Saw quite a few articles about this new tiki bar in DC. Had the chance to make it here a couple times. The first time I came here I remember walking right past the place. The only signage for the place was on the door - which was propped open at the time so I completely missed it. But the good news is I figured it out!
The place has an op
en, airy vibe to it Very different from most of the tiki bars you go into. Neither good nor bad per se, its just a matter of what you are into. According to one of the owners they didn't want to go hard core as they are a neighborhood bar and need to appeal to a wider variety. Fear not, though, tiki-philes, the upstairs - which the are working on right now - will be more tiki themed. As for decorations they have some really great pieces. There is a 4' hula girl floor lamp that is great! I love the old time movies playing on the wall between the first and second levels.
Hip cool Tiki vibe stuff. There is some surf sounds and oldies that fit along side them.
I love the drinks menu. They have Mai Tais and Pina Coladas to satisfy the classic tiki itch, but the rest of the menu is all about their own concoctions. With names like "If the Phone Don't Ring It's Me", "Your Ad Here", and "Going Down with the
Ship" you can see they go for the cheeky tiki - which I love! And they even have a drink for the non tiki person who gets dragged here by a friend, called "My Friends Wanted to Come Here". The "Phone" and Jungle Room drinks were my favorites.
Limited food. But enough from a tiki bar perspective. Its more about the pupu's and the sandwiches. Great complimentary grub for your tiki drinks and taking in the vibe.
They do not have their own swag yet, but they are still relatively new so I won't knock them too much - yet. Right now they are selling the generic mugs they use for the drinks. At $12 its not bad on price. I got one from each of my trips and, as always, marked it up on the bottom with the bar name and date I visited. That is about as customized of a mug as you are going to get here so far. Would love to see some shirts or swizzle sticks as well, but nothing as of now.
Bartenders are cool and easy to talk to. Odds are it will be one of the owners so cool to learn more about the bar from them. So its on the ohana feeling alone that I give them the high marks. From 'happening' perspective, it was hard to tell as I was there midweek both times, once at 6 and once at 10. Pretty quiet - which is what you'd expect. From what I hear though it is a pretty hopping place on the weekends
Overall the Archipelago cooks up a 4.12. The Archipelago is a must when you visit the greater DC area. It's a fun bar that the owners seem to be dedicated to delivering as much of a tiki experience as possible.