Mai Pleasure

By Michael Benninger
National Rum Day is August 16. And since it falls on a Sunday, there’s no excuse not to celebrate. Your best bet? A La Playa Mai Tai at the swanky new Ocean Pacific Grille on Sixth and F in the Gaslamp. In this case, the “F” might as well stand for Filipino, as this restaurant (at the former location of Encore Champagne Bar) specializes in drinks and delicacies inspired by the Philippine islands.

Since Ocean Pacific Grille’s June 25 ribbon-cutting ceremony, oodles of downtown denizens have savored the finest Filipino-fusion San Diego has to offer. Managing partner Brian Norris couldn’t be more excited.

“It’s been awesome,” says Norris. “People love it here, and we’ve already got regulars. Everything’s been really tremendous for us.”

Aside from the food, one drink that keeps the customers coming back is the bar’s La Playa Mai Tai. While every San Diegan worth her sea salt knows that La Playa is Spanish for “the beach,” fewer may know Mai Tai is derived from the Tahitian word for “good.” Put ‘em together, and you’ve got a recipe for something beachy and good... and pure magic.

“Our Mai Tai is an ode to the islands, an ode to that lifestyle of living on the beach,” says Norris. “Our menu wouldn’t be complete without it. When you come in here, you can grab that drink and really feel like you’re somewhere else.”

The sweet and sumptuous cocktail consists of Cruzan Aged Light Rum, amaretto, orange and pineapple juices, and a dark rum float.

“Though you’d expect it to be nice and dark, the Cruzan Rum is actually clear in color,” says Norris. “It’s got a really nice, smooth flavor, and you get that creaminess of the rum on the back of it as well.”

Can’t make it in to Ocean Pacific Grille for Rum Day on the 16th? Get down with OPG during their daily happy hour from 3-6 p.m., or stop by on Tiki Taco Tuesdays for $5 La Playas - served alongside fish tacos or diced-and-fried pork-belly tacos. What better way to celebrate?

Ocean Pacific Grille
531 F St., Gaslamp