Rhum, now Facebook official as "Rhum Food + Grog" with a splayed octopus logo designed by red hot local firm Might and Main, is planning to welcome guests to its subterranean hideaway at 4 Free Street in mid-January 2016. The bar even has gift certificates available if you need a truly last-minute Christmas idea. In the meantime, Rhum gave another preview of its cocktails when neighboring Sur Lie hosted "Welcome to the Hood" on Monday.
Sur Lie chef Emil Rivera created a tropical menu with dishes like Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, Spanish Octopus Cocktail, and Fish Puffy Arepas to pair with Tiki drinks like a Blood and Sand Slushy created by former Sur Lie bar manager and current Rhum bar manager Sam Babcock. Babcock told Eater he's "absolutely leaving Sur Lie on good terms," leaving his "very successful cocktail program" in the "capable hands of Matt Sherwood," who's been there since day one. Babcock said Sur Lie owners Tony Alviar and Krista Cole are excited for his new opportunity as well as the additional foot traffic that Rhum will bring to the area.
Babcock, who runs bitters company Owl and Whale with fellow Portland bartender Michael Gatlin, said he's never worked in a Tiki bar specifically, but is "versed and familiar with" the style. Expect Rhum's opening menu to be heavy on the classics, "sort of an introductory tour," with Babcock adding his own twists as the menu evolves. He said he's excited about handling the bar at what will be one of Portland's biggest craft cocktail establishments, and he looks forward to introducing Tiki to Maine: "Tiki is about escapism. When the winter doldrums hit us, who wouldn't want to have a nice rum drink and think about the sun and sand for a while?"