Food

A Tropical Bar Opens in Adams Morgan This Weekend With Frosty Tiki Drinks and Tacos

Get ready for mai tais and all-day brunch at Tiki on 18th.

A mai tai at Tiki on 18th, opening in Adams Morgan this weekend. Photograph by Surpass Visuals LLC

What started as an idea for a rum pop-up has become a permanent, palm-printed bar called Tiki on 18th. The tropical space opens on Saturday night and will serve its first all-day tiki brunch on Sunday.

There’s plenty of eclectic talent on board, including partners Jonathan Peterson, co-founder of Rum Day DC; Saab Harrison (a former Service Bar bartender); and Jo-Jo Valenzuela, co-owner of The Game, a great Filipino restaurant-meets-sports bar below the tiki spot. Service Bar co-owner Glendon Hartley also consulted on the project.

Tiki on 18th bartender and partner Saab Harrison. Photograph by Surpass Visuals LLC.

Tikis, tacos, and grilled skewers are the focus of the intimate 36-seat space, which has more room for standing plus a small patio for a dozen-odd guests. The opening drink list includes eight $12 cocktails—each with entertaining descriptions—including a classic 1933 Mai Tai (“Dancing naked on the beach!”) and not-so-classic rum old-fashioned (“Drunken Caribbean beach cruise with a stop in South America”). Instead of frozen drink machines, barkeeps will blend frosty libations to-order like the “Missionary’s Downfall,” a refreshing concoction with rum, peach, pineapple, and fresh mint. For something boozier, the team is planning rotating rum, tequila, and mezcal flights.

The tropical space seats 36-odd guests plus a small outdoor patio. Photograph by Surpass Visuals LLC.

Valenzuela is moving away from Filipino fare for the tiki bar, though you’ll still find some pinoy influence in the marinated and grilled pork belly, chicken, and veggie skewers. The small menu also includes three styles of tacos: veggie, Baja mahi-mahi, and Hawaiian-style kalua pork. Rounding out the offerings are snacks like chips and dips or Mexican street corn. For all-day brunch, the team plans to offer dishes like enchiladas, tostadas, and breakfast tacos alongside quaffable daytime tikis.

Pearl Madryga of Minneapolis-based design firm Roam is behind the look, which includes palm prints, live greenery, and plenty of wicker.

“It’s meant for you to come in and feel like an escape to paradise,” says Peterson.

A blended-to-order Missionary’s Downfall with mint and pineapple. Photograph by Arli Lima of @ArlisAppetite.

For now the bar is only open Thursday through Sunday, though Peterson says they’re looking to expand to Wednesdays starting in the fall.

Tiki on 18th. 2411 18th St., NW. Open Thursday through Saturday, 6 PM to 1 AM. Sunday brunch noon to 8 PM.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.