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Downtown’s Newest Tiki Oasis Starts Slinging Painkillers Next Week

Kanaloa is ready to debut its cocktails and “tiki tots”

Courtesy Kanaloa

Kanaloa, Houston’s newest tiki bar, will finally swing open its doors in Downtown next week.

The urban oasis at 311 Travis Street promises drinkers a tropical getaway within its bamboo-clad interiors. Come next Friday, drinkers can belly up to a wooden lacquered bar top with high backed bar stools. There, find traditional tiki beverages in both single-serve and shareable punch bowl-sized portions. The throwback tiki vessels holding the libations were sourced from as far away as London, according to managing partner Tyler Barrera.

“We loved what the guys at Lei Low are doing, and saw the need for a tiki bar Downtown,” Barrera tells Eater. “Happy hour is a big scene down here with people trying to escape traffic and the stress of work. Tiki definitely fits that ‘get-away’ vibe.”

Kanaloa will have full aresenal of traditional “exotic cocktails” like mai tais, hurricanes, pain killers, zombies, and classic punch recipes including a scorpion bowl. They’re also putting some twists on traditional drinks with the “Oaxacan Swizzle” featuring mezcal instead of rum, plus green chartreuse, falernum, pineapple, and lime. Kanaloa will also feature its own spin on a zombie with three different rums, velvet falernum, grapefruit, orgeat, and grenadine. More tiki twists will feature gin, tequila, and mezcal instead of rum, tiki’s most iconic spirit.

“A lot of these recipes come from 1930s through 50s when the Polynesian ‘pop’ happened,” Barrera says. “Some of the rums aren’t available anymore, so we’re substituting with other rums or other alcohols.”

Barrera and his partners Roland Keller and Keith Doyle of Wicklow Heights tapped the operators of Oh My Gogi food truck, which now has a permanent location, to supply the food items for Kanaloa. Diners will be able to snag “tiki tacos” and “tiki tots” topped with jerk chicken or grilled shrimp. Other options include kimchi quesadillas, fried dumplings, bulgogi burgers, and a rice bowl. Plus, there’s an all-day breakfast menu featuring breakfast tacos stuffed with egg and potatoes and bulgogi beef quesadillas with kimchi, egg, onions, and cilantro.

Kanaloa’s hours of operation will be Tuesday through Thursday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday 12 p.m. to 2 a.m; Saturday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.