Blossom Bar is the latest cocktail outpost from Ran Duan. Like The Baldwin Bar, it was converted from one of his family’s Chinese restaurants (in this case from Sichuan Garden I, which lives on here as Sichuan Garden at Brookline Village). It’s not capital-T tiki, but a menu focused on South American spirits and flavors creates drinks bound to scratch the itch, such as the rum-and-brown-butter-banana Caracas Express.
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In a city where the term nor’easter carries weight, bars that sell a mid-century vision of island paradise can be a great relief. From full-on tiki joints to the tiki-inspired, these spots are worth pulling out a Hawaiian shirt for no matter the season.
Rowdy Fenway spot Hojoko styles itself as a rock ‘n’ roll izakaya, and the anarchic Japanese influence extends to a cocktail menu stocked with tiki classics. Once you’ve sipped their sesame-influenced take on the Mai Tai, you’ll never look at it the same way again. You can explore new territory with original tiki-meets-Japan creations, or indulge in a fluff-topped frozen Piña Colada.
On the second Sunday of each month, Drink stops being its usual, understated self and embraces Tiki Sunday. Per usual, the bar offers no menu—but staff will suggest some of their favorite tiki drinks, including the classic Jungle Bird and the Smoking Jet Pilot made with tequila, mezcal, and Batavia Arrack. Monthly changing food specials like beef satay and steamed duck dumplings are on hand to quash rum-induced appetites.
Tiffani Faison’s Southeast Asian spot Tiger Mama feels like a restaurant within a tiki bar, thanks to its jungle-glam aesthetic and Hawaiian shirt-clad staff. It contains two bars, both of which serve up tiki- and tropical-style drinks like a Tropical Mai Tai made with pineapple and apricot. But things really escalate on the separate tiki-specific cocktail menu that’s high on production value and international flavors, as well as large-format drams served inside giant seashells or pirate ships.
A historic mansion in Woburn that’s also a family-owned Chinese restaurant may not seem like a natural place for a tiki bar, but that didn’t stop Ran Duan. Now The Baldwin Bar is a bona fide destination, where a Trader Vic Mai Tai authentic to the original 1944 recipe is served alongside unique creations. Don’t forget to soak it up with some outstanding family-style fare from Sichuan Garden’s kitchen—preferably in the more experimental sister bar upstairs, The Baldwin & Sons Trading Co.