The folks at Canlis didn’t intend, exactly, to throw a summer-long poolside popup in their lower parking lot, filled with pizza and cocktails and tropical vibes.
The idea hatched, according to Mark and Brian Canlis, in the wake of the restaurant’s blowout New Year’s Eve party. A pair of thatched tiki huts, built just days before, housed a pig roast and a photo booth. These proved such solid and cool specimens, that the Brothers Canlis couldn’t bear to tear them down as the calendar shifted to 2019.
So they did the obvious—or at least what passes for the obvious at a fine dining restaurant dedicated to the art of the party. “Naturally, you rent a crane,” says Mark Canlis, and they relocated the pair of huts to the restaurant’s lower parking lot, serendipitously adjacent to the outdoor pizza oven.
A plan sprang from there, guided by weekly meetings to figure out how to pull off a low-key weekend soiree while also running a prestigious (and James Beard–winning) destination restaurant on the other end of the property. "Low-key" in Canlis terms means the modest-size pool that will arrive for the summer won't be quite as arduous an undertaking as the koi pond that materialized outside the restaurant's front door on New Year's Eve.
The result, Hawaiian Nights, kicks off on Friday, July 12. This popup of sorts will run Fridays (from 6–11pm) and Saturdays (2–11pm) for the rest of summer. It’s the continuation of the Parking Lot Chef Series that brought Milk Bar here last August.
This year’s iteration requires no reservations and no ticket purchase. Food (pizza, kalbi ribs, shishito peppers, mac salad) and drink will be priced a la carte. The tiki huts that started this whole adventure will house a pig roast and a bar. Oh, and no on-site parking. The Brothers Canlis strenuously encourage rideshares.
This page offers a few additional details and a recommendation: "you may want to bring a bathing suit." I predict some serious crowds, but also a singular summertime experience.