A collaboration between the team behind Liberty Street Bistro—chef/owner Michael Kelly, his wife Alex, and executive chef Maggie Lloyd—along with designer Pat Nunnari and beverage director Jessica Gonzalez. Located in the old Blue Martini space, next door to Primo Waterfront.
Inspired by a visit to the Fuschia Tiki Bar, who also did consultation on the initial cocktail list.
The name "Jet Set" harkens back to the glory days of air travel, with bartender as pilot.
Although there is decor you would normally see in a tiki bar, with lots of tropical foliage and thatch, fish floats, and tiki mugs, there are no carved tikis and the tiki decor is rather sparse by traditional standards set by Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber.
“Tiki itself has its origins in post-war escapism,” Nunnari says. “These guys who came back wanted to think back on paradise. It’s an Americanized sort of thing—it’s kind of fake in that respect, which leaves a lot of room for you to put your own twist on it.”
“It’s very hard to talk about tiki history without the appropriation of cultural iconography, specifically tiki gods, coming up,” says Alex Kelly, another partner in the project. “We get that, acknowledge it, and are not looking to add to the fetishization of Pacific Islander culture with The Jet Set. We have leaned heavily into the idea of mid-century modern air travel. What we aim to do at The Jet Set is focus on the quality of the cocktails our guests will be drinking.”
Best intentions aside, the bar does use plenty of mugs with tiki iconography and one of the most prominent pieces of bar art is a flip-up gate with a western-style painting of a cartoony pin-up native with a bone stuck in her hair (and holding a tiki mug). So, there is a little inconsistency in the application...
Lots of stuff to love, though. The Jet Set has a very cool 30' aluminum jet fuselage with lit-up passenger windows in their dining area and a large outdoor patio as well. Unlike many tiki bars, they have a great deal of space to work with and there is plenty of seating.