2733 NE Broadway, 662-8454, halepele.com. 5 pm-midnight Tuesday-Sunday.
Most tiki joints follow Trader Vic’s in aesthetic only, with watered-down Kool-Aid cocktails, a couple coconuts and a lot of cheese. Hale Pele takes tiki to its full potential, upping the ante on Thatch (the strip-mall building’s previous tenant) and transforming it into a wonderland. Sure, the indoor creek, fake thunderstorms, carved tiki gods and bric-a-brac that looks like it was gathered in the wake of a tsunami are cool, but the mark of a good tiki bar is its cocktails. Under the hand of bar manager Mindy Kucan, Hale Pele has some of the best cocktails in town. Period. The classic 141 Swizzle ($12) is like a combustible snow cone of overproof rum, while the signature Sailor’s Grog ($11) perfectly combines multiple rums, falernum, and ginger beer. Or say fuck it and get the Boo Loo ($20) in a full pineapple. I hate tiki bars. Hale Pele is one of my favorite bars. AP KRYZA.
Happy Hour: 5-6 pm Tuesday-Sunday. Discounted drinks and food specials.