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Opening any day now: The Yachtsman, Philly's only Tiki bar

A mural at The Yachtsman in Fishtown

The Yachtsman

The exterior of The Yachtsman

"I've always had a deep love for theme bars and Tiki bars," says Tommy Up (née Updegrove), proprietor of Northern Liberties' PYT burger bar and Emmanuelle, a nearby cocktail parlor. "As a kid, we would visit all kinds of interesting themed-out restaurants. I'm sure that played a big role in my love for Tiki culture."
With help from his business partner Sarah Brown, Up's lifelong fascination with themed eating and drinking is now just days away from becoming a major aspect of his professional life. The Yachtsman, a classic Polynesian-themed Tiki bar currently rising from the ashes of an old Irish pub on the corner of Frankford Avenue and West Jefferson Street in Fishtown, should be open for business in a week or two.  
According to Up, the new establishment had its genesis in a conversation last summer with two Emmanuelle bartenders who also happen to be serious Tiki enthusiasts. That chat eventually led to the signing of a 15-year lease on a century-old building.

When a series of critical structural issues were discovered during the renovation -- and The Yachtsman's budget was nearly blown -- Up and Brown turned to Kickstarter in an effort to recoup their losses. They raised nearly $40,000 in a month.

"In a sense the [success of] the Kickstarter backfired, because we had to double-down and make the bar way better than it was originally going to be," quips Up.
The Yachtsman's drink menu will feature 12 cocktails, mostly new takes on Tiki classics. The small space will also be packed with vintage Tiki accoutrements.

"A lot of thought went into doing the job that a Tiki bar is supposed to do," explains Up. "Transport you onto a mini-vacation while you're still inside the city." 

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Tommy Up
, The Yachtsman
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