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Adrift, Denver, CO (restaurant)

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Beautiful new bar with full tiki decor and classic drinks to satisfy seasoned tropical drink enthusiasts. they have done a terrific job with honoring past tiki traditions but adding some updates so the place feels fresh and hip to folks just hitting a tiki bar for the first time. The drinks are all carefully crafted, the food is an interesting range from Asian to Polynesian to South American. The staff is kind and very attentive and interested in giving you a great experience, and tropical/lounge music is played in the background with not a single TV in sight! Upcoming events include monthly luaus and Sunday movie nights. Highly reccommended! They have done a wonderful job with this place.

[ Edited by: Cap'n Cook 2012-11-10 08:46 ]


I tried going to Adrift again to FINALLY sample some of their food, but no love; they don't open until 5:00pm. I've been there a few times for drinks and have had a great time. Next time I'm in Denver I'll head back.

[ Edited by: TikiTie 2012-12-23 16:00 ]


I just found this bar and their menu says they have Khao Soi ... it's the yellow curry chicken noodle food of the gods. Plan to drag friends there soon ... how does one propose Tiki meetups?

Finally got here the other night, and was quite pleased. The decor was definitely tiki, but more on the understated side of things. The menu only has a few food choices, but everyone's food was much better than expected for bar food and quite well seasoned. My wife, who is Cajun, had the Po Boy and she ranked it up there with one she had in Louisiana—thumbs up!

I had a Suffering Bastard and Bird of Paradise, and a friend had a Zombie. All were very well prepared and delicious, and definitely not in the weak side of things.

The only thing that concerned me was how empty the place seemed on a Thursday night. The back room where we were seated was entirely empty, although there were a few people in the front room.

I snapped some pics, pardon the quality (iPhone plus low light plus good liquor!):


I'm going to be in Denver this weekend. Would love to hit up Adrift. Any confirm whether they started using their signature coconut mug yet?


I did not see it when I was there, but I'm not sure which drinks are served in it.

Tikis in front of Adrft. The second one can be seen behind the tree.

In town and planning to visit tomorrow night. Any advice from the locals?

Or requests for (legitimately obtained) ephemera and/or photos?

[ Edited by: Joshua Bell 2014-06-26 22:54 ]


There will be three new mugs (shown here will be available), as well as a couple extra special 'Scorpion Bowl' sized ones.

Keoni posted on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 5:40 AM

On 2016-08-16 05:40, Keoni wrote:
Adrift has been sold.


"The notice states that renovations will keep Adrift, which originally opened in 2012, closed for a couple of weeks, but that it will reopen with new decor, a new menu and enhanced service."

Doesn't sound good. If I were in the Denver area, I'd start keepin' an eye on the construction.....er....I mean..."destruction" dumpsters they'll probably be tossing a lot of the decor into.



The image of the sign on the door says: "Adrift will continue to be Denver's premier Polynesian experience."

Here is the picture of the sign from the article linked above.

It certainly sounds like the bar will continue to be tiki.


I wonder what a few weeks translates in to? I will be coming in to town in a few weeks for Riot Fest. Hopefully it will be back up and running by then.


A Denver Post article states that the new owner plans to reopen Aug 31. I'll miss it as I'll be in town for the Denver Modernism Show and will leave Denver Aug 30.


On 2016-08-21 04:02, tikijackalope wrote:

A Denver Post article states that the new owner plans to reopen Aug 31. I'll miss it as I'll be in town for the Denver Modernism Show and will leave Denver Aug 30.

Sweet I will be flying in rather late on the 31st... May be an appropriate place for a night cap!

Anyone hear any updates? Just so happens I'll be passing through Denver tonight and was hoping things were kept on schedule but I'm betting not. It does not appear the new owners have even taken over the website or social media for the place. Anyone have suggestions on a good place to get food or drink while in town? We're considering Casa Bonita despite the horrific food reviews and fact they don't have a bar.

On 2016-08-31 08:25, mikehooker wrote:
We're considering Casa Bonita despite the horrific food reviews and fact they don't have a bar.

Casa Bonita is always a good time, and take the food for what it's worth, part of the price of admission to see an amazing relic from the 70's - 80's with amazing indoor décor. For anyone who is into tiki bars, Casa Bonita is worth seeing due to their own style of intense detail in the theming.

