Rumors of tiki bars have become rampant around Atlanta, lately, it seems. But now The S.O.S. in Decatur is making all those Polynesian daydreams come true.
The newest offering from Victory Brands, the team behind Paper Plane , Victory Sandwich Bar in Decatur and Inman Park, and Little Trouble in the Westside Provisions District, will open to the public at 6 p.m. on Friday.
The bar is in the same building as Victory, and replaces the intimate and more upscale, Paper Plane, which closed at the end of August, during a time when beverage director Paul Calvert departed to partner in Ticonderoga Club .
Shanna Mayo, who’s been with Victory Brands since leaving nearby Leon’s Full Service in 2014, joins the S.O.S. team behind the bar.
The cocktail menu ranges from such tiki standards as the Zombie and the Mai Tai to the likes of the boozy Reverend’s Fancy, with pineapple rum, reposado tequila and amaro, garnished with a swath of sweetened coconut pasted to the side of a rocks glass. There's also a daily happy hour punch.
On the food menu, look for fried coconut shrimp with spicy pineapple, Tikiyaki sliders on Hawaiian rolls, jerk chicken wings, and Polynesian-style spare ribs.
While the layout of the bar with its cushy booths remains as a remnant of Paper Plane, the decor and lighting have taken on a decidedly tiki torch glow, and the alley patio has been switched to island beach mode.
Co-owner Caleb Wheelus talked about the changeover from Paper Plane to S.O.S. during a brief phone call earlier today.
“People say all the time that they loved Paper Plane and ask why we changed it,” Wheelus said. “I think it was just time for a change, because we were already morphing Paper Plane into more of a casual place.
"When we opened up with Paul (Calvert) over two-and-a-half tears ago, it was a little serious in here. It was more like a nicer dining experience, accompanied by really nice cocktails, with a name brand guy behind it. We were really proud of it. But at the same time, in same building as Victory, it wasn’t quite as yin and yang as we wanted it to be. We wanted more of a Victory vibe.”
Ultimately, Wheelus thinks a tiki bar is just what Decatur, and its booming drinking and dining scene, needs.
“People do tiki drinks, and tiki nights, but there’s no dedicated tiki establishment,” he said. “We wanted to make this a memorable place to visit. When someone comes from out of town, they need to go to the tiki bar. If it’s someone’s birthday, we need to take them to the tiki bar. Everybody loves tiki.”
The S.O.S will open nightly at 6 p.m. but will be closed Sundays. 340 Church Street, Decatur, 404-377-9308.