Stop the presses! There’s a new tiki bar in town. The owners of Bourbon and Branch have another hit on their hands with Zombie Village, named after an Oakland tiki bar popular in the 1940’s to 1960’s. True to the tiki promise of escapism, you will forget all about the cold and damp streets of San Francisco when you step through the front door.
Upon entry, you are immediately whisked away to a starry tropical paradise.
Tiki gods paddle by in canoes while large tiki idols watch from above.
The steamy air makes you thirst for one of their beautiful icy concoctions. The bar keeps the crowds moving with one side set up as standing room only making it relatively easy to sidle up and order from the gorgeous menu.
With traditional rum based cocktails as well as more modern takes on the tried and true to choose from, there is a little something for everyone, even non-rum drinkers. Yes, those people do exist. The Village Bastard is a perfect blend of whiskey, apple brandy, lime, calamansi, and bitters with a good kick of ginger to separate this drink from the sweeter tiki cocktails we are used to. For the adventurous, there are even a couple of absinthe creations. If you are lucky, the second bar located upstairs is open offering shorter waits and more interesting decor.
Eekum Bookum was commissioned to design and make a limited supply of 250 mugs to commemorate the bar’s grand opening so I made sure to head over that night to get my hands on my first ever collectible tiki mug. I ended up taking #168 of the lot home with me! I was extra excited because 8 is a lucky number. Woohoo!
The grand opening attendees were dressed to the nines recreating the ambience that must have existed when tiki culture was in its heyday. Many men wore suits while their female counterparts wore beautiful 1950’s style outfits with flowers and jewels in their hair. This element of glamour made for a wonderful atmosphere that evening.
A few nights later, I was back again to celebrate a birthday. Who needs a birthday cake and candles when you have the fiery pyrotechnical display from the Chief Lapu Lapu bowl? The spectacular display got even more wild with a sprinkling of magic tiki dust.
The Coco Pandan is a perfect antidote for when you find yourself getting too hot in there. The coconut and lychee popsicle garnish hit the spot and did a great job cooling me down.
For a larger group, you may want to reserve a booth. It’s cozy/intimate and you may end up feeling a little isolated but that is the trade off for having somewhere to put your Scorpion Bowl down and a place to unload all the stuff that was keeping you warm outside.
If you want to chase those winter blues away, you don’t have to look any further than Zombie Village. For a couple of hours, you will be transplanted to a fun and festive locale without even having to get on a plane.