As a long-time transplant to the Triangle area, I’ve had a chance to witness its amazing transformation and evolution over the years. And sometimes when I walk into a new place, like Ark Royal Tiki Bar , it brings back memories. As the only tiki bar in Glenwood South, the bright colors and island decor take you to a different place. BUT given I lived in this hood a long time, I saw the old Taqueria Xoco, the old Sauced NY Pizza AND Enoteca Vin where Chef Ashley Christensen got her start. But that’s all ancient history and Ark Royal is bringing a whole new tiki vibe to the area. And it is VERY good.
Located a bit off the beaten path, the Ark Royal sits behind the new Pine State Public House at 410 Glenwood and is brought to you by the folks from Watts & Ward. I popped in for a quick visit and was really impressed. Hop up the metal stairs and you’ll find a small, secluded patio up front. Inside is where things take on a whole new dimension. Think lush colors, bamboo, rattan and maritime themes. They’ve done a fantastic job designing the place and their are hints of tiki coolness all around. Each section of this bar and lounge has little details to enjoy: a shark on the wall, a display of old-school clock radios, a plush love seat and wicker baskets overhead as decor are all thoughtful little touches that bring the space to life.
But more importantly the drinks, Ark Royal has a nice selection of tropical drink specialties in the $11 to $13 range along with some beer, wine and sakes. I tried out the Belafonte in homage to 50s Calypso singer, Harry Belafonte and it was wonderful. While I’m not a fan of frozen drinks, this magical potion of Tito’s vodka, coconut rum, pineapple, blue curacao and and coconut cream was just perfect. The well-blended ice made it a perfectly balanced adult slurpee which is refreshing on a warm, summer evening in North Carolina. The staff here is friendly and welcoming although I haven’t seen this place when it gets really busy. They are nicely attired in island-themed shirts without being over the top and seem to have fun here. So a big thumbs-up for the new Ark Royal! I really wasn’t expecting much but I suspect this place will be a lot of fun with friends on the weekends. And don’t miss the neon sign above the bar, it’s the latitude and longitude settings for the center of Ark Royal, that’ll be our little secret…
410 Glenwood Avenue, #350
Raleigh, NC 27603
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