While some may still be mourning the loss of Tandem in October 2015, Bushwick’s notoriously quick lease turnaround and notably lit nightlife scene have culminated to deliver us Mad Tropical, an island-themed bar, nestled in Tandem’s old location at 236 Troutman St.
I’ll be honest, I moved to the Jefferson L-stop area after Tandem had closed, but the neighborhood still feels its legendary effects, and I’ve heard my fair share of Tandem lore from long-time residents.
Mad Tropical, opened by Greenpoint’s Tender Trap co-owners Ryan Virag and Darryl Nau, is a breezy departure from Bushwick’s signature divey scene. The bar’s cocktail menu is comprised of fruity island-inspired refreshments—all in 16-oz “party sizes” and priced at $10. I tried the “Hey Rummy” (rum and ginger beer with a shot of bitters) under the gentle instruction from one of Mad Tropical’s many gorgeous bartenders.
And honestly, I generally tend to stay away from rum-based drinks, but the “Hey Rummy” was worth getting out of my comfort zone. The beer selection is also decent, with reasonably priced drafts at $7, and bottles and cans at $6.
One of the best parts about Mad Tropical is its food menu. Leif Huckman, owner of Williamsburg restaurant Donna, is serving up Mexican-style cuisine from his Mad Tropical-exclusive operation, Donna Chiquita. Donna Chiquita serves up inventive dishes like cauliflower tacos and Mexican pizza. They’re all shareable and delightful.
There are events nearly every night at Mad Tropical, such as dance parties and DJ features. We’re excited to have a new tropical bar in the nabe, especially in time for summer, but there’s no doubt that it has big shoes to fill.