The Storm Shelter is the home tiki bar of George Jenkins and Chris Kridler in Rockledge, Florida, on the Space Coast. The bar was built in July 2014, in the basement of their home, looking out onto their tropical backyard.
About the name, George says, "The name was the result of a couple of influences. Chris is a storm chaser so she is very aware of the weather. She and her boss always kidded about opening a place where one did the cooking and the other did the bar. Here in Florida, we have these sirens that go off prior to a lightning storm and after it is safe again. I suggested that giving a free drink whenever these sirens went off would trigger a Pavlovian response every afternoon when the storms came through. And it all finally came together during the 2014 hurricane season passed through and we experienced 4 hurricanes passing through the area. Various friends were displaced and had to "hunker down" at our place. So we became the "shelter from the storm", hence, The Storm Shelter was born!"
The 10-foot-long bar itself was built custom by Tiki Mike and features masks carved by Tiki Bosko, Ed's Heads, and DeTiki, with drawer pulls by Crazy Al Evans. The borders surrounding the masks were made by Chris. The bar top and background for the masks is copper, colored with various bleach effects. The railings are painted to look like brass, but they are copper pipes salvaged from a U.S. Navy ship. The corbels holding the heavy rails were salvaged from a 100-year-old house in the neighborhood. The look of the bar is meant to suggest an ocean motif, as well as coordinate with the European blue felt and brass railings of the adjacent pool table.
George is managing partner of The Straw Hat Barmen, a craft cocktail company that has served as cocktail coordinators for The Hukilau and other events. The bar houses over 300 bottles of liquor, and the fridge is always stocked with fresh juice and homemade syrups. Visitors to the bar are sure to be invited to try something George has been working on, possibly served in a fire bowl made by Chris.
The walls of the bar feature artwork from well-known artists including DeTiki, Tiki Hana, Tiki Mango, Robert Jimenez, Cindy Raschke, Sooz Momofuko, Rick Piper, Hassan Peterson, and Lori Prell, as well as some of Chris' award-winning storm photography. There is a fork and spoon rescued from Julian's Steakhouse, postcards from the Samoa and George's Steakhouse in Cocoa Beach, and a Pagan Island movie poster signed by Nani Maka. There is a collection of tiki mugs, including some made by Chris.
The Storm Shelter is always open to guests who come through the area. It has hosted some legendary Halloween parties as well as fancy dinner parties, Brevard tiki gatherings, and billiards nights.