Photo | Daniel Anderson / Lagniappe
The Haberdasher’s Roy Clark has expanded Mobile’s Tiki Week Aug. 6-11 to include five bars and Gulf Coast Ducks.

It started as just a one-night-only throwdown in 2013, when The Haberdasher’s head bartender (now general manager/beverage director) Roy Clark brought his obsession withTiki cocktails to life on a steamy downtown evening.

In 2014 he and the gang got crazier with Haberdasher Tiki Week. In 2015 the crew was tied up with The Hab’s relocation farther down Dauphin, but the usual shenanigans again commenced in 2016. Last year the seven-day party expanded to generously include four other bars for the birth of our first-ever Mobile Tiki Week, and this year’s installment is even bigger!

As you can imagine, a celebration of flashy garnishments, grass skirts, pineapple and rum can get pretty wild, but this is just another unique way of showing out-of-towners the Azalea City knows how to throw a party. To be honest, I didn’t think I even liked rum until last year. After a guided sampling led by founder Clark, I now know the differences can be nearly as vast as those of bourbons.

Partial to a glass of wine with dinner, when asked I will still claim to be a red whiskey guy. But when I go for a fancy, fruity drink I go hard. If you think these drinks are for trainees and sorority girls, think again. This event will open your eyes to the less trashy side of the daiquiri and its next of kin, but don’t take my word for it. You need to find out for yourself.

The 2018 Mobile Tiki Week has five participating bars and Gulf Coast Ducks in on the game. Along with The Haberdasher are The OK Bicycle Shop, The Merry Widow and The Noble South’s Sidecar Lounge, with newcomer Southern National rounding out a cast of characters sure to outdo previous years.

A closer look at the bars

The Haberdasher at 113 Dauphin St., the one where Clark started it all, will undergo its Tiki transformation with more than a dozen exotic cocktails, some classic and others outrageously original, with plenty of fanfare. Happy hour Tiki drinks are $2 off from 4 p.m. through 6:30 p.m. Of course, the bar is your first focus, but wait until you see the menu. The kitchen will be cranking out specials with nods to Pan-Asian, Polynesian, Caribbean and other styles of cooking from kitchens closer to the tropics.

Photo by Elise Poché

Around the corner, The Merry Widow at 51 S. Conception St. will have tropical cocktails throughout the week, and trust that they can make a mean one. Expect a Tiki twist to their Free Taco Tuesday. It’s also host to the first event, Tiki Trivia, on Monday.

A block down Conception, The Sidecar Lounge at 201-B Dauphin St. will be the place for a mai tai or swizzle fix Tuesday through Saturday, with The Noble South also serving tropical-themed drinks all week long. If you’re new in town, try the deviled eggs and pickled shrimp.

Southern National, 360 Dauphin St., are the new kids on the block, with Beverage Director Will (aka Tim) Jones creating his own tropical drinks at his corner of Cathedral Square. Find a seat at the bar or patio and let your hair down. If hunger sets in, I’m certain you’ll find something good to eat.

Last but not least, the other end of the district is represented by The OK Bicycle Shop at 661 Dauphin St. You can count eight original exotic cocktails from head bartender Nick Knaebel as you “surrender your cares and relax with the enchanting blends of juices, exotic spices and fine rums that make up the Tiki cocktail.” I love fruity drinks almost as much as I love combining sushi with tacos. And I’m very serious about sushi and tacos.

Each of these participating venues will donate a portion of their profits from these killer cocktails to Mobile Baykeeper, an organization that advocates for the environmental protection and restoration of the entire Mobile Bay watershed and our coastal communities.

Daily schedule of events

New to this year’s events are the “Tiki Ducks,” with our very own Gulf Coast Ducks taking you on a sunset ride around downtown and for a quick dip into the Mobile River as you sip on a special cocktail from The Haberdasher (included with ticket price). This 21-and-up attraction runs all week, picking up and dropping off from Bienville Square just outside The Hab. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss.

Monday, Aug. 6: Begin the week by picking up a passport at any of the participating bars. This is where your adventure begins. Each drink offered is listed and stamped upon purchase. Make a dent in it but don’t try to stamp the whole passport on the first night. It’ll be a long week if you do. Tiki Trivia begins at 7 p.m. at The Merry Widow.

Tuesday, Aug. 7: The Haberdasher will feature the Worthy Park Rum-Bar pop up. Here’s your chance to taste some Jamaican rums new to the market with Lauren of the Back Bar Project. Guest bartender Ben Hatch of Magnolia Barrel House and Branch Bar of Hattiesburg will be preparing some of his Tiki cocktails for your pleasure.

Wednesday, Aug. 8: Don’t say uncle, yet. The Daiquiri Dash pub crawl begins at The OK Bicycle Shop. Make sure you have your passports handy because you’re going to get stamped pretty hard. Wear your best tropical attire.

Thursday, Aug. 9: You’re on your own. Maybe grab a Gatorade. It’s business as usual for your favorite bartenders. Nothing special is going on except for the usual specials.

Friday, Aug. 10: Put on your finest grass skirt for “Hula Walk.” Some people call it LoDa Artwalk, but this month will be different with you rum drinkers running around.

Saturday, Aug. 11: It’s back to The Haberdasher for the 5th Haberdasher Luau and Pig Roast. All of your liver’s hard work has gotten you to this. More details to come, but this is the party to end the second annual Mobile Tiki Week. That’s a wrap!