Lani Kai: It’s Not Tiki, But I Don’t Mind

The upstairs bar at Lani Kai
The upstairs bar at Lani Kai

lanikaiThe next stop on our New York adventure brought us to Lani Kai, in SoHo. Lani Kai is a new bar from Julie Reiner, the woman behind Clover Club, Flatiron Lounge and Pegu Club. She was raised in Hawaii, so the fake kind of Hawaii that we love isn’t really her thing. She’s been very clear with folks that her new bar is not a tiki bar—not at all because she doesn’t want to be associated with tiki bars, but rather because she wants people to walk in her door with the right expectations.

She and her staff are passionate about cocktails of any stripe, but particularly traditional tropical cocktails. The menu is full of outstanding originals that fit right in with the classics, and they’re also ready and able to go off-menu for the historic drinks you know and love.

One drink I got to have at Lani Kai was the cocktail highlight of my whole trip: Joe Swifka of Elettaria’s Tiki Mondays fame made us a [REDACTED]. It was amazing. It tasted just like a real [REDACTED] from [REDACTED]. Many have attempted to recreate the [REDACTED], but I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a [REDACTED] that came as close as this one. Thanks, Joe!

We’d already eaten, so I missed out on trying the food menu, but I imagine it’s pretty terrific. If you’re not a drinker and you’re looking for Polynesian Pop awesomeness, Lani Kai isn’t what you’re looking for… but if you want to take a trip to the glorious tiki past with your tastebuds, head on over.

See more pictures of Lani Kai in Critiki.

4 thoughts on “Lani Kai: It’s Not Tiki, But I Don’t Mind

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