The food is not "horrific" as I recall from my last visit about 7 years ago. It's just not really high-end. It's entertainment and atmosphere first, and food second, in my opinion. Go see it while you can - there's no telling how long places like this last - it has an INDOOR WATERFALL DIVER SHOW.

Seriously, tikiphiles should try hard to visit when they're in the area just to see the magnitude of the effort in theming the various areas.

I 100% agree about Casa Bonita. That, and the Buckhorn Exchange, were the highlight restaurants of my Denver visit in February...(unfortunately) not Adrift.


looks like mike beat me to it... aloha shirt packed just in case.

i land shortly after 8 and plan to buzz by the adrift location just in case.

if not, casa bonita is on my list for the weekend.

On 2016-08-31 14:22, Freeland wrote:
looks like mike beat me to it... aloha shirt packed just in case.

i land shortly after 8 and plan to buzz by the adrift location just in case.

if not, casa bonita is on my list for the weekend.

Packed mine too but looks to be for naught. I called over there as you did the other day and no answer, just a machine saying they plan to reopen beginning of September. Bummer. We'll be getting into Denver around 7:30, freshen up and head over to Casa around 8:30 or 9. Gimme a call if you wanna join us.

Hamo posted on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 10:04 AM

A little more info about Adrift at this link, including an updated re-opening date of September 15:


I'm planning on being in the Denver area this Sunday, so hopefully it'll be open and I can convince the friends I'll be with to go....

Here's another story about what the "New" Adrift Bar will be:


Aloha seems to be the proper greeting to welcome back Adrift, the popular South Broadway tiki bar, because not only are we saying hello to something new, but also goodbye to its former self. Because as of this Saturday, new owners Paul Tamburello and Loren Martinez of Little Man Ice Cream will debut their revamped version of the Polynesian haunt after announcing the takeover earlier last month. But don’t expect any giant milk cans, though, since much of Adrift 2.0 will stay true to its original spirit by honoring its Hawaiian roots. However, the kitschy vibe that characterized the Adrift of yesteryear is said to be no longer, and in its place will be an attempt to create an immersive cultural experience:

“We are not interested in exploiting a newfound ‘Tiki-Craze.” We want to immerse ourselves in the Polynesian culture, learn about it and celebrate it,” explained Tamburello. “Unlike kitsch, Tiki-tacky bars, Adrift is focused on authenticity, a welcoming spirit and an invitation to escape.”

A part of this new-found identity will include a new bar and food menu that draws upon the “culture and iconography of the South Pacific to embrace its mystical power and fresh flavors.” One of Adrift’s chefs’ Shaun Motata, was born and raised in Hawaii and brings a menu built with small plates, Pu Pu platters and Hawaiian mix plates, as well as, Kilauea Poke, Guava BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Pele Chicken Wings, Kona Kahlua Pork Sliders and even a Spam burger made with grilled pineapple chutney. Little Man confirmed there will be ice cream, but are keeping that portion of the menu a secret for the time being.

While it seems the restaurant attempts to steer away from kitschy trends, the bar embraces the classic tiki menu and highlights potent rum-based drinks including Mai Tais, Zombies, Hurricanes and a shareable “Scorpion Bowl.”

For Tamburello, though, the driving factor for purchasing Adrift is far beyond trends and seeks to satisfy a “lifelong dream” with the creation of the Mana Immersion Fund. The fund, which is named after the Polynesian word for spiritual power, will benefit from a percentage of every sale at Adrift and provides supports to aspiring humanitarians while they “immerse themselves in projects of goodwill in communities all over the world.” Tamburello, known for his philanthropic deeds at Little Man, explained that the fund is the force behind the decision to buy Adrift, stating that his passion to give back is “the inspiration behind this whole thing.”

Come say Aloha to the new Adrift with its grand re-opening celebration this Saturday, September 17 from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. with the kitchen open until midnight.

From the article it sounds like it will be more like an Hawaiian food restaurant and bar. Perhaps calling it a "politically correct" Tiki Bar!

Anyone been there since the reopening?

Hamo posted on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 11:17 AM

Friends, family and I were in Denver on Sunday, September 18, and we made a mid-afternoon stop at Adrift.

