Destination: Taha's Twisted Tiki
After yet another round of winter this week, it almost seems like Derek and Lucas Gamlin knew St. Louisans would be desperately craving the beach-like atmosphere of Taha’s Twisted Tiki. The third venture of the Gamlin brothers (who also own Sub Zero Vodka Bar and Gamlin Whiskey House in the Central West End) officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 23.
Taha’s certainly has its own identity in the Gamlin family, which is immediately apparent from the tropical mural splashed upon the two-story building in The Grove. Driving down Manchester Avenue, the vibrant colors of Hawaiian flowers and hanging palm trees entice passersby to come inside for a little taste of island living. The theme does not end at the door with Polynesian accents and nautical touches scattered throughout the space, and of course, the straw-thatched awning over the bar. Once the weather breaks, consider venturing out to the tiki-torch-lined back patio to enjoy the fire pit and outdoor bar.
The cocktail menu at Taha’s takes the tropical alcohol of choice to a whole new level, boasting 150 varieties of rum behind the bar. Bartenders at Taha’s can whip up all of the tiki classics, like their Zombie that follows the 1934 recipe from the first ever tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber’s in Hollywood. Of the Zombie’s 12 ingredients, some are quite unexpected, such as cinnamon syrup and absinthe, but the final flavor combination is delicious. The cilantro sunset might have less history than the Zombie, but it’s just as tasty with Cruzan passion fruit rum, cilantro syrup, lime juice and mango puree. Taha’s floats are another refreshing option, combining housemade ice cream and soda with interesting flavors like mango and hibiscus.
True to tiki tradition, each of the cocktails at Taha’s gets its own unique presentation. Order a volcano and enjoy the drama as a healthy pour of rum is ignited inside a ceramic “volcano” that’s large enough for a few friends to share. Other cocktails come topped with umbrellas and are served in everything from coconuts to retro pineapple and hula girl mugs.
Food is not to be forgotten at Taha’s with a menu of Polynesian dishes that are natural pairings for the craft tiki cocktails. Try the tuna poke for a taste of an island classic or go for the ceviche that’s marinated in lime juice and Samogon before being served on a tostada.
Open Monday through Saturday from 4pm to 1:30am. 4199 Manchester Rd., The Grove, 314.202.8300.