Christopher Straub worked for years helping open high-end properties for Hyatt Hotels in cities such as New York, Chicago and Washington D.C., but his first foray as a restaurateur is a stark departure from those previous gigs. The Financial District’s just-opened Tiki Rock Bar has a laid-back vibe to go along with a full entertainment license.
“I always wanted to open a place of my own,” Straub says. “Same quality food and cocktails, but more approachable and friendly. Tiki kind of hit that on the head.”
Taking up residence in part of the space formally inhabited by the Place nightclub—the other half is occupied by Moe Kuroki’s Oisa Ramen—Straub’s venture pays ode to Tiki bars of days’ past—with some elevated updates. The restaurant taps chef de cuisine Matt McPherson of South End Buttery and Porto and sushi chef Minggan “Tony” Wu to create a Japanese- and Polynesian-inspired menu that features shared appetizers, large plates and sushi. Some of Straub’s favorites include steak skewers made with grass-fed beef, black garlic teriyaki, blistered cherry tomatoes and soy bruleed onions as well as a ginger-soy fried chicken dish served with a cabbage pancake, pickled chilis, bonito, bean sprouts, Kewpie mayo and okonomiyaki sauce. The five specialty sushi rolls include the Dragon’s Breath, stuffed with king salmon, lobster salad, avocado and then lit on fire.
The bar program, spearheaded by beverage director Charlie Smedile—formerly of Clio, Waypoint and Uni—will serve traditional Tiki cocktails with innovative twists and over-the-top garnishes, such as the ScRumdiddlyRumptious made with a house rum blend, Aperol, strawberries, long peppers, coconut cream and lemon.
The dining room seats nearly 100, including a 32-seat bar and a lounge area with luxurious leather couches, and the space also includes a stage for live music. Port holes with hand-painted underwater scenes adorn the walls and an installation of bleached seashells courtesy of Cape Cod adds to the oasis Straub sought to create.
“I wanted people in the office buildings around here to be able to step out of work at the end of the day and come to a place that they feel like is outside of Boston,” he says. “That’s kind of the idea—to distract people and let them unwind.”
Tiki Rock Bar 2 Broad St., Boston (617-670-0107) tikirock.com