Craft cocktail devotees take note: on Tuesday, February 13, from 8 p.m. to midnight, Billy Club will play host to The Veiled Pearl–a tiki popup bar that promises a rum-fueled escape from the doldrums of winter (and the early work week).
The Veiled Pearl is the brainchild of bartender Danny Dispo, who cultivated a following for his tropical cocktails from behind the pine at his homebase bar, Buffalo Proper. There, weekly tiki theme nights served as testing grounds for his perfected classics, like the mai tai, and original cocktails in the tiki genre.
With his fan base and repertoire established, Dispo devised The Veiled Pearl to spread the tiki gospel and fill a void in Buffalo’s drinking culture. Elsewhere in the country, a dedicated tiki bar, replete with over-the-top, transportive island decor and an entire menu of on-theme drinks, is common to the cocktail landscape. It’s true of big, midsize, and small cities alike. But Buffalo, for whatever reason, hasn’t seen the trend take firm hold.
Dispo is out to change that. In January, he publicly launched The Veiled Pearl with a kickoff party at Hotel Henry. Moving forward, he promises popup tiki bars at a rotating cast of local venues at least as often as once a month.
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At Tuesday’s Billy Club popup, the second official Veiled Pearl event, Dispo will sling three tiki originals. But don’t let the word tiki, or the memories of fluorescent cruise ship cocktails it conjures, scare you off. The modern tiki movement may be full of kitsch and bold flavors, but it is also firmly rooted in the tenants and aesthetic of craft cocktail culture. In other words, guests at the popup can expect well-executed drinks painstakingly made with fresh citrus, house syrups and reductions, and quality spirits–all in the sort of laid back, potentially raucous atmosphere one associate’s with the rum lifestyle.
Given the timing of the event, this particular Veiled Pearl installment will also merge some “romantic” elements with its tiki vibe. Just don’t expect anything too precious. Instead, drinks with names like “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs” and “There’s Something About Mary,” and special food offerings like Dirty Rice Arancini and Hot Fire Chicken Sandwiches from the Billy Club kitchen are meant to appeal to singles and couples alike.