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Solomons Island Tiki Bar, Charles Street


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This is a picture from the opening day of Solomons Island Tiki Bar in 2005, an open-air party zone that's Solomons Island's version of Señor Frogs. Counter-intuitively, it was nearly vacant yesterday afternoon, after all the Memorial Day tourists had made an early start home, and a few of the customers there seemed like locals, chatting with the tired bartenders like old friends.

A genuine dive, the Tiki Bar is the kind of place to wear your oldest shoes, and then throw them away when you get home, especially if you've used the restrooms. They serve no food in the Tiki Bar proper, but happily bring out bowls of salty popcorn for free munching. As for the drinks, they were out of the first two I ordered (one of which surprisingly featured fresh-squeezed orange juice).

The friendly bartender brought out a couple shot-glass-sized samples of two of their drinks, one of which was their infamous Mai Tai. Back in college, we used to throw parties where large, plastic trash cans were filled with a mixture of cheap, grain alcohol and Kool-Aid. These were the kinds of drinks where people "thought they weren't getting drunk" because they couldn't taste the alcohol, then woke up the next morning, often in strange and exotic places, with the worst hangover of their lives.

These tiny samples were poured from gallon plastic jugs. They were pre-mixed, and probably contained cheap vodka instead of grain alcohol, but they still reminded me of those nasty college-party drinks that I can never drink again. I hate to sound like an old codger, but I couldn't even bring myself to finish these samples, which were sickly sweet, and had that awful, slightly bitter aftertaste I associate with cheap neutral spirits.

I ordered a can of Yuengling ($4), and politely turned down the offer for a plastic cup, because it would have felt effete to use one. It was the best of a bunch that included Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light, etc., although I could have substituted Heineken I suppose.

Mai Tai aside, it was a good time with a nice view of the water. And there's one important point I'd like to make: On Wednesday through Sunday, Mike Theesen runs what might just be the best, or perhaps the safest, thing to eat in Solomons Island - The Grill Sergeant BBQ is a barbecue operation located right next door, on the same property. Although it was closed yesterday, the smokers looked pretty hardcore, and if this guy knows what he's doing, you can probably get some pretty good Q to go along with your beer at the Tiki Bar (it's literally a ten-second walk from one place to the other, and you can bring the barbecue into the Tiki Bar). Something to keep in mind if you head down to Solomons this summer.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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The friendly bartender brought out a couple shot-glass-sized samples of two of their drinks, one of which was their infamous Mai Tai.

...

These tiny samples were poured from gallon plastic jugs. They were pre-mixed, and probably contained cheap vodka instead of grain alcohol, but they still reminded me of those nasty college-party drinks that I can never drink again. I hate to sound like an old codger, but I couldn't even bring myself to finish these samples, which were sickly sweet, and had that awful, slightly bitter aftertaste I associate with cheap neutral spirits.

Lucky you. That stuff comes back up the same color it went down. Which is not necessarily a bad thing if you're going to be boating back home the next day.

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