Updated: Esotico has announced an opening date of August 15, and prices have been added to this story.
Miami's A&E District is getting a tiki bar.
Esotico Miami, scheduled to August 15 at Canvas Condominiums, will offer classic tiki cocktails and a tropical vibe.
The 3,400-square-foot space will use hand-cut wallpaper, lush greenery, and Hawaiian surfboards to create a tiki-inspired atmosphere. Guests can enjoy drinks created by Daniele Dalla Pola, a partner in parent company Graspa Group and a longtime tiki aficionado. Of course, no Miami bar or restaurant is complete without the requisite DJ booth and VIP area, but a Tuesday-evening live rockabilly trio sounds promising.
Tiki cocktails are known the world over for their potent combination of spirits, spices, and fruits. Most tiki cocktails are rum-based, and Esotico will boast an initial collection of 230 rums, with the ultimate goal of offering 365. Graspa Group owner Graziano Sbroggio calls the curation "a rum for every day of the year."
Tiki cocktails will be made with freshly squeezed juices and house-made mixes, served in tiki mugs designed for Esotico. Cane sugar for the drinks will be harvested onsite, and a special grinder will make the crushed ice needed for most of the drinks. "Much of what we do here will not just be unique to Miami but one-of-a-kind in the tiki community," Dalla Pola says of the cocktails.
The bar will offer two batched versions of the classic Zombie, one with rum and one with mezcal. In addition, the bar will serve a slushy version of a banana daiquiri and Dalla Pola's take on a piña colada. The Sexy Colada is made with Bacardi Carta Oro rum, Re’al cream of coconut, pineapple juice, coconut water, and ginger. In a nod to his Italian roots, Dalla Pola will also pour custom Negronis from a special machine.
Volcanoes and cocktails that serve multiple people are Tiki staples and include the Treasure Chest, the Mauna Kea Volcano Bowl, and the Tiki Cannibal Bowl ($45 to $170, serves two to six people).
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Tiki collectors will want to take home a limited edition Tiki mug like the King Ta Moko, an Elvis-themed chalice that holds a blend of gin, passion fruit, fresh citrus, and ginger orgeat syrup. The mugs, designed by Daniele Dalla Pola, start at $60.
The food menu will offer what's being billed as "tropical chow," which includes truffled dim sum, ceviche, an octopus hot dog, calamari, tropical bowls, and a pupu platter. A dish called the Black Kraken will consist of squid ink risotto with octopus. Prices start at $18.
Esotico was previewed at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Art of Tiki event. This new concept is an interesting addition to Graspa Group's stable of restaurants, which includes Salumeria 104 and Segafredo.
Esotico Miami. 1600 NE First Ave., Miami; 305-800-TIKI; esoticomiami.com. Opening daily at 5 p.m. after its August 15 debut.