By Alison Bailin Batz
Photos by J. Martin Harris Photography
After 21 years, Scottsdale mainstay Cowboy Ciao closed late last year.
“As longtime area business owners, we knew immediately we wanted to help bring something special to that space,” says Greg Donnally, co-owner of nearby Geisha A Go Go.
Enter Drunk Munk Tiki Bar + Restaurant.
The 4,600-square-foot Polynesian-themed restaurant – for which Donnally serves as co-owner along with Andrew Nam, who is also executive chef – is inspired by what they call “the island life.”
“We developed the menu as well as the cocktail program and all of the decor as homage to the islands of the South Pacific, the beaches of Hawaii, and the surf culture of Mexico,” Donnally says.
According to Donnally, the restaurant is also meant to bring back memories of another former Old Town Scottsdale hot spot: Drift Lounge.
“Drift Lounge was a staple in the Scottsdale dining and nightlife scene for a decade before it closed in 2012,” Donnally says. “With a blend of the old and new, Drunk Munk revives the Tiki culture look and feel of Drift with a midcentury modern twist.”
Upon entering, expect vibrant reds, a wood-laced ceiling meant to give the feel of entering a hut, a massive “Tiki god” statue behind the bar, and several other Tiki-inspired totem poles throughout.
“Once you walk in and take in the surroundings, our culinary program is meant to kick the island vibe into overdrive with dishes one would expect on vacation,” Donnally says, noting the menu includes flaming pu pu platters, coconut shrimp, sushi rolls and Korean short ribs.
Among their most popular dishes is the Big Island Loco Moco.
“Loco moco is a Hawaiian comfort food featuring white rice, a hamburger patty, a fried egg and homemade gravy,” Donnally says. “Ours pays respect to the classic preparation, but we also add some leeks for texture and give guests the option to substitute short rib or pulled pork in the dish.”
A perfect complement to the decor and the dishes is the massive cocktail list, all with distinct Tiki flair.
“We have two dozen classic Tiki cocktails ranging from mojitos to mai tais as well as seven frozen drinks and three sharable options we call our ‘Party People’ cocktails,” Donnally says.
The Party People Grotto cocktail, for example, is $10 per person and served in a big, shell-shaped porcelain bowl with straws. Bursting with tropical flavor, it features rum, Blue Curacao, fresh orange, pineapple, and lemon and lime juices.
Happy hour is daily from 4 to 7 p.m. with discounts on food and drink. Weekend brunch is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with island-infused twists on breakfast standards.
Drunk Munk is open Monday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Thursday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Drunk Munk Tiki Bar + Restaurant, 7133 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale; 480.699.8454; www.thedrunkmunk.com.