Monday, April 22, 2024

Bamboo Club celebrates 5 years by calling on Long Beach bartenders for tiki cocktail competition

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As we push toward celebrating Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call—a 10-day, 15-event celebration of our city’s rich bar culture and the people who make it happen—we will offer a series of features that highlight everything from our most stellar cocktail programs at restaurants to to the very events occurring (like this tiki cocktail competition coming to Bamboo Club thanks to Cutwater)… All in order to lift a glass to a social and economic driver that rarely receives the love its deserves: our bar industry. For more information on Long Beach Last Call, click here.

The Bamboo Club is unquestionably the epicenter of Long Beach’s love of tiki bars and drinks, echoing to a time when our city was flush with tiki concepts and spaces, from underground bars like The Outrigger that was once underneath The Lafayette to the famed Hawaiian that once graced Pacific Coast Highway from 1955 to 1969.

Operated by Brett Gallo (of Stache Bar) and Jim Ritson (of 4th Street Wine and Ya Sabes), Bamboo passionately embodies tiki culture: The bar was designed by none other than Bamboo Ben, Huntington Beach’s third-generation tiki bar builder and the man behind everything from San Francisco’s Zombie Village to Kansas City’s TikiCat. Their cocktail menus are continually evolving and shifting thanks to tiki cocktail maestro Dustin Rodriguez’s leadership behind the bar.

And while the space will be celebrating its fifth anniversary throughout the entirety of March—look for a more detailed piece about that in the future, where the space will have everything from a daily $5 punch to a rotating round live musicians to tiki bingo—what better to kick it off than to have a good ol’ tiki cocktail competition?

The Bamboo Club wants to celebrate with a tiki cocktail competition

Spearheaded by Long Beach Bartenders Guild leader Tomas Delos Reyes, the competition is open to anyone currently working in a Long Beach bar or lives in Long Beach and works at an outside bar.

“This is about and for Long Beach’s bartenders,” Delos Reyes said. “So let’s lift them with some friendly competition.”

There will ultimately be four competitors, where Rodriguez and a team of judges will oversee the final winning choice. During this, attendees will freely get to sample the competitor’s concoctions and vote for a People’s Choice winner.

The event is free but requires a sweet lil’ RSVP—so get your free ticket here.

Interested in competing? Fill out this form before Mar. 1.

The Bamboo Club will also feature an exclusive Last Call menu

Rodriguez, who has long embodied the tiki cocktail tradition, has created a three-cocktail menu which will be exclusively featured through the stretch of Long Beach Last Call, Mar. 1 through Mar. 10.

They include…

Vic & Tio’s Day Out: Lemon | Pineapple | Passion fruit | Cutwater Barrel-Aged Rum | Hamilton 151 Demerara | Angostura bitters


First Call in Caracas: Lime | Ginger | Eucalyptus syrup | Diplomatico Planas | Mount Gay Eclipse Navy Proof Rum


Bye Bye Ladies: Pineapple | Coconut cream | Lemon | Tito’s Vodka | Trader Vic’s Macadamia Nut Liqueur


Wait–you mention “Long Beach Last Call.” What is it?

After the success of my restaurant week last year during August, Long Beach Food Scene Week, bar owners and tenders rightfully asked: “What about a week for us?”

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So I decided to oblige and present Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call, a ten-day long celebration of Long Beach’s amazing bar culture, it’s even more amazing workers, and the industry that often goes without recognition as one of our city’s largest economic and social drivers. 

Thanks to my collaborators—Scott Lennard of RNDC and Chris Lewis of Nosotros Tequila y Mezcal—we’ve created some 15 events across the ten-day span on Last Call. To say the least, we’ve worked our asses off and we hope you’ll come out and celebrate with us (that is, if we make it to Day 10 alive).

And this free competition is a part of that—but an RSVP is required so get your free ticket here.

The Bamboo Club is located 3522 E. Anaheim St.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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