Fifteen minutes to the north is The Grass Skirt, a Pacific Beach spot that opened 2016 from the SDCM Family. The front is a take-out poke shop called Good Time Poke, through which guests must walk to access the faux-refrigerator door leading to The Grass Skirt’s main dining room, complete with a wonderland of giant Tiki men, tropical murals, neon lights, bamboo, and fibre-optics.
SDCM’s beverage director, Steven Tuttle, thinks Tiki is exploding for simple reasons. “A lot of bartenders on the East Coast in the early 2000s brought back classic cocktails that faded out since prohibition. They got better ingredients, thought about balanced drinks and revived old recipes -- many of which they retooled.” He explains that cities like New York and Chicago have more runway to try new concepts, as they have larger populations who are always open to the next big thing. “It was only logical for Tiki to be the next thing to come through. It’s also more fun -- the cocktail movement can be snotty and serious. We’re just trying to have fun with good product: rare rums, artisanal syrups, fresh juices. A favorite drink is the Lava and Ice, which mixes serrano tequila, Jamaica Navy-strength rum, lime, pineapple, coconut, and pomegranate. It’s garnished with a lime, filled with strong rum, which is then lit on fire to the customer’s delight.