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Expect the unexpected at The Golden Girl Rum Club. Back-scratchers, twisty straws and other kooky items garnish drinks, and the bright, summery space has a feel all its own. “Literally every single day people will come in and say, ‘I feel like I am someplace completely different from Springfield,’” says chief bartender Rogan Howitt, who opened the spot this year with fellow owners Joshua Widner, Emma Chapman and Trey George in an attempt to offer a rum-focused experience, a rarity in 417-land. The surprise factor also extends to the inventive cocktail menu, which has classic and house drinks and fun, shareable cocktails. Howitt loves coming up with new creations every week, so frequent visitors always have something different to try. “We want there to be new selections literally every single time you come in,” he says. There is also a slew of regular drinks that have quickly become local favorites. For example, there’s a wildly popular Painkiller, a best-selling concoction of overproof rum, coconut cream, orange and pineapple juices and a dusting of nutmeg served in a ceramic coconut glass. Another crowd-pleaser is GiGi’s Perfect Piña, the house version of a piña colada, which Howitt tinkered with for months before arriving at a just-right recipe. That well-balanced tipple is above and beyond the cloyingly sweet sugar bombs many expect on a Caribbean cruise, but Howitt hopes that enjoying it and other libations in the bar’s whimsical, relaxed environment helps patrons slip into a vacation-like mindset for an hour or two. “It’s transformative,” Howitt says. “It takes you to a completely different place. And that was part of the point [of Golden Girl]: To make people think that they were someplace else, like on a beach.”Edit ModuleShow Tags