Visit: 10 Mar 2018
Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29 is the much anticipated venture of Jeff "Beachbum" Berry and his wife Annene Kaye. Berry has worked tirelessly for the past two decades (who am I kidding? he's a bum, he got tired now and then), researching the long-lost recipes for classic exotic cocktails from the heyday of Tiki. We all have the Bum (and his publishers!) to thank for the revival of the well-crafted exotic cocktail, via his books The Grog Log, Intoxica!, Taboo Table, Beachbum Berry Remixed, and Potions of the Caribbean.
Latitude 29 opened in November 2014, inside the Bienville House Hotel. The drink menu is a mix of Tiki classics (some of them the Bum has been keeping in his back pocket for just this occasion), and modern inventions by the Bum himself. Latitude 29 follows through on drink presentation, with custom swizzles and just-so garnish and ice touches. The bar team is led by Brad Smith; the Bum himself won't be found behind the bar, but rather playing host, like a Beachbum should.
The food menu, originated by chef Chris Shortall and now under the care of executive chef James Rivard, leaves the sticky-sweet Chinese-meets-pineapple history of Polynesian restaurants behind, and instead has more modern, fresh takes on the ethnic blend of flavors available in Polynesia today.
The decor is not quite the dark, encrusted enclave one might expect from a dyed-in-the-barkcloth tikiphile like Berry, but the windows and hotel location have dictated a brighter approach. There's no mistaking this space for anything but Tiki, though, thanks largely to the work of artisans Bosko and Tiki Diablo. There are large tiki carvings throughout, and behind the bar is a beautiful map depicting the carving styles found throughout the islands of the Pacific. There are many vintage beachcomber lamps and other items from Berry's long-lived Tiki collection.
Tiki Tolteca is located right next door (although they closed on September 27th, 2021 except for private parties).