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Tiki time at Wink & Nod in the South End

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

Where to Wink & Nod, a new speakeasy-style bar in the South End.

What for A Prohibition-era atmosphere, tiki drinks and creative house cocktails, and food from Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta, the duo behind the pop-up Whisk.

The scene The entrance to Wink & Nod is guarded by a doorman, but there is no secret password to get into this swank little spot decorated with crimson flocked-velvet wallpaper and zebra-patterned rugs. At the three-sided bar, guests drink from classy coupes and kitschy tiki mugs. (There is one that looks like Magnum P.I., as well as a punch bowl shaped like a pot cupcake come to nightmarish life.) Head up a few stairs to a parlor stocked with couches and chairs upholstered in citron, orange, brown tartan, and tufted leather. The soundtrack prowls from the Pink Martini-esque to ragtime to what might best be described as techno scat. Women servers with hair dyed bright red attend to a table filled with theatrically gesturing patrons — a troupe of actors post-rehearsal? At the bar are couples, friends, and men with beards staggered with clean-cut prepsters: beard, chin, beard, chin. A group takes selfies amid much laughter.

What you’re eating Thick black strands of ink-tinged pasta with baby octopus, cauliflower, and black garlic (above). Yakitori presented in a smoke-filled jar. Even the bar nuts aren’t standard bar fare, served with cloves of candied garlic, cilantro, and nuoc cham.


Care for a drink? The Madonna features gin, sloe gin, curacao, and billows of egg white. If you are living in a material world, there is the Billionaire’s Bijou, a medley of rare booze that goes for $100.

Overheard Talk about tiki drinks and tiki glasses, data and dating. “I can’t get it into my mouth fast enough,” says one woman, sipping her Madonna. Two co-workers discuss an office dilemma: “We keep writing off the beer as office supplies. It’s gotta stop, guys. We can’t have $800 worth of office supplies every week.” Someone is telling the tale of a date who dropped off the face of the earth. “Wait, did you die? When they found a body in the Charles, I was sure it was him.” “She was good on LinkedIn,” someone is saying. “We were doing unusual things with data,” says another. “Can I have the fish glass?” someone requests of a bartender, who opens doors behind the bar to reveal glasses shaped like everything but fish. “I should just keep this open,” the bartender says. A patron agrees: “Don’t hide your tiki,” he says. Words to live by.


3 Appleton St., South End, Boston. 617-482-0117.

Devra First can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.