Grab a drink, sit back and groove to your favorite tropical beats, right in the heart of D.C. The Morris in Paradise concept — a creation of award-winning local craft cocktail bar Morris American Bar — is delivering the island vibes and transporting Washingtonians to the beach all summer long.
Our favorite new staycation cantina is arriving right on time, ahead of Washington, D.C.’s epic humidity.
With plush greenery and colorful tiki-inspired drinks in extravagantly ornamented, theatrical tiki mugs, it’s the perfect excuse to kick back after a long work day or on a lazy Sunday.
Beverage director Doug Fisher describes it as a way to create an inviting atmosphere for patrons, that keeps them going back again and again, especially as we reach “hell’s front porch” on the heat index, as some have described the climate in July and August.
The concept is complemented by a creative marketing campaign: antique postcards “that you would get from a family vacation in the 1950s,” Fisher says. It’s memorable and nostalgic, capturing all the feels you get while taking a trip down memory lane.
And Morris infuses their drink menu with the same sentimental ethos, bringing to life the classics, like the piña colada.
“The piña colada is one of the great drinks,” Fisher asserts. “[It’s] been trash all over the world. But at one point, people fell in love with it; just like the Penicillin or the Old Fashioned. When [made] correctly, it’s very, very good.”
There’s also plenty of attentiveness to variation.
Other can’t-miss favorites offered are the Hawaiian Sunset (Civic vodka, lime, lemon, cashew orgeat, pomegranate) and the Saturn (Aviation gin, falernum, passion fruit, lemon, cashew orgeat, cinnamon).
Of course, rum is the quintessential tropical spirit and the Morris team doesn’t disappoint; the balance of the Jungle Bird (Appleton Estate signature rum, Campari, pineapple, lime) makes it crushable: pineapple juice (made fresh each day) and rum bring the sugar and Campari introduces some tempered bitterness.
Beyond the concept’s theme, one that’s fun and delivered with flair, without the usual gimmicky vibrations, the Morris pop-up is about building community.
Fisher sees it as a great opportunity to engage their community and introduce locals to one of the region’s best kept secrets.
“We’ve been here five years and I always say, ‘We’re the best bar you’ve never heard of,” Fisher offers, with the emotion of someone who’s clearly poured time, effort and creative energy into building a top-notch speakeasy and connecting with regulars, like me, or newcomers — like the couple adjacent to me cuddling on their first date.
Morris in Paradise is a welcome excuse to inject some merriment into their traditional bar service.
“What’s not fun about making fancy fruity drinks that are balanced, that aren’t overly sweet or pre-batched.”
Fisher also is eager to reeducate bargoers about tiki, an often misunderstood cocktail category — regularly maligned for its overuse of ice.
“A lot of ice doesn’t water it down. It’s quite the opposite. By packing it full of ice, you actually keep a drink colder, longer. And the ice melts less.”
A tiki drink is the perfect boozy companion for a long day in the sun at a bar where it’s always golden hour, the drinks are always chilled and the water is always warm. Per the sign side outside — Blue Skies Up Ahead.
Pro-Tip: Stop by on Tuesdays to pair your tiki drink with craveworthy tacos.