It’s amazing how authenticity can make a liquor drink much tastier. It’s about the craft and the people (isn’t it always).
After I parked on the Chick-fil-A side of ParkTowne shopping center, I walked past the Jason’s Deli, down the stairs, and into the new Tiki Hideaway – I thought I would be heading to a Myrtle Beach type experience. Boy was I wrong.
My first 90 second impression: big capital investment in the space and cocktails are expensive. I wasn’t escaping to Myrtle Beach, I was escaping to the set of Mad Men. It felt odd, but interesting.
Drinks. Strong – not messing around. Jim, the bartender, told us about their cocktail recipes from the ’30s and ’40s. You could tell that Jim genuinely cared about the integrity of their cocktails. They have 100s of recipes and cocktail offerings will evolve over time. Everything is fresh squeezed. Liquor amounts are intense (The Scorpion Bowl has 11ozs of liquor). I was there with Danny and here’s what we ordered:
Corn & Oil ($10) – smooth.
Planter’s Punch ($12) – strong.
Happy Buddha ($13) – fresh.
Food. Not dive bar food. At all. Food is a collection of small plates created by the former chef of Global in Ballantyne (fyi- Tiki Hideaway is currently not open for lunch).
Taro & Plantain Chips ($8) – great dipping.
Spring Rolls ($8) – solid.
Space. Mike Barrea, the owner, loves Tiki Bars and their history. It started on his honeymoon. Mike and his wife recently became empty nesters and moved to Charlotte from New Jersey about a year ago. The space is intimate and you’ll experience everything from carved tiki statues to the blowfish lights to the orange leather chairs.
Overall: the cocktail passion, food menu and space took me by surprise. It dripped of authenticity and both Jim and Mike love the craft. I walked into the bar thinking I would feel like a spring breaker at Myrtle Beach, but instead I felt like Don Draper. I’ll be back. I like Don more than Myrtle.