Hipsters Unite! Craft & Commerce To ReOpen On September 2 With New False Idol Tiki Concept | Check Out The New Menu

August 27, 2016

Last September, CH Projects closed the doors to their Little Italy hipster haven Craft & Commerce for to complete a mult-million dollar renovation of their flagship concept to include the addition of a tiki-themed speakeasy False Idol, operated in partnership with tiki-legend Martin Cate of San Francisco's Smuggler's Cove. Craft & Commerce is set to grand reopen on Friday, September 2 with False Idol to unveil shortly after.

First opened in 2009, Craft & Commerce has undergone a significant kitchen and total interior redesign for the arrival of newly appointed Executive Chef Ted Smith, replacing the previously announced JoJo Ruiz who has moved on to the Executive Chef role at the soon-to-open Pendry Hotel in downtown San Diego. Chef Smith was formerly the longtime chef de cuisine at Bankers Hill Bar before moving on to a short stint at Kettner Exchange. Smith's reinvigorated menu was made in collaboration with CH Projects corporate chef Jason McLeod and will be centered around Craft & Commerce's new, custom made wood fire grill. 

Having acquired a 1,000 square-foot property, anext-door apartment within Allegro Towers, the build out has transformed Craft & Commerce’s 675 W Beech St. real estate into a distinctly unique dual-concept. Tapping one of today’s foremost authorities on rum and the current tiki-cocktail movement, CH Projects partnered with bar owner, educator and author, Martin Cate, to launch False Idol, secluded within Craft & Commerce restaurant. False Idol will allow Cate - who built the largest rum selection in the United States at his internationally acclaimed bar, Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco - to spread his passion to an all-new, Polynesian pop inspired tiki temple. With Cate at the forefront of the spirits program alongside CH beverage director Anthony Schmidt, CH Projects, who is known for its visually striking concepts, brought together a dream team of Southern California-based design collaborators to create a faux-tropical paradise for False Idol.

Accessed through an unassuming secret entrance within Craft & Commerce, False Idol is complete with traditional Polynesian elements of fire & ice, including an indoor waterfall and flaming volcano. CH enlisted a team of legendary tiki artists to fashion a fully immersive environment that pays tribute to the imagined “false idols” of mid-century American worship. From Papua New Guinea and Maori-style masks to a ceiling covered in glass buoy balls and petrified puffer fish, every square inch of the intimate 1,000 square-foot space is decorated in Polynesian pop-inspired tiki artifacts.

With Martin Cate at the forefront of the spirits program, alongside CH Beverage Director Anthony Schmidt, False Idol’s 36-count cocktail menu is filled with exotic classics as well as modern interpretations. A collection of 200+ rare and vintage rums includes a noteworthy exclusive - a Plantation Black Label Belize 2004 aged and finished in Bourbon, Cognac and Port casks and available only at False Idol and Martin Cate’s Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, CA.

Served in a variety of ornate custom-made tiki mugs, historic recipes from around the world, including Trader Vic’s Mai Tai and Eastern Sour, are accompanied by Cate and Schmidt’s original twists, such as the Mai Sha Roa Na and Ode to Okolehao. False Idol’s menu offers a nod to San Diego’s tiki days of yore with a selection of long lost cocktails from beloved and lamented local hotspots, including the Coronado Luau Special (former Luau Room), Panther’s Fang (Barefoot Bar) and Tonight or Never (former Islands Bar). There are also two punchbowl-style cocktails, including the Luau Scorpion and the interactive Alkala the Fierce — which upon ordering will cause False Idol’s volcano to erupt and the banquette seats to rumble and shake. False Idol will also launch a Rum & Cocktail Club in the months to come.

The remodel of the 2,500 square-foot restaurant, courtesy of Craft & Commerce’s original designer Paul Basile of BASILE Studio, has brought physical updates to the interior design, an outdoor patio expansion with custom fire pit tables, and a total kitchen overhaul in preparation for Executive Chef Ted Smith’s new culinary program.

CH Projects, previously known as Consortium Holdings, also owns and operates Ironside Fish & Oyster, Fairweather, Rare Form, Polite Provisions, Dover Honing Co., El Dorado, Juice Saves, Neighborhood, Noble Experiment, two Underbelly locations, two Soda & Swine locations and the coming-soon Born & Raised concept in Little Italy

For more information on Craft & Commerce, visit them online at craft-commerce.com and check out the new menus below.