Forbidden Island has been receiving rave reviews on its ambiance, service — and of course its world-class cocktails — from all four corners of the bay, and points further flung as well.
Some recent rave reviews:
Time Out SF: #1 Bay Area Tiki Bar
USA Today: 10 Best Tiki Bars in the USA
New limited edition Porthole Mug
Thrillist: These are the 17 best Tiki bars in America
San Francisco Chronicle: Five Places: Over-the-top tiki
7×7: Bay Area’s Most Festive Tiki Bars
CBS: Best Bay Area Tropical Bars
East Bay Express: Forbidden Fruits
Forbidden Island named one of the 8 Most Famous Tiki Bars EVER!
Cocktalia: Forbidden Island
Interview with owner Michael Thanos in Ray Wayland’s “Tiki with Ray” blog.
Forbidden Island featured in Peter Hartlaub’s San Francisco Chronicle article “Tiki Bar Hopping for the Mai Tai’s 65th Birthday”
Voted “Best Tiki Bar” by the East Bay Express, July 2009
Included in “Best 100 bars” across the nation by Food and Wine Magazine, 2009
Voted One of the Best 5 Cocktail Bars in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle!
“But what makes Forbidden Island a thing of beauty are the drinks [and] the high-end-cocktail-culture insistence on hand-crafting and fresh ingredients to old, long-lost recipes. The results are fantastic.” –The Wall Street Journal, OCTOBER 4, 2008
“If you imagine a tiki bar in your dreams, you’ve seen Forbidden Island.” –Don Spiro, Bachelor Pad Magazine #8
“Need a vacation? At Forbidden Island, the tropics are just a few blocks away. Although this sip of the South Pacific only opened in April [they] need a doorman to control the crowds that pack the hideaway each weekend.” –Alameda Magazine, Best of Alameda 2006 Edition
“Everyone knows the East Bay is the birthplace of the tiki bar (more or less), so it takes a pretty exceptional watering hole to capture the elusive blend of island kitsch, pure spectacle, gaudy cocktails, and festive mood that signals a typhoon of tropical excess in these parts. The new Forbidden Island on a quiet stretch of Lincoln Avenue in Alameda has all those ingredients and more.” -East Bay Express, Best Tiki Bar – 2006 Best Of Edition
“Forbidden Island was conceived to be the ultimate tiki bar experience, and it succeeds on all fronts, including the faux-shipwreck decor, the eclectic and deliciously intoxicating drink menu, and the outstanding jukebox, which includes an astounding array of retro sounds, both vintage and contemporary.” -Retro Radar
“Despite the ravings from a copy editor and regular — get there before 9 or plan to wait outside — we figured it was just another tiki bar.
We were wrong.
Now, for the drinks. I’m leery of tiki cocktails. Has something to do with a hot date gone awry. That’s what I liked about Forbidden Island. The cocktails really show the print of its seasoned owners.” -Contra Costa Times, Nov. 30, 2006
“It’s 5:30 p.m. and July’s heat wave seems to be having a residual effect on people living in the Bay Area. They’re looking for a respite — something cool, something refreshing.They’re looking for a drink, dammit.
Since [Forbidden Island] opened four months ago, just as Northern California was coming out of an unseasonably wet spring into warmer weather, there have been lines out the door on weekends.” –San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 10, 2006
“‘I have to give a shout out to the bartenders Melanie and Lara, along with the server Stephanie. Not only were they incredibly personable and pleasant to talk to, but those girls kicked ass. Anyone who doesn’t think bartenders work hard or that a bar can’t do both quality and volume hasn’t seen Forbidden Island in action.” –Erik Ellestad, eGullet Spirits Writer, Dec. 12, 2007
“The drinks are great, [you] have to wait for place to sit but the authentic tiki atmosphere is awesome… go there after you go to [Hangar One] – great vodka made right in Alameda.” –NicholasWines.com
“Anybody that knows me knows that the Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge is my favorite hangout. I actually find going there to be worth leaving my personal Tiki lounge at my home. They have better drinks than I do, and their decor is almost as cool as mine.” –Alameda Magazine, Jan/Feb 2007
“The scorpion bowl is often lumped into the category of ‘college drinks’ that are made with ultra-sweet ingredients designed to mask the flavor of the alcohol for drinkers who want a quick buzz. However, at traditional tiki-themed joints like… Alameda’s Forbidden Island, where several shared cocktails appear on the menu, drinks like the scorpion bowl are taken seriously.” –San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 9, 2007
“The lounge has the requisite vintage touches like carved statues and waterfalls, but avoids the ultra-tack that puts Joe No-Tiki ill at ease… The 52 bottles of rum on the wall keep crowds toasted enough to believe they actually are stranded on a tropical isle.” –San Francisco Magazine, June 2006
“The loving care [the owners] lavished on the nine-month-old lounge is obvious. Forbidden Island is a fruity-drink lover’s fever dream, boasting fresh-squeezed juices and stealth quantities of silver rum…” –San Francisco Bay Guardian
“The owners and business partners understand Tiki culture on a very deep level. To experience the glory of Forbidden Island is to understand the true meaning of ‘Tiki bar’ in its classic, purest sense. No doubt, 50 years from now when the next generation of Tiki enthusiasts reminisce about the best Tiki bars, Forbidden Island will be near or at the top of the list.” –Tiki Magazine