Since its opening in March, Rum Social in downtown Laguna Beach has allured locals and visitors alike with its menu of bold island dishes, rum-based cocktails, and luxe tropical design. As fall fast approaches, the Island-inspired eatery debuts a new menu designed to entice all the senses and offer guests an escape into the elusive ‘endless summer’ lifestyle.
Rum Social is the first joint venture between veteran restaurateur John Fisher and award-winning designer Ken Ussenko. The duo conceptualized Rum Social to be a tropical escape, a hidden vignette that allows guests to step from the bustling streets of Laguna Beach and into a tropical daydream. Its menu masterfully blends modern California cooking with influences and ingredients from the Caribbean to Southeast Asia. Presenting an enchanting flow of colors, fabrics, and textures, the restaurant’s ambiance beckons guests into the bygone era of a 1930s beachfront island lounge.
“Our vision for Rum Social goes beyond exceptional hospitality. We designed the restaurant to be a transcendent experience, offering an indulgence in the universal desire to escape,” comments partner Ken Ussenko, whose firm is responsible for the restaurant’s design and décor.
The vacation vibe atmosphere at Rum Social further complements its Island-inspired menu and vibrant beverage program paying homage to the tiki cocktail culture popularized during the golden era of 1930s Hollywood. Executive Chef Nick Herrera debuts a new menu of dishes that showcase his mastery of bold, exotic flavors.
Offered nightly, the new dinner menu at Rum Social will feature a selection of shareable starters. Ginger Rum-Glazed Plantains dusted with a chili citrus zest and Jamaican Curry Cauliflower topped with kale cracklings and Cajun crème fraiche set the stage for an evening full of flavor. Refreshing salads include Rum-Braised Beets tossed with smoked yogurt, mustard frill, citrus, cucumber, and avocado; and an Heirloom Market Salad with burrata, peach, baby heirloom tomatoes, and Thai basil drizzled with hibiscus vinaigrette. Hearty sides like the Garlic Butter Egg Noodles topped with a delicate 63º egg juxtapose flavors of sweet soy, fiery shishito, and spicy bang-bang sauce. Show-stopping supper plates include Braised Beef Short Rib with garlic rice, duck fat bean purée, plantains, and grilled mojo onions; and Day Boat Scallops with a rum & sweet-fermented chili glaze, plated over a bed of farro and tender caulilini.
During weekend brunch, offered Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., guests can enjoy bold riffs on breakfast classics, including Duck & Waffle Hash topped with mango hot sauce and rum-maple syrup; French Caribbean Toast topped with guava syrup, banana anglaise, and fresh berries; and Citrus-Chili Glazed Steak & Eggs.
Overlooking the picturesque courtyard of Peppertree Lane, is Rum Social’s Treehouse Bar where guests can retreat to a Hemingway speakeasy where bartenders mix, muddle, stir, and swizzle handcrafted cocktails. Much like its menu, Rum Social’s beverage program derives inspiration from the Caribbean and Pacific Islands, juxtaposing contemporary twists on classic cocktails and traditional tiki libations. Signature sips like the R.S. Cuba Libre and Mojito Smash offer guests a taste of the restaurant’s namesake rums, including dark, barrel-aged, and black tea-infused varieties.
In addition to the new menu, guests can look forward to weekly specials on dishes and drinks. A Social Happy Hour is offered weekdays from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., offering specially priced dishes and drinks; $3 off wines by the glass and 30% off all bottles on Wine Wednesday; and a lively Tiki Thursday, during which bartenders craft elevated tiki cocktails.
Rum Social is located at 448 South Coast Highway in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach. The restaurant is open for dinner nightly, with a Social Happy Hour offered weekdays from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Weekend brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.