Navy Strength is Anu and Chris Elford's tiki bar that's every bit as fun as it is nuanced and filled with seriously good cocktails. (You can read more about that in "Paradise Reconsidered" from our November issue.) The Belltown bar opened in March, and has since transported us to India—a nod to Anu's heritage—via such drinks as chai old fashioneds and garam masala whiskey collins, alongside tiki classics like planter's punch and mai tais. But as promised, the globe-trotting travel section of its menu is changing locales: Navy Strength will set course to the Philippines.
Drinks will be as smart as they ever were, but now with flavor combos like bourbon with toasty rice, cognac with papaya, and gin with aloe, plus kalamansi, a sweeter, lime-like citrus, makes a few appearances. One such Philippines-inspired cocktail reads, "Weary-eyed and jet-lagged, you ask the barman for a beer and shot. What he pours you warms your soul..." It's a shot of dark or spice cola rum with a San Miguel light. Simple, and yet, it manages to deliver the national Filipino beer of choice, a lager designed for tropical climes, to a tiki bar in Seattle. Other cocktails are a bit more involved: Gabriela's Old Fashioned is a glass of "winter spices [that] meet tropical fruit and strong exotic barrel notes in a tribute to Gabriela Silang." A libation worthy of an eighteenth century revolutionary badass.
Beyond the new slate of Philippines-inspired beverages, tropical and tiki drinks (including two-person tiki bowls) are refreshed as well. One other notable change: The food menu is way bigger—and the staff, too. New sous Alexus Williams, who's had stints at rooftop gem Mbar and the erstwhile but innovative Spur, joins chef Jeffrey Vance in the kitchen. Together, they've crafted a heartier menu: a new large plates lineup consists of garlic coconut sticky rice with pickled pineapple and soft duck egg, pork belly lechon with foie gras sauce, and duck dinuguan, which is...well, you should just try it. Then there are smaller plates, "finger foods" (think pinch buns and fresh oysters), and desserts. (I am coming for you, ube custard.)
And if you really want to just go for it, do the new four-course tasting menu for $37.
Get a tikified taste of the Philippines now through March 2018. Happy hour is daily from 4 to 7, sip on half-priced tiki bowls from 10 to 11pm daily, and Monday is the real fun day with happy hour running all day long.