Sometimes we forget the real reason I even moved to Florida in 2013 in the first place. Aside from expanding the reach of the law offices I work for (which has been quite successful), I came here first and foremost to open a Tiki Bar. So, yeah, how's that going? Well, I've been a busy bug, you know how it is. I had to do "market research" first by drinking in as many Florida bars as possible, you see.
What I learned: Florida is a terrible place to open a bar.
I mean, it's great if you're already a millionaire, and I happen to not be. I discovered that a liquor license in Miami costs more than it would take to buy a house in Louisville. And that's if you can get one that's available - they mysteriously sometimes simply aren't, then magically come available for the right person.
And that's if you pass the rigorous scrutiny from a board of people of the sort I don't entirely want to know about.
And if that's not bad enough, the license isn't in perpetuity: it has exorbitant yearly fees and can be taken away from you at any time for any reason, like if some important politician's nephew really wants your license, or if they just don't like your face, or they're just making random irrational cocaine decisions.
So, am I defeated? No, I mean kinda, but mostly no.
I haven't really been focusing on the matter at all lately, but it's still rattling around inside my head. I'm slowly putting feelers out to a number of bars in a number of cities, about partnering up and reinventing an already existing bar. Sooner or later I will find someone crazy enough (it's Florida, after all) to license my concept and be a team with my brains and their money.
In the meantime, I've had plenty of time to dwell on the details. This much we know: it will be a dark bar. Very, very dark. There will be no television sets, except maybe closed-circuit monitors in the restrooms that only play stuff like drive-in intermission reels and old Yma Sumac footage. The decor will be a combination of original true 50s/60s exotica-bars and a Steampunk aesthetic. I envision copiously running fountains everywhere. A VIP room in the back for cigar enthusiasts. And a very special hand-selected collection of music piped in gently but evenly with multiple small quiet speakers placed around at person-level (as opposed to the cacophony of most places that broadcast to an entire room with two large loud speakers from high above.) Those musical selections will range from exotica/lounge/space-age-pop to genuine authentic tribal musics, from old swing bands to modern chill-channel mood music.
(In the meantime, you can hear examples of these holy recordings on the #PulcovaClub hashtag on twitter.)
And the drinks, oh the drinks. There'll be a menu of painstakingly recreated old, old drinks that you never hear about anymore, or that have been resurrected improperly by modern hipster tiki joints. Not many people may wander in wanting to order a Kanaka Kapu, but when they do, boy, we'll be ready.
Know anyone with a bar that wants to expand their game and take it to another level? (Or, perhaps, more candidly, anyone with a bar that is failing and is desperate for any new gimmick to try to save it?) Talk to me.