Usually I focus on food, glorious food but this week I had to talk to you about a slightly different topic, cocktails. Any good meal deserves a great cocktail and while UnderTow doesn’t dish out food, it does serve up some tasty predinner drinks.
I have a had this place on the radar for some time but it wasn’t until I had a friend visiting that it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it try.
The key when looking for it is not to look for UnderTow but instead look for Sip on Indian School Road and 36th Street, next to Gino’s East pizzeria.
There is limited parking so when in doubt you can also park across the street.
It is in an old Avis oil change shop and on the ground floor is Sip, a coffee and beer place, which also serves up some tasty food, especially lunch and breakfast items.
There usually is a fun band playing or acoustic singer and this works out perfectly since UnderTow typically has a wait.
The key to avoiding the line is to go at 4 p.m. when the place opens and also has a pretty good happy hour, which includes (for the time being) half off its classic cocktails, which is pretty solid of a list.
Plan on spending an hour or two and then moving on to your dinner plans or other bars. But if you go during prime time, then grab a beer at Sip and listen to the band.
So now that you have the logistics and basics, let’s discuss the bar itself.
It’s in the oil pits of the old building. You head downstairs and you enter the hull of a ship at sea.
It has a distinctly Disney vibe to it mixed with a Trader Vic’s feel.
Imagine you are in hull of what I imagine is a pirate or traders ship with tikis and port holes and a lattice ceiling that lets in enough light that you can see when people are walking around upstairs.
It is all so detailed that it takes some time just to absorb everything.
Lights flicker and maybe it was the cocktails but it almost felt as if the boat was rocking.
Every 45 minutes or so the boats “goes” through a storm and it gets dark and lighting flashes.
If you are near a porthole, take a look outside; you’ll see what was a calm horizon turn into a rough sea with wind and rain.
It truly will make you think you took a ride to Orlando and were experiencing a new bar in Disney World.
But what you came here for has to be the island drinks focused on rum.
These drinks may be on the pricier side but they are quality drinks. I was excited to see a version of the Fogcutter called the Viking Fogcutter.
I hadn’t had one of them in years and even in Hawaii it isn’t as popular as it was back in the 1970s.
It went down smooth and hit me like a ton of bricks. The mai tais were classic and definitely worth a try if you want to pretend you are heading toward an island adventure.
If the classics aren’t your thing, there are pages of other ingenious options, so plan on a few trips to try them all.
One word of caution: it is extremely small. After an hour I suddenly felt a little claustrophobic and we decided to head back upstairs.
It was never the intention of being a place you hang all night so this won’t be a problem to most.
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