You never know who might drop by your home bar, so be prepared.
It was getting close to happy hour at The Below Decks, Steven and Michael’s home tiki bar. The door to the driveway was wide open to allow for the close-by ocean breeze. Steven was mixing a batch of cocktails, while Michael was doing final prep for their guests. Without warning, the shadow of a UPS delivery man stood in the doorway.
“Can I buy a drink?”
The shadow wasn’t joking. As his driving companion looked a bit bewildered from the truck, the UPS guy stepped in and dropped off a package. Michael, not missing a beat, handed him a garnished cocktail and bid him aloha. Apparently, this delivery guy had hauled one too many boxes that day. He swiped the hand-crafted cocktail and swallowed it in one gulp like a cheap shot of tequila at some parrot bar. Michael, nonplussed, retorted “Ok, now. Looks like you’re all good.” while the UPS guy spun around and went on his more-than-the-usual merry way. Steven was still behind the bar, looking a bit shocked. Was this some new type of special delivery?
Not many people can claim that DEVO has sung in their home tiki bar, but Steven and Michael can. When Gerald Casale, co-lead founder and singer of DEVO, dropped by one day, Michael wanted to express gratitude for a favorite song, “Peek-A-Boo.” Michael’s friend, also in attendance at the time, wasn’t familiar, so Gerald started to sing: “Put your hands to your face, and cover up your eyes … don’t look until I signal.” Apparently, playing peek-a-boo with Devo did nothing for friendly facial recognition. Thankfully, it didn’t matter. Gerald didn’t care.
Steven and Michael are well-prepared for any unexpected guest at The Below Decks. What Steven calls their “little ’50s garage” tiki bar is a treasure trove of Disneyland collectibles and is aptly named after the below decks on the Sailing Ship Columbia in Frontierland. You’ll find an original water bucket and leaves from the long-gone Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, a lamp from New Orleans Square, an Enchanted Tiki Room Drummer, a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine complete with sea monster, and an exit sign from the Enchanted Tiki Room. Balancing out the tiki equation, you’ll also notice Oceanic Art, Lake Tiki, Tiki Diablo, and Tiki Tony artifacts throughout the space. Michael lovingly calls their space the “perfect place for hoarding.”
Steven used to be a gin and tonic man, but times have changed. His extensive collection of bitters and spirits takes up more shelf space now that he’s years into mastering mixology. He’s at the point of replacing tiki mugs with bottles of booze. He and Michael love to entertain, so a perfect night begins and ends at The Below Decks. A group of friends will gather. Steven will mix up a tasting of six different cocktails. Michael will prepare dinner, and the evening will quickly turn to magic. It’s the perfect denouement from Steven’s straight-laced day job as a lawyer in the Attorney General’s Office.
“What’s great about this place is that it’s helped me meet people like you.” I blushed at Steven’s kind words but wasn’t prepared for what happened next. I suddenly felt an inappropriate urge to gulp down a drink and play peek-a-boo.