It was their second day of operation after reopening; however, it was our first time visiting, so I can't make any comparisons to its previous incarnation. I will say that my impression of the place currently is that it's going for a sort of modern, sleek interpretation of Polynesian restaurants from tiki's heyday.

The host stand, a large Tangaroa-esque tiki, is just inside the door, the bar to the right, and a nice big mural of what looks like Matson Cruise Line menu artwork on the opposite wall. Judging from old pictures in this thread, it appears that the mural was salvaged and moved from a different wall which has been removed.

Our server was Zach, who has worked at Adrift for the past six months and survived the transition in ownership. He made some suggestions from the drink menu, which he said was based on classic 1950s recipe formations. I started with the Mai Tai.

My “adoptive mother” also chose a Mai Tai, and my real sister (not pictured, and designated driver) had the Hurricane.

Here's our “brother” enjoying a Shark's Tooth, while his father tried a Macadamia Nut Chi Chi.

We all enjoyed the food, though I don't remember what everybody else had. My sis and I shared the Adrift Pu Pu Platter, which included Kahlua pork sliders, ribs, wings, tempura onion rings, mofongo, and edamame.

Then more drinks. Dr. Funk for me, and a couple of Fog Cutters for others.

The only real disappointments revolved around music and lighting. The soundtrack seemed to be mostly a Cherry Poppin' Daddies album with a few Sinatra and Dean Martin singles and the like mixed in. Certainly, some exotica—both classic and contemporary—would be much more appropriate. And even though there were wooden shutters to cover the windows, some were left open, and the western sun could still come in through cracks in the closed shutters, creating an environment that was just a bit too harsh and bright. Maybe something like tinted film over the windows could solve that problem, while adding a sense of mystery from the sidewalk.

Still, it was an enjoyable few hours. There were plenty of tikis (including some in the bathroom), art, bamboo, float lights, etc.; the drinks were good and pretty “authentic;” the food was very tasty; and the service was relaxed but attentive. Go, if you have the chance. I think it's worth it.

The new owners have changed the look of the outside of Adrift by removing the bamboo hut and moving the tikis next to the front door.

They also have a new mug designed by Pop Tiki.

Hamo posted on Sat, May 6, 2017 10:01 PM

Made it back tonight. A few different drinks on the menu this time (no Fog Cutter or Dr. Funk), the music was mostly reggae, and that Pop Tiki mug is $65 (so I left without one). Still, it was a lovely evening out on the patio.

Wife and I are in Denver for a conference so w made it over to Adrift on Friday afternoon. A couple miles from downtown but given the strength of the libations better to get a ride there and back anyway!
The music on Friday was mostly vintage surf which works for me. One nice feature is that they offer a free frozen cocktail if you show up in your "trader Vic's Best" . I'm always wearing Hawaiian shirts so I qualified; oddly enough no other patron planned ahead or maybe Aloha shirts aren't acceptable attire in Denver. The real drinks were outstanding, we tried the Missionaries Downfall, Suffering Bastard, Mai Tai, and the Zombie (limit two they say). All good- the Zombie was especially interesting. That and the Mai Tai being free - Was literally sitting there thinking "I'm going to order a Mai Tai next" when the waitress brings one over for free because the bartender made one extra by mistake! That convinced me to buy the Pop Tiki much (in brown, I'll out a photo later).
The food was all good- we were there at happy hour so just sampled a number of the appetizers. The taro chips were delicious and fresh. The ribs were absolutely outstanding- meaty and fall of the bone slow cooked.
The interior is nice, a lot of vintage - one Witco Wahine wall hanging next to the bar and a couple other Witco Tikis, a couple Palm Tree tikis that look like they came from Florida, and a tall Tiki by the back door that looks like the work of a guy who makes and sells his stuff along US1 in Islamorada. I have one of his pieces at home and will post name and image separately. The balance of items probably came from California - which makes sense for a bar in Denver, nice mix of east and west coast items. Everyone should definitely stop by there when in Denver.

And they pack the mug in an Appleton Rum can - which makes sense seeing as how pricey it is- but get a couple of those Zombies and the price may seem affordable to you as well.

