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Kapu Bar house manager Bee Baker is our in-studio guest on Brew Ha Ha with Harry Duke and Herlinda Heras today.
Kapu Bar has taken over the Tuttle’s Drug Store location in downtown Petaluma. They have done extensive redecoration and it is a marvel to see. The first weekend they were open in January they had over 1000 people through the front door. Business has been brisk and there is a line out the door almost every day.
The first use of Tiki décor was Don the Beachcomber’s, which opened in Los Angeles in 1934, after Prohibition ended but well before the beginning of WWII. Tiki designs became popular in California after the War, when returning servicemen brought back more and more Polynesian-inspired designs. There have been many famous Tiki-styled restaurants and bars, which Bee describes as “escapism.”
At the bar they make all of their syrups in-house from scratch. From the kitchen, they have an extensive menu that even includes Spam, and of course there is special glassware and ceramic ware to match the drinks.
Kapu Bar’s designer, Bamboo Ben, is the grandson of one of the head designers of the Disneyland Tiki Room, as well as the Swiss Family Robinson House and the Jungle Cruise. They have plans to adapt an outdoor area as well. Bamboo Ben’s son Blake has carved Tikis out of the reclaimed wood from their outside fence. They wear “aloha” shirts and they don’t spare the accessories and decorations. Here is a look at the interior, on the Kapu Bar website.
“It doesn’t get more West Coast than a Tiki Bar.” – Herlinda
They have Poke Nachos on the menu. They source the freshest Ahi they can source, which their chefs cut and dress for Poke, with all their flavors. It is one of their most popular menu items. Bee has also brought a lot of other treats, including the spicy Chinese style peanuts. They are boiled with ginger, onion, star anice, citrus peel, bay leaf and peppercorn. After boiling they are tossed in a ginger-scallion sauce, with a bit of sesame. They are tasty but messy. There is a discussion of their extensive menu which is also online, here. The Banana Split “is for the young at heart.”
Kapu Bar is located at 132 Keller St. in Petaluma. For reservations, go to Open Table. The bar is first-come first served, with no reservations.