[embed-1] Charleston restaurateur Karalee Fallert’s 6,500 square foot tiki themed bar and restaurant Wiki Wiki Sandbar is now open on Folly Beach. Wiki Wiki opened very quietly over the past couple of days, and we stopped by Thursday night for a round of colorful rum drinks.
[content-1] Designed by architect Kevin Hoertdoerfer the space.is.huge. In our amateur opinion, possessing a surface level knowledge (and mild obsession) with all things tiki, we’d classify Wiki Wiki as an ode to high tiki, the golden age of the tiki era.
Not every alcove was quite ready for patrons, so we ended up in one of the restaurant’s four dining rooms, the Octopus Bar. The room features the work of three local artists: a gargantuan octopus sculpture by Jeff Kopish hangs from the high ceiling, and framed octopus art by Kate Barattini adorns the walls, which are hand-stenciled with a tropical green foliage design by Suzanne Allen.
Hawaiian shirt-clad ‘tenders whipped up our libations of choice: One-Two Punch with Jamaican rum and a hint of coconut; Beachcomber’s Punch, a boozy love letter to the great Don the Beachcomber made with Gayanan rum, Jamaican dark rum, overproof Rhum Agricole plus vanilla and falernum; and Aloha from the Edge, made with botanical gin and passionfruit. Many of the drinks on the menu come in a festive glass, like an ornately carved wooden totem or enamel shark, that you can purchase to take home with you for just a few extra buckaroos.
The bar menu, curated by Xan McLaughlin with some help from national rum connoisseur Daniel Parks of San Francisco’s Pagan Idol, includes all the requisite tiki drinks like a Mai Tai, daiquiri, and Suffering Bastard. Local industry vet Roderick Groetzinger will serve as the onsite cocktail program/bar manager.
Fallert says in a press release, “Wiki Wiki Sandbar is our love letter to Folly Beach — a quintessential celebration space that’s nice enough for family gatherings, and the perfect vibe for a friend-filled Sunday Rumday.” With business partner April Bennett, Fallert researched and developed the Wiki Wiki concept for years. For the cuisine, Fallert found similarities between Hawaiian plate lunches and Southern home-style cooking. Executive chef Jason DuPree, a Johnson and Wales grad and former executive chef of Rue de Jean, explores the similarities between these two cuisines, crafting a menu with slow-cooked meats; sides like rice, macaroni salad, greens, and starchy root veggies; poke bowls; salads; and sandwiches like Kalua pork banh mi and an avocado, bacon, and crab sandwich.
Wiki Wiki is now open daily for lunch and dinner Sun.-Wed. from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thurs.-Sat. from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Look out for “grand” weekend brunches and live music acts to start up soon, and for the rest of the rooms to open up. You can find us in the top floor traditional tiki bar and lounge, decorated with dioramas by artist Hirona Matsuda, when it’s ready for business.
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