[ Edited by: Aloha pinball 2017-05-29 16:12 ]


We had brunch this morning at Adrift, its a new menu they're doing for the summer. We met some friends there (total of 9 of us) and it was more like lunch by the time we all got there. I had the omelette and Corpse Reviver No 2 while my wife had the Jaws (a burger done loco moco style) and a non-alcoholic Hawaiian punch. We also split an order of malasadas. Everyone in the party liked the food and had a great time. The only real negative is that the portions were on the smaller side for the cost but teh quality almost makes up for it. The music was low and we were talking a lot so I didn't really pick up what they were playing. It was pretty empty at noon on a Saturday (normal hours are 4pm to midnight/1am). The service was great, the waiter even split the check among the 5 parties without being asked.

They now have a display case in the hallway to thee restrooms showing their Pop Tiki mugs in the various glazes (I bought one on our last trip), some tiki charms/pendants, and a Pop Tiki bowl where the price is "ask staff". Given the mug is $65 I'm assuming the bowl will be over $100. Last time we went they said they were getting custom swizzle sticks done but no sign of them yet.


I'd go back for brunch if friends want to but if its just my wife and me we'd go for dinner where the portion/cost ratio is a little better.

Looks Nice!

Any idea who carved the two large tikis at the door?


On 2017-08-27 09:17, tikijimmy wrote:
Looks Nice!

Any idea who carved the two large tikis at the door?

They are large, but pineapples and big teeth don't do it for me personally.

I thought Wayne Coombs did I great job with his big teeth tikis....of course Wayne Coombs HAD big teeth....huge grin...great guy (and he occasionally used a pineapple pattern or two)...to each his own I reckon....

Hamo posted on Sun, Aug 27, 2017 4:37 PM

Just at Adrift yesterday. They changed the window shutters since the last time I sat inside (my previous visit was spent on the patio), so the ambiance was a little darker. Food was great, drinks were good, music still left something to be desired. As I was leaving, Pop Tiki arrived (with his wife, I assume) and began showing some of his new mugs to management.

As for those toothy tikis, they were reused from the original incarnation of the bar. Perhaps not the best first impression, but there are plenty of other "authentic" tikis once you make it inside, so I can live with them.


On 2017-08-27 15:50, tikijimmy wrote:
I thought Wayne Coombs did I great job with his big teeth tikis....of course Wayne Coombs HAD big teeth....huge grin...great guy (and he occasionally used a pineapple pattern or two)...to each his own I reckon....

Totally agree...Wayne Coombs is the only one who could pull it off. His worked. RIP


I do remember there was at least one guy who worked for Wayne at one time who left working for Wayne and ripped off Wayne's style to hear Wayne tell it back then.

And yeah Wayne's style could get a bit big in the teeth and the pineapples could give a not so great vibe at times.

Great guy Wayne was, I have a few of his tiki and love them.
No pineapples, and no big teeth on mine.

BUT Wayne was pretty good about putting Mai Tiki on his work so these may not be his.
They do have his style, look.

TC had a love hate relation ship for Wayne's work, but it was funny, pitiful? to see the folks who did not really like Wayne when he was alive absolutely LOOooVvEEe Wayne when he died.

Even had a Hukilau dedicated to Wayne right after he died I think.


Was there Saturday night. Had a great time. Place looked good overall. Service was top notch. No complaints at all. I only had a bite of food, but it was tasty (small portions beware). We tried four drinks total. All were good and met my expectations. The merch was lacking though as they really only had a t-shirt for sale. I sat at the bar and several people asked about stickers, mugs, etc.. If you have time in Denver...go. Adrift is in a great area to have fun in and it is a quality tiki bar.

Hamo posted on Fri, Mar 15, 2019 6:43 PM

This winter Adrift has been hosting all-you-can-eat luaus the last Sunday of the month (a day they’re otherwise closed). I’ve made a reservation for this month, and I’ll report back.

Hamo posted on Mon, Apr 1, 2019 11:17 PM

As promised, here's a recap of Adrift's Last Sunday Luau, which we attended yesterday.

You'll recognize my sister and brother-in-law from Mr. Tiki's visit last year. Not pictured are his parents (my brother-in-law's, not Mr. Tiki's). This was the first time any of us had been back to Adrift since their wedding reception.

