Neighborhood Joints

Drink and Eat While You Get Your Hair Done: Rik Rak's Hidden Bar a Brickell Gem

Hidden in the back corner of Brickell's Rik Rak Salon, Boutique, and Bar is, well, a bar. The fact that the salon has been at this location for eight years and the bar isn't yet hopping is a mystery. The menu might not blow you away, but what was started as an amenity is cool; whether or not you're getting your hair done.

Rik Rak has been in Brickell for the past 22 years, according to owner Rik Watters, who with wife Raquel form the "Rik" and the "Rak" in the salon's name. "The bar has been getting better," says Watters, who entrusts the operation to savvy cooks who aren't afraid to play with tastes, ingredients, and presentation.

Rik Rak traces to a previous location, where the need for the "Beauty Bar" was void because they were sandwiched between two cafes. When they moved to Brickell and needed to feed a staff of 75, the idea was to cook onsite. Watters had a difficult time getting the license for the bar, but after "nine months of bugging," finally got it. He said that he's never had any issues with the Health Department, even though the bar is located just steps from the seats in which clients are getting trimmed and colored.

The steak sandwich ($15) with skirt steak, roasted red peppers, pesto mayo, goat cheese, and fried onions was delicious and filling. Fifteen-dollars-delicious might have been a stretch, but it was nonetheless a damn good sandwich. The sandwiches and salads range in price from $8 to $15. Watters says the best sandwich is the turkey club ($10), which he suggests on multigrain bread. The entrees include grilled chicken and vegetables ($11), seared ahi tuna ($14), and sautéed shrimp & vegetables ($13). The whole wheat pasta bar begins at $8 with your choice of sauce; $1 for each additional topping; $4 for each protein. And if the aforementioned items are a bit too much to eat in your seat, there are snacks ranging in price from the hummus ($6) to tuna carpaccio ($12).

Rik Rak and the Beauty Bar open at 9 a.m., although they don't do much breakfast. Early items range in price from the Cuban toast ($2) to the beauty breakfast ($10), consisting of two eggs any style, French toast, and bacon. Watters suggests the omelet ($8) which includes regular eggs or egg whites and your choice of two toppings (additional toppings are $1 each).

Soon, Watters hopes to replace the induction burners and griddle with an oven top and hood, add banquettes in an area between the bar and boutique, offer more daily specials, and unveil a revamped wine list. And happy hour is coming: sake cocktails and half-priced wine on weekdays between 5 and 7 p.m.

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John Zur