If you were to x-ray the average beer belly, I’m pretty sure somewhere in the guts would be an enchanted new bodily organ, somehow in the shape of a Tiki god. Much like Beer Belly Long Beach has a secret wall, when pushed just right, opens to ukelele music, frozen birds, and kitschy blowfish lights.
Once inside, there are bamboo bar seats that articulate precariously, soaking up the cool blue barlights. The regular clientele seems in the know: this is where to get a proper Volcano Bowl.
Barmen Sherwood Souzankari and James Squire tap in and tap out of the Long Beach closet paradise, shaking a handful of Tiki drinks Friday through Saturday, 6pm till midnight.
If it’s busy, grab a Frozen Bird which pours slushy-style out of a machine into a stemmed tulip glass, garnished with a pineapple wedge. Basically, it’s a frozen Jungle Bird, and the Appleton Estate Rum drink has plenty of that funk that is front and center in the flavor profile. The rest blends Campari, coconut cream, and other magic to help you achieve higher Tiki consciousness. It’s effortless to drink, and despite it being a bit cooler weather outside, made me feel like I was on vacation…which I guess is half of the point of Tiki drinks.
If there is time for another, don’t miss the Desert Daquiri which is slid your way in its birthday suit ungarnished. It uses a bit of Charaeu aloe vera liqueur, which, on its own, has the craziest bits of wintergreen, cucumber, and lemon peel tasting notes. The Desert Daq somehow has two ounces of booze squeezed into the tiny coupe glass, much like a burlesque dancer in skinny jeans, is easy to take in, and yes I’d like to see another.
Bar TikiTiki is inside Beer Belly Long Beach (just press on the wall, dude!) at 255 Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach, (562) 436-2337; beerbellyla.com/beer-belly-lb
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest.