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We arrived at about 8pm, and waited in line outside for ~20 minutes before we were admitted. Once inside, we lucked up and got the best two seats at the main bar (against the wall on the right side). The bar was absolutely packed to capacity, so that it was kind of difficult to navigate and take it all in. What I could see though, was splendid. The decor and theming is awesome; as good as any other Tiki space I've been in. The drinks were great, and the drink menu is very impressive; the best I've ever seen. We got a couple of mugs and are glad to have those souvenirs. Two complaints: I wish they had some kind of food, even snack mix. IMHO, alcohol - especially fruity tiki drinks - must have snacks to change the pace. Second complaint is that the place is just too darn small. Why not move into a bigger space?? The upstairs and downstairs were so tiny, and so packed with people that all I could do was peep inside. My favorite drink was the Rum Barrel, and I'd like to go back right now. Alas, it'll be awhile...

Tiki Bar

Smuggler's Cove

San Francisco, California, United States

Smuggler's Cove was opened December 8th, 2009 by Martin Cate, a renowned rum expert and longtime tikiphile who was one of the founders of Forbidden Island in Alameda. Smuggler's Cove specializes in all varieties of rum and rum drinks, with a particular emphasis on historic and exotic cocktails. Cate has attracted some of the top bartender talent in the talent-rich city of San Francisco. Smuggler's Cove regularly appears on the lists of the best bars in the world. It has proven incredibly popular: if you go on a weekend, be prepared to possibly wait in a line for entry.

The decor is a blend of nautical and tiki. The dimly-lit bar spans three floors: the main and lower levels each have their own bars, and an upper half-level is a tiki hut that overlooks the main floor. There is a waterfall between the main floor and the lower floor, with a small pool at the bottom. The construction was led by Ignacio "Notch" Gonzalez, of San Jose's Top Notch Kustoms.

The offerings can be overwhelming in scope: over 500 rums, and more than 75 cocktails. If you're intent on trying as many as possible, consider entering the Rumbustion Society; those who complete the list are rewarded for their efforts.

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