As the weather warms up, there’s no better way to say “TGIT” than with a tiki drink in hand. Enter Jack Rose. You may be familiar with the dining saloon downstairs, or the spacious bar and private party space upstairs. But the tiki terrace is a hidden gem in the booze-fueled madness of Adams Morgan. We were invited in recently to revisit my college days of themed parties with a classier touch.
The terrace opened earlier than usual this spring, with Tiki Thursdays featuring a half-priced happy hour from 5-9 p.m. Bartenders, Benny and Denise, served up island-inspired cocktails like the Coco Face and the Painkiller. I tried the Tidal Wave. Its electric-blue color was a bit of a turn-off for me, but this Tanqueray-laden drink was a nice change of pace from the rum-heavy menu. If you’re trying to shake off a crazy week, the Navy Grog, with three different types of rum, has a serious kick to it.
Not feeling the cocktails? The beer choices are refreshing, as well. I particularly love the Liliko’i Kepolo from Avery Brewing Co. This witbier is brewed with passion fruit and reminds me of some of my favorite Hawaiian brews.
You’re going to need some nosh to keep you afloat on Tiki Thursday. The bar menu includes the crispy goodness of fried chicken skins with Shoyu dipping sauce and fresh guacamole, mango salsa, and homemade chips. The pit-roasted chicken wings in ginger rum glaze are a messy must-try. My favorite finger food was the spicy yet sweet pork belly with charred pineapple slaw on the bottom.
For something more substantial, I recommend the tacos. The wood-fired grill serves up Creole and garlic shrimp, coriander and tomatillo chicken, and ancho chile and Epazota steak tacos on corn flour tortilla. Maryland-lovers will enjoy the soft-shell crab sandwiches.
By the end of the night, you might want to sip on something less tropical. I loved the Crowdpleaser, which reminds me of a lighter margarita, without the tequila hangover. Also known as “Daaaaaamn, Basil” it features Brooklyn Pilsner, Deep Eddy vodka, honey-basil syrup and a spritz of lemon. I’d also go back for the “Don’t Blink” a lovely pink fizzy drink of Bulleit Rye, raspberry-infused Campari, simple syrup, grapefruit, and lime.
We may be letting the secret out, but the tiki terrace at Jack Rose is a definite destination for this summer.