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If you live and breathe in the world today, you probably agree: We could all use more tiki. Downtown Boulder just got some thanks to the Arcana team’s July 9 debut of Jungle, a contemporary tiki bar in the former PMG Wine space just off the Pearl Street Mall.
“I’ve always loved tiki bars,” says Jungle beverage director Jake Novotny. “They’re fun, and pure escapism. We go out to step out of our normal lives and be with friends in a convivial atmosphere. Tiki is the embodiment of that.”
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Jungle’s drinks are, of course, rum-centric, but more sophisticated than you might expect. Translation: less sugary-sweet in favor of exotic, well-balanced flavors. The Gandhara Forever cocktail, for example, blends Indian rum, lemongrass, aquavit, mango kefir, and herbes de provence, while one called High Off the Indo takes the southeastern Asian flavors of bananas, coconuts, Thai peppercorns, and fenugreek and marries them with a molasses-based historical rum predecessor called Batavia arrack.
Tiki purists won’t be disappointed, either. Of the 18 drinks on the cocktail menu, just shy of half are classics, so you can sip on mai tais, zombies, painkillers, and piña coladas until you feel like you’re really on that white sand beach.
Jungle’s wine list is in vacation mode, too. Arcana’s partner and advanced sommelier Michael Elmore selected all of the wines from islands like Sicily, Santorini, New Zealand, and Tasmania, because who wants a land-locked wine when you’re drinking at a tiki bar?
To eat, the Arcana team (headed by executive chef Samuel McCandless) has created a menu that spans from jerk chicken wings and yam fries to savory Jamaican beef patties and a pulled pork sandwich with oregano chimichurri. “To complement the tiki program, we’re serving soul-satisfying bar fare that nods to the Caribbean and vacation,” McCandless says.
Jungle itself is lush and bright, filled with tropical plant life and rattan and vintage French Caribbean-style furniture. Sliding floor-to-ceiling windows separate the patio from the bar to keep that holiday-worthy, indoor-outdoor vibe going.
Basically, Jungle aims to look, feel, and taste like vacation.
“It’s supposed to be a fun space that anyone can come to dressed any way they like,” Novotny says. “Although we may give guests a free glass of punch if they come dressed in a tropical shirt.”
2018 10th St., Boulder; Tues.-Sun., 3 p.m.–12 a.m.