Have you ever wanted to enjoy a booze cruise along the Potomac River? This is where Sea Suite Cruises steps — or sails — in.
Owners Jack Maher and Jack Walten, who refer to themselves as “the Jacks,” started out as preschool friends in their hometown of Arlington before bringing paddle boats to the Potomac. Now, they’re bringing boatloads of fun to a new venture: the Potomac Tiki Club, a floating bar experience on the Potomac River.
“It’s so cool,” Maher says. “This is definitely not the line of work I thought I’d get into.”
The Logistics: During the week, tiki boat cruises are $45 per person and $55 from Friday to Sunday. Book for eight people and add or subtract passengers leading up to your ride. You’re paying for quality: The cost gets you a private bartender and U.S. Coast Guard-certified captain. As many as 18 can join the vessel. Rides are 90 minutes, and fortunately, there’s a bathroom on board.
Passengers are picked up and dropped off on the docks at Washington Harbour on the Georgetown Waterfront, right outside of Nick’s Riverside Grill.
Because the dock runs a strict schedule for commercial ships, it’s necessary to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled departure so the crew has time to check IDs, load up, and set sail.
Sea Suite Cruises provides rain checks, but not refunds. Maher notes that golden hour and night cruises are the most popular (and thus the most booked), along with brunch time slots on the weekend.
The Sights: While you can have your birthday, bachelor, or bachelorette party at any bar in DC or Northern Virginia, why do it on land? The water offers something special.
“The sights and the scenery and just the glow of the water is something that’s truly unique,” Maher says.
Cruise along and see the sights at the Watergate Hotel, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Key Bridge, and Georgetown University. During nighttime floats, see all the national monuments lit up. The boat also parties at the Three Sisters island, where Maher says tons of recreational boats anchor down.
The Vibe: “The whole concept behind the tiki club is bringing the beach inside the Beltway,” Maher says. The bar is in the middle of the boat with surrounding seating under a classic thatched tiki roof. There’s also some standing room to enjoy.
It’s BYOF (bring your own food), and you won’t break the bank when you grab something from the bar. Prices range from $4 for a Michelob Ultra to $8.50 for a canned cocktail. Passengers are allowed to bring their own wine or Champagne for an $8 uncorking fee.
Some Rules: It might be fun to get wild with drinks on a boat, but don’t get goofy and jump off, or you’ll incur a $1,000 fine and your group will return to the dock without a refund. Maher notes that while the water can look cool on a hot summer day, the jump isn’t worth it — and the Potomac isn’t an enticing swimming hole.
What’s Next: Keep the Potomac Tiki Club in mind for more than summer cruises. “Fall on the water is one of the best kept secrets of the District,” Maher says. The co-founder also notes Sea Suite Cruises isn’t stopping with just this one boat. “I certainly see more tiki boats coming in the future,” he says.