It's hard not to admire those kooky guys who take frivolous pursuits way too seriously, but then again who are you to judge neurosurgeons? Revel in one man's solemn obsession at Smuggler's Cove.
Opening in the cozy, tri-level space that used to house Jade Bar, Smuggler's Cove is an awesomely over-the-top temple of all things Tiki, brought to you by Martin Cate, the never-not-Hawaiian-shirt rocking master of deliciously complex cocktails and grogs,
He learned the craft at Trader Vic's and co-created Alameda's exalted Forbidden Island, aka the one and only reason to ever set foot in Alameda.
Except for the flea market. The space is a thirsty pirate's wet dream: walls of bamboo, ceiling-hung nets stuffed with flotsam and jetsam, random bootie, skulls and more.
A thatch canopied staircase that leads up to a puffer fish lamp-lit mezzanine, and a stone wall of trickling water that leads down to a nautical-themed subterranean bar called the boathouse, finally giving you a place to command "stroke" without getting slapped.
Smuggler's Cove's 75 specialty cocktails (many of which are served in ceramic masterpieces by Munktiki) span rums harrowed history dating back to the British Royal Navy's heyday, ranging from zombies, scorpion bowls, and fogcutters to next level innovation like Charles H. Baker's "Cora Middleton" (aged Jamaican rum, lime, raspberry syrup, egg white, and Angostura bitters served up and frothy), and the Martinique rum/lime/orange/honey/falernum "Three Dots and a Dash," which is Morse Code for victory, and your code for "I don't know Morse code but do you have a cigarette?"
If you crave the straight dope, the place stocks 200 plus bottles of globally sourced r(h)um, including Eurydice, a proprietary grog aged in French Oak and Bourbon barrels, made locally by St. George Spirits.
Ask the barkeep about educational tasting flights, and stay tuned for the launch of an exclusive rum tasting club, because you may not be able to judge neurosurgeons and their hilarious squishy goals, but you can judge rum.
Smuggler's Cove opened Tuesday at 650 Gough St, between McAllister and Fulton in San Francisco.