When we arrived for our reservation, we were seated immediately. The few empty tables filled up with other parties, but the place never got crowded. Everyone received a imitation lei of decent quality. Food was an all-you-could-eat buffet of kahlua pork, huli huli chicken, Hawaiian macaroni salad, Hawaiian pickles, sticky rice, and king rolls. Everything was great; I especially enjoyed the chicken. Drinks were good. I had a Mai Tai and a Three Dots. My sister and her mother-in-law liked their first Jungle Birds; Brother-in-Law started with a Zombie.

The evening also featured entertainment by the Kalama Polynesian Dancers, who presented Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Samoan dances.

Then, of course, came the audience participation.

We had a great time. If Adrift continues to do these luaus, and you're able to make it, I suggest you go.



Thank you for the report. I believe the Luau is only during the winter months. They had them last year as well. I've wanted to attend but I'm not usually free on Sunday evenings.

Had a great time last Sat. nite. Unfortunately the kitchen was closed. The three of us shared Zombies , Three dot’s, and Mai Tai’s. All very tasty.Bought some cool mugs ( no names or logos) and a laminated menu. Talked tiki with cool Josh the manager/bartender. Josh was so nice that my wife and I are looking through our collection for an appropriate mug to send him. Hope I can get back there again-liked everything about the place.

Hamo posted on Sun, Jul 28, 2019 2:04 PM

Shoot, nui, it would have been fun to have met up last week, so let me know when you do get back to Denver and Adrift, and I'll buy you a drink. Did you happen to make it to Hidden Idol, too?

I’ll make it a point to hook up Hamo. I luv road trips-especially if they lead to tiki bars. This one took us through Nevada, Utah, and of course gorgeous Colorado. We were mainly on 70. Absolutely spectacular. My granddaughter was playing in the National Soccer finals at Dick’s Sporting Goods Field out in Commerce City. We didn’t know bout Hidden Idol. It’ on my list now.It’s difficult to plan any activities cuz everything depends on the results of your last game. BTW, I look forward to your creations on “ What are you drinking....” Keep em coming.


On 2019-07-29 23:58, nui 'umi 'umi wrote:
My granddaughter was playing in the National Soccer finals at Dick’s Sporting Goods Field out in Commerce City.

Park, not Field :wink: Sorry, long time Rapids season-ticket holder.

Spent a few days in Denver to see Stereolab at the Ogden Theatre. Our niece and her boyfriend met us at the train station upon arrival and, knowing our love of tiki, took us directly to Adrift. Due to family gatherings we didn't think we'd have time to make it over there on our trip but so very glad we did, as we had an excellent experience. We had quite a few different drinks between us and shared a bowl called the Voodoo Witchdoctor Funk to finish the night - all were excellent. Our niece's boyfriend Zack knew everyone there (hell, he even answered the phone) and kept coming back from the bar with these amazing shots that were like daiquiris on steroids. So good.

They were playing a black & white version of Poltergeist on the telly and blasting old school soul with the occasional more modern soul track here and there. If you're a purist who needs surf movies and "All Denny, All Day" music-wise, you probably would have hated it. However, my missus adores horror movies and I'm a DJ so we were dead pleased. Great vibe all around, with special mention to the super-friendly staff. At the end of the night I asked if I could take a menu with me and the lady was kind enough to go through them to "find one that isn't too dirty for you!"

Denver is a great town. Cannae wait to make it back with no family obligations.


On 2019-10-11 14:10, HopeChest wrote:
They were playing a black & white version of Poltergeist on the telly and blasting old school soul with the occasional more modern soul track here and there.

We went last Saturday and they had a B&W version of You Only Live Twice playing. Given that Saturday was james Bond day I thought it was appropriate.

I also noticed the music wasn't exotica or similar, like you it didn't bother me but I know that some people would not find it pleasing. I didn't know if it was just because it was Saturday night and/or GABF weekend, which changes the patterns at local bars.

We were there Friday of the GABF weekend! The niece & boyfriend took us over there partly to get us away from the concentration of GABF folks near downtown, actually, which I really appreciated once I saw how much of an impact that festival makes. Adrift was the perfect tonic for all that.

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