We keep waiting for that perfect moment when we can take a water taxi to the wharf for a drink at Longboard’s. It would be so apropos. In lieu of that, we drove onto the wharf for a return visit to this ol’ neighborhood establishment at the top of The Harbor Restaurant.
Because it is a part of the local chain of bars and restaurants that includes El Paseo, Tee-Off and Harry’s Plaza Café, we had no doubt that the drinks would be strong.
George Aguirre has been here nine years, managing and making drinks for the wharf crowd, but Longboard’s has been here since 1989. It’s one of the few places in town that gladly whips up big, gaudy drinks to impress the natives and the tourists.
For example, the Mean Tai raises the stakes on the traditional Mai Tai by outfitting it with cute sailboat cocktail sticks, plenty of fruit garnish, a goblet glass and, well, just by being really, really big. You could almost climb inside the glass and drink your way out. We could see three striations: a foamy head, a dark middle and a lighter bottom. That means plenty of pineapple juice, but also five kinds of rum (Bacardi Light, Gold and 151, along with Myers’ dark and Whaler’s) and a little bit of orgeat. As you might imagine, this tastes like rum, rum and more rum. So if you like rum, then it’s very nice, and an excuse to call that water taxi and try to convince the driver to head up State Street.
For that morning after, why not return and try the Harbor Mary? That’s a Bloody Mary variation the bar makes, which along with the Absolut vodka and secret Bloody Mary mix, includes the usual suspects (tomato juice, Tabasco, etc.) and a dash of A.1. steak sauce. We can’t recall another place that uses A.1., and the drink is just that much beefier for it, with a good, round taste.
But we really didn’t feel the true Longboard’s experience until we saw the various special ceramic bowls hiding behind the bar, which led to our final drink. The Volcano comes in the eponymous bowl, a moat of booze surrounding a tiny volcano of flaming Bacardi 151. And yes, the ingredients are very similar to a Mean Tai, but just a bit sweeter, with the inclusion of grenadine and sweet-and-sour mix. Add to that a whole lotta ice and two straws, and you have a party on your hands. For its punch-packin’ flavor, its strength and its classic novelty, we had to make this our Drink of the Week.
1 ½ ounce Bacardi white rum
1 ½ ounces Bacardi gold rum
½ ounce Bacardi 151
¾ ounce Whaler’s dark rum
¾ ounce Meyers’ dark Rum
1 ounce sweet-and-sour mix
3 ounces pineapple juice
½ ounce grenadine
Fill shaker glass 2/3 full with cubed/crushed ice. Add all ingredients (except 151 rum and Meyers’ rum) and shake well. Then strain mix into volcano bowl. Fill the rest of the bowl with more ice and float Meyers’ and grenadine. Full center of bowl with 151. Add soda straw and garnish with parasol sail, pineapple and cherry. When serving, set 151 on fire with match.
210 Stearns Wharf