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Commercial Dr. Funk in San Jose

commercial tiki bar


Active member
(originally written in December 2021)

Our long national nightmare is over.

The 10th most populous city in America finally has a real tiki destination now that Dr. Funk has soft-opened in Downtown San Jose. We visited Tuesday during a soft-open for Tiki Ohana, and we’ve been told that Thursday is the first day open to the general public with next Monday being the official grand opening.

Situated at San Pedro Square, Dr. Funk is an immersive tiki bar with decor buildout by @topnotchkustoms + @m_p_o_r_i_u_m_ and bar program by @kenwongdejanan + @bondtylerbond44. The interior is first class, with seven huts, a long bar, and plenty of tables inside. Outside there are more seats on the tiki patio. There are lots of little nods to the actual doctor named Dr. Funk, including some bubbling potions above the bar. Service was great during our soft-open experience. Food was not yet being served, so stay tuned for further developments.

And the cocktails? FAN-TASTIC.

The namesake cocktail is quite good, leaning into Absinthe which is the signature ingredient. More unexpected was the creamy Dead Man’s Isle featuring Ube, Coconut Creme, and several rums. It had a very unique taste and was a big hit among all who tried it.

And the Mai Tai? Maybe one the best anywhere.

We need more samples before we’re able to add this amazing Mai Tai to our Top 5 worldwide, but it is a very strong candidate. Using Appleton 12 and Smith & Cross Jamaican rums, the Mai Tai was perfectly balanced including a creamy and sweet house-made Orgeat. And, if you’re so inclined, you can order it in a souvenir glass designed by local favorite B-Rex.

No longer a wasteland, San Jose finally has the tiki destination it fully deserves.
(originally written December 2021)

Sunday’s second visit to San Jose’s newest and best tiki bar was another great time. Some Forbidden Island regulars made plans to visit at opening and so we got to experience the bar again with veterans of the tiki bar experience. There were plenty of non-tiki people there, too, so it seems like everyone in San Jose has gotten the memo that Dr. Funk is a big hit.

In addition to the Mai Tai, I tried the original cocktail Sunken Galleon. Ginger isn’t always my favorite flavor, so I asked Ken Wongdejanan about it and he said it was not overpowering. This cocktail featuring Cognac, Jamaican rum, sugar, ginger, and chocolate bitters was quite delightful, and with just a hint of ginger just like I like it. Ken said it took a while to get this cocktail balanced right, so I applaud the effort to develop and lock in such as great tasting drink.

While the bar has been very busy, I have found several bartenders willing to engage in short conversations while mixing or in between orders, often suggesting new cocktails to try. This is a good sign from a hospitality standpoint.

Many of the great bars and restaurants feature a “figurehead” who serves as the master of ceremonies for the venue. Typically this is the owner or the general manager, but at Dr. Funk this role seems to be filled currently by Notch Gonzalez who led the buildout and design. Notch was everywhere on Sunday, talking to basically everyone in the bar and making everyone feel welcome. I don’t know how sustainable this is for the bar (or for Notch himself), but the man deserves a victory lap after helping to launch the bar with such a cool and immersive experience. We also saw some photos of the Dr. Funk logo sign that will hang above the front entrance.

The cocktails and service and vibe at Dr. Funk continue to remain strong, and we can’t wait to return.

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    Jenny Martens of “I Love Tiki” FB group fame

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South SF Bay Area Tiki Ohana Meetup at Dr. Funk

Now that San Jose finally has a legit tiki bar, …actually, scratch that. Now that San Jose finally has an amazing tiki bar, some of the locals are deciding to get together on a regular basis.

Working out of the “South SF Bay Area Tiki Ohana” Facebook group, local tikiphile and all-around mensch Michel von Schiltach decided to get the ball rolling. Michel lives within walking distance and helped with some of the build-out, so is the perfect ambassador for these meetups.

As of now the schedule is, starting at opening at 4 pm and lasting as long as it lasts:
1st Sunday of the month
3rd Wednesday of the month

Last night was the third Wednesday, and I arrived a little late around 7 pm. So nice to see a few friendly faces interspersed with San Jose locals doing the tiki thing midweek. With Dr. Funk’s central location and convenient parking garage across the street, I’ll definitely be returning more frequently.

Dr. Funk is now serving food, and from what I’ve been told the portions are quite large for the price, and everyone seems to enjoy the meal. There was some discussion about Dr. Funk possibly being an all-ages place once food was starting to be served, but the decision is that it was stay as 21 and over. Dr. Funk is also now offering reservations, so be sure to make one if you’re coming with a larger group.

Check out “South SF Bay Area Tiki Ohana” group in Facebook for more details.
Sling of Davy Jones

I was pleased to try this Singapore Sling riff at Dr. Funk, which I found to be a wonderful blend of complex flavors. It is made with “wild roses, velvety honey, bright citrus, Cocchi Rosa aromatized sweet vermouth, Becherovka herbal bitters & gin.”

Ken Wongdejanan really crushed it on this one. The cocktail program at Dr. Funk continues to impress and seems to be extraordinarily strong across all cocktail styles.