Sometimes the bars closest to home are the ones that take the longer for us to get to. After being open almost an entire year, we finally made the hour-and-a-half journey to Philadelphia hipster territory (affectionately known as Fishtown) to down a libation or two at The Yachtsman, Philly’s only Tiki bar.
First off, I’m not sure why Fishtown gets such a bad rap. The last time I checked, gentrification was a good thing, and I have no problem with local stores (like Yachtsman and Jinxed) moving into crappy areas and cleaning them up. Sure, the bar probably didn’t need to use Kickstarter to avoid taking out loans, but hell, it almost worked for the GwarBar.
The only thing questionable about The Yachtsman is its decision to charge upwards of $14 for a Tiki drink in a town that is used to paying $2 for a PBR. But here’s the good news. The drinks are worth the money. We showed up around 5pm on a warm Saturday afternoon and the place had a decent amount of frat boys meandering around the bar drinking an assortment of liquid concoctions. The bar itself is not overly Tiki; most of the decor is island chic and wouldn’t be out of place at a Jimmy Buffet bar. But there’s something to be said about sipping on a Zombie in the heart of an urban jungle with the spring breeze wafting through the door and the sounds of the tropics in the air.
I typically order a Mai Tai to gauge the drink quality at a Polynesian-themed bar, but I was feeling a little more dickish and ordered a Painkiller, since most bars won’t put it on the menu fearing legal repercussions from Pussers. The bartender did not flinch at my request, and shook up a near-perfect mix of coconut cream, rum, nutmeg and pineapple. The Navy Grog and Pina Colada were just as flawless, served with a healthy portion of fresh fruits and top-shelf rums.
We spent three solid hours at The Yachtsman, talking about high school reunions that shouldn’t happen and the survival of journalistic integrity while watching the steady flow of fratastic millennials pondering the definition of tiki while getting hammered on Zombie Punch. In order words, it was the perfect Philly Tiki bar. All in all, this was well worth the trip to the City of Brotherly Love and we will more than likely be back.