-Tiki). It’s a sweet and lovely coconut drink that comes in a really nice coconut mug and will be a big hit. Likewise, Maximum Aloha was the best surprise of the cocktails we sampled. Featuring strawberry-infused rum, lemon, cinnamon, prickly pear, overproof Jamaican rum and topped with a coconut banana whip. You’d think it would be sickly sweet, but it was much more tart than you’d expect, which means that paired with the whipped topping that you can easily adjust the sweetness. And this drink is super flavorful. 

So, the summary is to go for the drinks and stay for the food. 

Wilfred’s Lounge is great. Make plans to visit downtown Napa soon.

Wilfred’s Lounge

The soft open for tiki ohana was tonight and it is time to add Napa to your Northern California tiki tours because Wilfred’s Lounge is fan-tastic!

Uma Ube and 1944 Mai Tai

Decor? Amazing. A few special effects but mostly some classic Polynesian decor and nautical elements. Lots of details.

Music? Lovely retro music including a variety of styles. Totally on point.

Food? Ranged from good to amazing. Fairly priced considering the quality and quantity. The Salmon Rangoon was the highlight.

Cocktails? Doc Parks’ cocktails were amazing. The Mai Tai was very good and several others were even better. Great mugs and cocktail glasses.

Service? Even during a soft open the staff were totally on point, super friendly and very attentive. Table service was very pleasant and easy. The bar was a little tight with packed attendance but the bar staff were very responsive.

Soft Open Cocktail Menu

More about Wilfred’s in upcoming posts, but suffice to say that this new tiki bar in downtown Napa is a hit. Wilfred’s officially opens on Friday, November 12.