Boston may not boast an abundance of Polynesian-themed tiki bars per se, but that hasn’t stopped local bartenders from channeling Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. At many places around town, enthusiasts can order up exotic and fruity drinks that pack a punch.
That’s right, you heard us: Tiki drinks are trending, from Mai Tais and Singapore Slings to modern versions you can sniff and kitschy ones served in Tom Selleck mugs. If you’ve got a taste for the South Pacific or just want to simulate a tropical getaway, we’ve got you covered, tiny umbrella and all.
Ming Tsai’s modern Asian-fusion hang out in the Seaport District slings a fresh rotation of tiki drinks to drive the curiosity of its patrons. Its Dragon Bowl is a passion fruit-laced version of a Scorpion Bowl, while the Kilted Hoale falls somewhere between a mai tai and a Jet Pilot blending smoky scotch and tropical fruit juice.
324 A St., Boston, 617.338.8585
Wink & Nod
There are always a few tiki drinks on the menu at this hip-posh modern speakeasy, but they’re so strong patrons are only allowed to order one each. The Maika'l Hoaloha, made with two different rums, orange and pineapple juices, coconut cream and angostura, is guaranteed to get you feeling friendly. On Mondays things change as the place sets up Tiki Night, a Polynesian Luau complete with tiki decorations, island inspired music, a pig roast, and Brugal rum tropical cocktails.
3 Appleton St., Boston, 617.482.0117
Mad scientist mixologist Todd Maul fits right in with the vibe of this chic, science-themed Kendall Square restau-lounge where centrifuges and other inventions are regularly used in the drink-making process. Broken into the three states of matter (liquid, solid and gas) the signature WhafTiki cocktail features pineapple ice cubes that cool a mixture of rums, burnt cinnamon and lime, that mingle with cachaça vapors imbibers are specifically meant to inhale. 650 East Kendall St., Cambridge, Massachusetts, 857.999.2193
At this large, luxe restaurant dressed in red decor, provocatively dressed bartenders serve a special tiki tasting menu that features six potent drinks. Order the Jade Punch—a favorite of the Four Seasons New York bar circa 1971—or the Zombie—made according to Don the Beachcomber’s original 1934 recipe—or, better yet, try Red Lantern's Tiki taster flight for which you get to select smaller versions of three. 39 Stanhope St., Boston, 617.262.3900
Fan Pier's new Greek restaurant gets in on the tiki trend, too, putting an Aegean spin on the tropics. In the festively presented Shark Bait, Metaxa mixes with cognac, orgeat, maraschino and lime juice. Pair it with Mediterranean small plates from tzatziki to bluefish plaki. 50 Northern Ave., Boston, 617.737.5051
Barbara Lynch's bar effort has become one of the city's go-to bars for expertly mixed, scratch constructed cocktails. The normally unadorned place hosts its longstanding and popular Tiki Sunday event on the second Sunday of every month, featuring tropical cocktails—some that are bigger than your face—and island-inspired snacks. Don't forget your Hawaiian shirt. 348 Congress St., Boston, 617.695.1806
Banyan Bar & Refuge
The South End recently welcomed this "modern Asian gastropub" into the legendary, longstanding Hamersley's place, and locals have been eagerly trying what the team behind The Gallows and Blackbird Doughnuts has to offer. To pair with housemade pork wontons and spicy beef tartare hand rolls, the bar pours a house tiki drink, aptly titled "Our Painkiller," straight from a tap. 553 Tremont St., Boston, 617.556.4211
Over at this edgy, modern Chinatown hangout, bar manager Marcus Yao uses Asian ingredients and garnishes to put an Asian spin on classic cocktails. One such drink, the Chairman's Painkiller, has been on the menu for three years—since the place opened. Believe us, the potion of El Dorado 8 rum, housemade coconut cream, fresh pineapple-rum-sugar syrup and fresh orange is potent enough to soothe any woe. 9A Tyler St., Boston, 617.423.7888