What better place to spend New Years Eve this year with friends than draped over a Mai Tai and Asian barbecue in a romantic hotel tiki bar? Friends, lovers and significant others who haven’t had the total tiki experience may want to go for a fabulous polynesian style feast this year.
Read on for a list of amazing tiki venues. Or, if you can’t get away, have a tiki New Year right in your own home.
Top 5 Tiki Bars
Here are a few of the classic hotel Tiki bars and restaurants that deserve a second look.
Trader Vic’s, Atlanta Hilton
Original Trader Vic’s, San Francisco
Tonga Room, Fairmont San Francisco
Don the Beachcomber’s, Huntington Beach
Trader Sam’s, Disneyland Hotel Anaheim
Trader Vic Lounge, Beverly Hilton
How Tiki Bars transformed dining out
Tiki bars have returned lately in hotels across the globe, with the original Trader Vic’s expanding to the Middle East, plus a host of imitators. Even the original Trader Vic’s ‘rat pack’ hangout in San Francisco has been replaced by a French Vietnamese restaurant, Le Colonial. The Fairmont Hotel almost closed San Francisco’s Tonga Room in 2014 but Tiki fans rose up in a massive revolt and the wacky indoor monsoon dining venue was saved.
Places like the Original Trader Vic’s have walls of memorabilia, koa wood bars, and of course, tikis galore. While international cuisine has always been an option, Tiki bars were the first ones to make culture part of the dining experience. They were the original and still the best getaway to a tropical island without an airplane.
So, make this New Years Eve special, in the original venue for ethnic dining with atmosphere.
What you need to know to be an expert on tiki bar history
California was the birthplace of the Mai Tai, and Tiki venues like Don the Beachcomber’s and Trader Vic’s. The Polynesian fad swept the continent in the 1940’s in hotels, beach towns, and even hit Manhattan as the Explorer’s Club, a haven for the armchair globetrotter.
Don was a dreamer from New Orleans, and Trader Vic was the son of a hotel waiter in San Francisco. Each claimed to have invented the Mai Tai. Both brought Asian cuisine mainstream, with celebrities like Hugh Hefner to Steven Spielberg hanging out in places like the Trader Vic’s at the Beverly Hills Hilton.
Tiki drinks come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a fun looking mai tai presentation which was recently part of a New York restaurant event.