Lani Kai is the third tiki lounge to open in this town in the past six months, and we're going to prematurely evaluate it as #1. Painkiller has exceptional cocktails (you'd expect nothing less from Richard Boccato from Dutch Kills/Milk & Honey fame) but the subterranean lair feels a little cramped, and the complicated drinks can sometimes take a long time to materialize. The Hurricane Club, which opened last month, is massive and spectacular, but the cocktails we tried at their opening party were too sweet. The more modest Lani Kai, the new venture from native Hawaiian Julie Reiner (Clover Club, Flatiron) seems to strike the right balance—just don't call it a tiki lounge.

Though it officially opened last night, we've had the chance to check it out twice; the first time as part of a promotional push for Leblon, the Brazilian Cachaça (it's made from freshly pressed sugar cane juice). At Lani Kai, you can find it in The Tides: Cachaça, Falernum, Cane Syrup, lime and grapefruit juice, Peychaud’s Bitters. $13. On a second trip we sampled a wider variety of the cocktail menu, and each one was a winner. If we had to pick a favorite, we'd go with the supremely refreshing Pacific Swizzle (seen here): it's a tall, cool pretty drink made from White Rum infused with rosehip, lemongrass and hibiscus tea, lime juice, and passion fruit ($13). Knock back a couple of these, and you're guaranteed to find someone to go snorkeling with you.

Reiner insists Lani Kai isn't a tiki bar, but rather "a Hawaiian-inspired cocktail lounge," and the design is deliberately short on kitsch. The old bi-level Tailor space has been brightened up, with lots of plants and a stunning chandelier in the stairway made by Renner's brother, a sculptor. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxed, with a bar on each floor, and comfortable booths that seat six on the ground floor space. Here you can order from the small plates menu, which features delicious options like the Crab Wontons (Lump crab mixed with mascarpone cheese in a crispy wonton, served with a creamy mustard sauce, $8) and the Delicata Squash Tempura (Rings of delicata squash lightly battered and served with a spicy honey mustard, $8). There are also sliders, pork buns, lobster rolls, and two different luau platters: one with red snapper as the centerpiece ($65), and the other with 2lb grilled bone-in Ribeye ($85).

Lani Kai // 525 Broome Street // (646) 596-8778