Thursday, February 9, 2012

Journey to Forbidden Island

A friend & I went to Alameda by ferry yesterday to find a fabled Tiki bar called Forbidden Island. Neither of us are very familiar with Alameda, so we went blindly over the Bay to the Island armed only with an address and a return ferry ticket.
Alameda is an island city just off the Oakland coast known for military installations in transition to civilian use (eventually), and quiet suburban streets with neighborhoods of modest Victorians. The Oakland Harbor adds a working man's vibe to the Island. We found Forbidden Island, after a 45 minute walk from the ferry terminal through suburban tract jungle, abandoned military sites, streets of modest homes and subdued town centers. I'm sure there's more to know about Alameda, but on this day we were only after true Tiki cocktails.

Oakland Inner Harbor

I'm sure real aficionados of Tiki Culture have ways to gauge the experience from the quality & design of the drinks to the authenticity of the interior, vintage Tiki wares, the vibe, the native dress, and what have you. My impression is that Forbidden Island is a gem, worth the trip, certainly well stocked with an impressive menu. It isn't over-the-top or overly fashionable. The crowd appeared local and relaxed. The waitress couldn't have been nicer. The trek requires some planning & if you want to really explore the cocktails it's best to avoid driving, of course. You'll also want to eat elsewhere as the bar snacks are simple.

Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge, Alameda, California

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