Scorpion bowls, thatch huts, and pseudo-tropical snacks have arrived to downtown Oakland. Tiki cocktail veteran and former bar manager of Forbidden Island in Alameda, Suzanne Long opened Longitude
two weeks ago, completely transforming the former Disco Volante space into a tropically themed watering hole. Adventure is the inspiration, so here are a few tidbits to prepare you for your journey:
1. There’s an adventure club
. The minute the bartender said those words I immediately looked over to the crowd of Hawaiian shirt, safari hat-wearing middle-aged men huddled around the bar corner. “No, those are just the regulars,” he says. The adventure club refers to a vintage library catalog where you can write your name on a card and record the spirits you’ve tried. It’s smart: The extensive whiskey and rum list is arranged by country of origin and includes rare bottles from around the world.
2. Happy hour is Tues-Fri 4-7 p.m. Some of the best drinks on the cocktail menu are knocked down to $6, small plates are $4, and fries and several beers are $3. Pace yourself, please.
3. For a typical punch-style drink that’ll give you a rum-heavy bang for your buck, try the peter love grog. Two types of aged rum mingle with a concoction of lime, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, and more rum. It tastes like Christmas. On the lighter side of the menu is the malambo no.1, a tropical mimosa with passion fruit, guava, and sparkling rosé.
4. The food is all over the map. Literally. There’s bangers and mash, Kenyan-inspired navy beans in lettuce cups, teriyaki beef skewers (you can smell them caramelizing on tabletop mini-hibachis), and fried plantains. Chef Laine Steelman comes fresh off the line from Hog’s Apothecary and his favorite dish is the salt cod fritters topped with a cilantro and red pepper aioli. The samosas are brought in from Vik’s Chaat in Berkeley and they’re tasty.
5. Don’t miss the upstairs lounge. While the first floor offers a secluded covered hut and a long bamboo bar crowned by birds of paradise, the mezzanine is a quieter counter-balance. Just follow the giraffe-print carpeted staircase to the right of the bar. It’s got booth seating, a view of the downstairs and the street, and a bunch of black and white animal illustrations done by Long’s mom.
Longitude is open Tue-Thurs and Sun 4 p.m.-midnight.; Fri-Sat 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m.