Each month, we ask local bartenders and waitstaff for the inside scoop on San Diego's hottest dining and drinking establishments.
Eric “Shrimp Toast” Long
Live: Golden Hill
Work: Little Italy
How Long: San Diego native
Most popular cocktail?
Going to have to give this one to our house Mai Tai. I’m probably going to stir the pot with this statement — but it’s the best Mai Tai being made in this city. The classic Trader Vic recipe: hand squeezed lime to order, orgeat, curaçao and Denizen Merchant’s Reserve rum. It’s tart, juicy and has a pleasant bite from the healthy dosage of rum. Order one, drink it, then order another one and tell me it isn’t the best Mai Tai you’ve ever had.
Most adventurous or underrated cocktail?
I’ll give this one to our Victory on the Red Sea. It’s our spin on a Three Dots and a Dash — which could easily be my favorite tiki drink to begin with. We keep the same citrus build (lime and orange), along with the pimento dram and falernum (think baking spice). What we add is house ginger cordial and Fernet (no, your Fernet coin does NOT get you a free one). Finish it off with a blend of some overproof Jamaican rum and aged agricole Rhum. The first few sips are spicy and weird, full sensory overload. Further into the drink, you start to realize its prowess, and how oddly awesome the cocktail actually is.
Best Place to Sit?
Sit at the bar, and if you want to watch what a wavy inflatable guy looks like bartending, sit in front of my well! For groups, the big six-tops in the middle are amazing — really cool lighting and Bosko carvings. There are so many different ways to experience this bar, and they are all unique and awesome.
Best time to visit?
Weekdays are a little more mellow compared to weekends. Right when we open seems to be an ideal time to jump on the waitlist, you might even cruise right in. Also, around 9pm there seems to be always be a little break in the crowds/resos. Though saying this will probably nullify it, and 9pm will now be our busiest hour. Sorry ya’ll.
Reservation or drop in?
I always suggest reservations, and that goes for anywhere! It’s better to ensure yourself a seat a couple weeks out so you can get the full experience. That being said, the waitlist isn’t too bad during the week. Throw your name down and grab couple of beers at Craft & Commerce while you wait. Patience is a virtue, and at the end of this wait you’re rewarded with rum…
How do we dress?
We don’t have a dress code, I’ve seen everything from nice suits to light-up angel wings (CRSSD Fest, yo!). We do have a really awesome group of folks called the SD Ohana, they come the third Thursday of every month fully decked out in vintage tiki garb. It gets other guests excited to see them, and gets them interested in tiki, beyond just the cocktails.