How a basement bar turned into Ohio's third tiki lounge

Updated: Mar. 24, 2017 at 4:54 PM EDT
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HUDSON, OH (WOIO) - A few people could belly up in a grass skirt to Sean Coffey's basement tiki bar at his Bath home but after years of dreaming of opening a business, Tiki Underground in Hudson can now host up to 100 people in Hawaiian shirts.

Tiki Underground is Ohio's third tiki bar after Porco Lounge and Tiki Room in Cleveland and the Grass Skirt Tiki Lounge in Columbus.

"We've been playing around with opening this for three or four years now," said Coffey, who co-owns the Tiki Underground with his wife Jessie. He said he's been collecting memorabilia and living the tiki life culture for years.

"Fifteen years ago there was just a bar built into the house and I always loved rum and rum-based rinks and it helped me get into the tiki culture," he said. "It's a dream come true for me and my wife. We happened to stumble across this place and so far it's been great."

The bar and restaurant serves classic Polynesian drinks and bar food that pairs with the umbrella-worthy cocktails.

Tiki Underground has been open for a few weeks but an official grand opening at 5893 Akron Cleveland Road is planned for 5 p.m. March 25 with a ribbon cutting.

The list of drinks ranges from Mai Tais, daiquiris, a Painkiller, dark and stormy and Chi Chis to red and white wines and domestic and imported beers.

The lounge is filled with authentic tiki decorations and about seven rums you won't find in a typical bar. But although patrons feel like they are stepping into a Hilton hotel bar from the 60s, there's one item that's hard to come by in Ohio -- good lime juice.

"It doesn't taste right in bottles," said Coffey. "And they are almost impossible to get in Ohio because of our location ... you get that battery taste here."

Coffey took a tip from famous New York mixologist David Arnold and bought a centrifuge. It's a machine with a rapidly rotating container that applies centrifugal force to its contents to separate fluids from solids.

"It gives it a better flavor," Coffey said.

That "better flavor" lime juice can go into one of the bar's mugs but those who are really into tiki culture could buy their own from a collection of only 40 customized mugs made for the bar for $333. That big cost also gets special mug owners into the Tiki Underground Syndicate. Those in the group will get special invitations to test new drinks, a Tiki Underground shirt and the preference to reserve tables for events hosted by the bar.

Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to midnight. Coffey said he plans to be open seven days a week soon.

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