Like so many birthdays and other special days during this pandemic, Tiki-Ko's fourth anniversary will have to be celebrated in a much simpler fashion.
While some bars have already reopened, the K Street tiki establishment remains closed, but work continues on its basement bar, which will be able to accommodate more people than its upstairs space.
Tiki-Ko posted this week on Instagram: "With the current seating guidelines and diminished capacity it just wouldn't make sense to try and reopen the upstairs bar right now. We realized we need to make a big push to get our basement open so we can have enough seating and spacing to make sure everyone is safe, so that's our focus right now. We're working hard to get there as quickly as possible and can’t wait to see you all again soon-ish."
That doesn't mean that the tiki drinks are tapped out. The bar is resuming Tiki-Ko To-Go, offering mixers of some of its most popular drinks — painkiller, zombie, mai tai, mauna ahi ($30 for four 16-ounce bottles) — along with bottles of premium rum ($20-$40). Pickups are on Fridays just in time for people to start the weekend — or their work week since days of the week have seem to sort of melt together.
Over the past couple of months, Tiki-Ko has also partnered with Venue Unknown, including its cocktails as part of a stay-at-home date night package, sold custom mugs by designer Tiki Diablo (aka Danny Gallardo), whose work is evident in the bar's interiors, as well as T-shirts and gift cards to pay the bills. It also raised more than $5,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to support its bartenders, many of whom have been with the bar since its opening (or not long after).
It's not surprising that people are eager for Tiki-Ko, which was named best bar in The Californian's Best Of Readers’ Choice Poll this year, to reopen. But personally I'm glad they're waiting.
In interviews over the years speaking with owners Roy Scarazzo and Sonya Gamargo, it's evident the care and consideration they've invested in their business. It's down to each restaurant, bar or business to decide what's best for themselves as well as their customers in terms of reopening so this feels like the right move.
Also considering how many weekend nights that the bar had a line out the door of people waiting to get in (capacity is 39), it makes sense that any future plans will have to be made to accommodate a crowd that can maintain a safe distance.
I will happily throw on my Mai Taison T-shirt, custom designed for the bar by artist Justin Hager, and enjoy tiki time at home until it's safer to venture out to drink with friends or friendly strangers. Then like so many other special days, we can all celebrate the bar's anniversary in style together.
Other summer beverages
With too many 100-plus-degree days already under our belts this year, we're all looking for ways to beat the heat. Here are some spots offering seasonal beverages sure to help you chill out.
Dagny's Coffee Co. recently shared a trio of beverages off its secret menu via social media. The Carson Palmer combines lemonade, white tea and strawberry syrup. The shop has an adult version of the Capri Sun with black currant lemonade, sangria and stone fruit syrup. And Kat's Italian tea livens up white tea with Perrier and strawberry syrup.
Dunkin' knows that people need to refresh mentally and physically after months of worry so it's offering new refreshers iced beverages.
The chain starts with iced green tea and adds B vitamins (B3, B5, B6 and B12) and your choice of strawberry dragonfruit or peach passion fruit flavored concentrates.
While Dunkin' claims the drinks will bring a glow and energy to customers, you at least know it will live up to its name, refreshing you on a hot day.
And for $2 (for a medium size through July 28), you'll feel excited that you're not spending much.
Bakersfield Dunkin' locations are at 1800 23rd St., Suite D and 1211 Allen Road, Suite 300.
And finally an adult beverage to cap things off. Along with all the current beers you've been enjoying, Temblor Brewing Co. has something sweet in store.
Inspired by fellow local business Dewar's, the brewery added a new beer to the lineup: George’s Special Chocolate Banana Walnut Stout. Evoking the flavors of one of the ice cream shop's signature dishes — vanilla ice cream blended with ground walnuts, chocolate syrup and three-quarters of a banana — the stout is made with cacao nibs, bananas, walnuts, lactose and vanilla.
Buzz has grown since the brewery teased the flavor in a banana-filled post on social media.
Based on demand, presales began not long after for the beer that will be released Thursday. Unfortunately, the packs of 16-ounce cans have already sold out online but the beer will be available in the taproom starting Thursday.
Temblor is at 3200 Buck Owens Blvd. For more information, visit temblorbrewing.com.