Shore Leave Is about to Rain Tiki Cocktails on the South End
Here's your first look at the menu for this tropics-inspired hideaway from the Bar Mezzana team.
If the season’s freshly-fallen first snowfall already has you dreading winter, take heart: Shore Leave, a new South End tiki bar and restaurant from the team behind Bar Mezzana, is about to arrive like a warm tropical breeze. The spot is slated to open by early next week, and we have your first look at the menu.
Tucked below 345 Harrison Avenue, a new luxury residence building right across the street from Bar Mezzana (the group’s coastal Italian hit that just ranked #6 on our Top 50 Restaurants list), Shore Leave takes inspiration from cuisines, cocktails and atmospheric vibes characteristic of the Pacific Rim: think Thailand, Hawaii, Vietnam, California. Lazy Susan-style pu-pu platters arrive laden with coconut shrimp and house-smoked ribs; tiki cocktails come in coconut mugs and other funky glassware (take ’em home, for a price); and the subterranean space–a high-ceilinged underground hangout swathed in bamboo and wicker, rope netting and jungle wallpaper–should prove a perfect escape for getting toasty (bless you, rum) as temperatures drop.
“Tiki is trending nationally,” says beverage director Ryan Lotz. It’s big in Boston too, but Lotz felt there was still an opportunity to build a bar that fully encompassed the spirit of that movement–from the music, curated by Boston musician and bar legend Brother Cleve, to the illustrated menus and chef-owner Colin Lynch’s not-too-traditional coastal cuisine-hopping munchies. Shore Leave wants to create something “all-encompassing and escapist,” says Lotz, alum of top imbibing spots like the Hawthorne and a major enthusiast of tiki cocktail culture.
It starts with a two-flights-down descent past LED tiki torches, and into a room anchored by a 90-foot, 37-seat wood and bamboo bar. The pitched-roof dining room offers a cheeky-chic beach-hut scene with dark green banquettes, leafy wall coverings and a wallpaper backdrop of an ombré sunset.
Lotz has developed 15 totally original cocktails–including three communal drinks for up to six sippers–that put some inspired spins on tiki tipples. For instance, the signature Shore Leave combines rums culled near and far (Ipswich’s Privateer Rum and Jamaica’s Appleton Rum) with tropical fruit and Madeira and molasses, both staples of colonial era New England. The Amaro di Cocco, meanwhile, a negroni-meets-piña colada concoction, employs rum, toasted coconut, Campari and sweet vermouth. It’s among the “Italo-tiki” hybrids that Lotz first started playing with at Bar Mezzana. The drinks are served in quirky vessels shaped like volcanoes, banana leafs, treasure chests and more; ubiquitous custom coconut mugs are available for purchase, plus other merch.
Unlike Bar Mezzana, which sticks to contemporary Italian influences, Shore Leave isn’t too anchored to tradition. Lynch says he worked with chef Sam Olivari, who has an “encyclopedic understanding of Southeast Asian food,” to create hot and cold noshes that juxtapose far-flung flavor profiles with local ingredients: say, fried clam bao with dashi-tartar sauce, or a large-format whole roasted Rohan duck with pineapple hoisin and scallion pancakes. “It’s what you want to eat and drink when you’re downing daiquiris,” Lynch says.
Check out the full menus below. Shore Leave will open Monday, Nov. 19, for dinner service seven nights a week from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. The bar will be open from 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
11 William E. Mullins Way at Harrison Ave., South End, 617-506-7932, shoreleaveboston.com