01 October, 2013
A couple of weeks ago we celebrated a friend's birthday at a newly opened bar in West End. Even more exciting was the fact that it's a tiki bar! Say aloha to Jungle on Vulture St in West End and discover an intimate tropical paradise of rum and good times.
I've talked before about the history of tiki culture and how it ties into kustom kulture and, as with many aspects of the 'retro' lifestyle, there seems to be a real resurgence within mainstream popular culture. Although this can annoy me on occasion when fashion, music, décor, etc is bastardised by 'pop culture' it can also have its benefits as more and more fashion and venues that fit with our passions become more available. This is definitely the case with Jungle, as the only bastards you'll find here are the suffering kind.
Aside from the large carved tikis out the front, blink and you'll miss it. When I said it was intimate it is, because it's rather small. This results in a strangely pleasant crammed in feeling that means your sure to meet new people and maybe make some friends. However, if you plan on settling in for the night I suggest you arrive early-ish in order to score a table. Afterall, this is one of very few bars left anywhere who offer table service ONLY. That's right, no lining up at the bar elbowing your way through to order. They come to you, take your money or bring you an EFTPOS machine and return with your change and/or a delightful drink. Now that's service. Although, beware the EFTPOS machine...after a few cocktails it's tempting to just keep going and going...and going and.......
As you'd expect with a place like this, it really is all about the drinks and although they are a little on the expensive side (I could be tainted from the cheaper prices in America) they are certainly delicious and made with skill. I should also point out that they're quite potent, but that's the idea right? The Man and I stuck to Hurricanes all night because they were delicious, value for money and also came out flaming - what's not to love? Although I was also lucky enough to try some Zombie and a sip of the Chief's Daughter, served in a coconut shell cup which were also both very nice. I definitely want to go back and try some more, such as the impressive looking pina colada served in a hollowed out pineapple.
The bar also offers Jamaican Red Stripe beer and their own specially brewed alcoholic ginger beer which has some real bite to it and is great for refreshing the palate between tiki concoctions. The place gets really busy which can make cocktails and table service a little, shall we say, ambitious. Service was friendly, pleasant and prompt however there were a couple of times where we were left waiting a while for the Hurricane bowls to become available. In saying that, both times those who were waiting were given complimentary alcoholic ginger beer while they waited which I was quite impressed with.
The décor is slightly more basic than some of the tiki bars I have been to but in saying that, it's quite authentic, has a good vibe and the carved tiki stools are very cool and surprisingly comfortable. In terms of music, there's no surf tunes which was a bit of a surprise but the music they did play was surprisingly obscure. Old 50s and 60s songs that I constantly found myself saying 'oh my gosh, this song! I haven't heard it in AGES!' and there was even a rather raucous singalong at one point which was quite fun. Too many cocktails? Never!
Overall I was actually quite impressed with the place and the whole overall vibe and staff. It would be great if they added a bar snacks menu and perhaps extended the premises so there was a little more room but other than that, it's a top night out. Oh, except for the fact that there's only one pokey little toilet out the back. In saying that, the shark jaws toilet seat is a bit of a laugh.
Not in Brisbane and looking for a tiki bar of your own to check out? Try these: