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Hidden Happy Hour: Adrift

Escape to the islands with tiki cocktails and more at Adrift

The pineapple—a tart, luscious fruit associated with island life—is a celebrated symbol of hospitality. As the story goes, captains who had returned home after being at sea for months at a time would signal their return by putting a pineapple out on front steps of their home. At Adrift {218 South Broadway, Denver; 303.778.8454}, new owner Paul Tamburello offers a twist on tradition, decorating the restaurant’s bar with a handful of glass pineapples filled with house-infused rums and tequilas. If that’s not the biggest welcome sign of them all, then we don’t know what is.


Escape to the islands with new tiki cocktails and more at Adrift

After changing hands last year, Adrift reopened this past September introducing an immersive Polynesian experience to South Broadway. Tamburello—of Highlands ice cream hotspot Little Man and the recently unveiled Sweet Cooie’s—and his team fine-tuned the interior, removing some of the kitschy accouterments while doing a complete overhaul of the cocktails and menu offerings.


The Whiskey Challenge

When you think of tiki drinks, the mind sails to sweetened, sugary passionfruit forward concoctions, sprinkled with heavy shavings of coconut. Adrift, however, strays away from the cliché, presenting a full lineup of cocktail creations in order of sweetness, ranging from the booze-heavy Zombie ($12) crafted with white and dark rum, to the classic Macadamia Nut Chi-Chi ($10) with vodka, pineapple, and coconut. As an homage to Polynesian culture, this South Broadway hotspot recently unveiled its Ohana Happy Hour for island treats on the cheap.

Serving island-style cocktails, the happy hour menu includes $5 island cocktails crafted with your choice of house-infused tequila, rum, and vodka; cold concoctions such as Daiquiris and the Frozen Rum Punch; and current bartender creations. You can also craft your own with $4 beach pours of vodka, gin, bourbon, rum, or tequila. Speaking of spirits, guests can also choose from the ever-expanding list of 65 rums, with a soon-to-be-unveiled rum flight.


The Pele Wings seasoned with Caribbean jerk spices and glazed with a spicy gochujang are finished with thin strips of peppers and pineapple chunks. Load up on $1 wings and pair with a shareable tiki drink.

As for a taste of island cuisine, Chef Shaun Motata has created a menu of affordable bites perfect for snackers and ravenous diners alike. Order up $1 Pele Wings brined with Caribbean jerk sauces, or $2 Kona Kalua Pork Sliders slathered with pineapple chutney atop pork braised with pineapple, sugar, coffee, ginger, and spiced yogurt. For hungrier appetites, guests can order the $10 Surfer Special—a beer of your choice served with a burger and palm-sized taro chips, wings, Hawaiian tofu, or a pork rice bowl. Show up in your favorite (or least favorite) Hawaiian garb, and receive a complimentary Chi-Chi, with the purchase of any happy hour offering.


For a dish sure to wow, order the Tuna Poké with ahi tuna, onions, and micro-cilantro served in a bubbling cauldron

With warmer months ahead, Adrift will soon unveil a revamped patio perfect for island fare, but for now, order up your favorite sipper and get lost in the flavors of the islands.

Adrift’s Ohana Happy Hour is available from 4-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday. (In addition to the specials mentioned above, all tiki cocktails are $2 off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.)

By Morgan Carter, Editor