Tiki Toc

By David Nelson / Photo by Sara Norris

It's Tiki time all the time at the reimagined Cat Eye Club in East Village, a relaxed cocktail bar that now sails guests to a fantasy Polynesia shaded by paper umbrellas and lubricated by Scorpion Bowls, which bubble like whirlpools and flame like volcanoes.

"We're paying our respects to '50s and '60s cocktail culture," says general manager and partner Frank Miller. "I'm a big fan of spirits, the history of spirits and the Tiki Culture."

Cat Eye's new illustrated menu parades rummy specialties served in goblets that mimic the carved Tiki figures of the South Seas. To understand Tiki, says Miller, just think Bali Hai, the San Diego waterfront landmark that six decades ago launched a craze for pineapple-flavored drinks and pu pu platters. Cat Eye's Cat Tai - which blends three premium rums with pineapple and falernum (sweet syrup often found in Caribbean drinks) into one wickedly tasty drink - pays homage to Bali Hai's famous Mai Tai.

Sounds like Hai time for another cocktail.

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