The Land of Reef 

Once upon a time, in a building on the corner of Sixth and Main streets, a kingdom of all things tiki took up residence in the lofty second floor space. So energetic and infectious was the tropical atmosphere that it refused to be contained within the meager walls of brick, and without restraint, the land of Reef spilled out onto a tiki-torched and fronded rooftop patio, to which the inhabitants of the city below frequently flocked beneath warm summer sunsets.

Were this a review of the edibles peddled in the land of Reef, we'd bestow trophies of solid gold fish upon the deserving culinary crew. But beneath the heading of Drink, our attention is squarely turned to the liquid, tropical, slurpable sorts of goods, and the only fish we'll concern ourselves with are the mid-arch marlins hanging, forever hooked, from the ceiling.

An enthusiastic glutton for exploratory tastebud torture, I've spent many journeys into the land of Reef sipping the house's Mexican Lemonade in between liberal applications of soothing Chapstick. The habanero's version of a margarita on ice, the Mexican Lemonade delivers the perplexing sensation of simultaneous heat and cold, sour and spicy, and it was always inconsistent. Sometimes it was a marg with a kick. Sometimes it was just a kick with habanero-spiked, steel-toed boot.

On a recent whimsical visit I gave up and ordered a Corona, and instantly I realized my mistake as I perused the drink menu. Rogue's Dead Guy and Brutal Bitter, as well as Lagunitas, Stone's Arrogant Bastard and Terminal Gravity IPA made tap appearances. The Lava Flow took me straight back to lazy days on a beach in Kauai, and Trader Victor Burgeron's mai tai looks like a yo-ho pirate's life concoction with Appleton's, fresh lime juice, rock candy syrup, fresh orgeat and a Goslings floater--color me tai, indeed.

Reef, 125 S. 6th St., 287-9200

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