Bartender Matty Durgin recently landed behind the stick at À Côté Bar a Absinthe after parting ways with Adrift, the tiki bar that just opened on South Broadway. But the rum aficionado immediately began making plans to integrate his favorite spirit into the drink list there -- even if those drinks will likely be more New Orleans-y than Polynesian. Still, you can sample the bartender's island creations at special tiki-themed events around town.
Like tonight: Durgin and Kevin Burke, head barman at Colt & Gray, will host LoHi Luau No. 2 at Colt & Gray, and they'll be mixing up a special list of tropical libations, which Durgin promises will be different from the tiki nights they've thrown in the past. "A lot of times when Kevin and I work together, we're only exploring the classics," he explains. "This time, there will be some wacky modern versions of things, too."
Those beverages will fit into a fete that will transform the elegant gastropub, if only temporarily, into a beachy cocktail party. The theme is Aloha Aku No, Aloha Mai No, which means, says Durgin, "'I give my love to you, you give your love to me.' These are always fun to do at Colt &Gray because it changes the pace and vibe a bit." The bartender, for instance, will be sporting a Hawaiian shirt, which is a far cry from the crisply pressed shirts the staff normally wears -- and he encourages drinkers to come with a vacation mentality, too.
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Can't make it tonight? Durgin acknowledges that these nights are becoming regular-ish, and there are probably more in the future. "The past two have been successful and fun, and Kevin and I enjoy working together," he says. And they'll continue to do so whenever they can.