Since opening last summer in Ohio City, Porco Lounge and Tiki Room http://porcolounge.com (2527 W. 25th St., 216-802-9222) has been attracting Tikiphiles from near and far thanks to its dreamy Polynesian-themed cocktails and décor. The bar has single-handedly cultivated a respectable Tiki scene in Cleveland thanks to a skilled team of craft bartenders turning out well balanced, boozy and delicious renditions of Mai Tais, Zombies and Painkillers.
Now that they’ve mastered the classics, management thought it was time to push things a little further with signature cocktails, says owner Stefan Was. The result of those efforts have yielded Tiki Bob’s Concussion, a 25-dollar cocktail that packs a punch.
“Trader Vic had the two-Zombie limit — and I think that was brilliant,” says Was. “But your bartender would always slip you another if he liked you. But we wanted this to be legit. You drink one of these cocktails and I’ll shake your hand, but you’ll get only one.”
Served in a fishbowl-sized glass, possessing nine ounces of booze (three of which are 151 proof), garnished with the entire produce section of the grocery store and set ablaze in typical Tiki fashion, the drink is an instant classic. “People come in specifically for the drink,” adds Was.
Bar manager and drink creator Shannon Smith admits that, yes, his motivation was to make a ridiculously boozy cocktail that people would talk about, yet never at the expense of flavor. “I wondered if I could make something twice as strong as the Zombie but still balanced and drinkable,” he says. “And we’re not done yet. We’re just curious about where that line might be.”
The drink does come with some guidelines: they are one per customer (no exceptions), and served only before the clock strikes 10 p.m. And where better to enjoy the bevvie than on Porco’s delightful new patio, professionally landscaped and outfitted with — what else? — burning Tiki torches.
“We wanted to put our own stamp on the Tiki legacy,” explains Was. “We want 50 years down the road for this to be our contribution to the culture.”