tiki ti
May 8, 2007 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Trader Vic's was closed in Beverly Hills at the end of last month. Apparently also in Osaka, Japan. But fear not, fellow Tiki freaks and cool cats, there are plenty of other places to get yourself a good Mai Tai, grab some far-out Polynesian accessories, and take a history refresher to impress your friends and neighbors.
posted by salsamander (34 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
That's what I always hated about Trader Vic's.

All the damn werewolves.
posted by mephron at 9:07 AM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

So sad. Those Mai Tai's were pretty good and the nice staff deserved better. Can't wait for another super deluxe premium shiny metal and glass monolith to rise from that happy Tiki dust. We almost went for dinner a few weeks back, ended up at this place. The best place to be if you're not at Trader Vic's.
posted by lazymonster at 9:15 AM on May 8, 2007

Mai Tais: another great item born in Oakland, California.
posted by serazin at 9:25 AM on May 8, 2007

The one in downtown Atlanta (under the Hilton) is my absolute FAVORITE place to have a drink.

Plus, Thursday nights Tongo Hiti plays polynesian covers of bad 80's classics!

After a couple of delicious Samoan Fog Cutters, you and your friends will be screaming along to "Glory of Love" with the band. But oh... the headache in the morning.
posted by BobFrapples at 9:40 AM on May 8, 2007

RIP, little paper brollies.
posted by Dizzy at 9:40 AM on May 8, 2007

Hrm. We still have 3 of them in the Bay Area.

Suck it, Southern California!
posted by drstein at 9:45 AM on May 8, 2007

That's what I always hated about Trader Vic's.

All the damn werewolves.

But you at least have to give them credit for having perfect hair.
posted by MikeMc at 9:49 AM on May 8, 2007

Okay, no tiki post is at all complete without an appearance by my dear friend Otto Von Stroheim. You have to love a man who has his own convention and has turned a room in his apartment into this.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:54 AM on May 8, 2007

Isn't TV just relocating?
posted by trip and a half at 9:58 AM on May 8, 2007

On the other hand, maybe I should have read the linked article more closely. Carry on.
posted by trip and a half at 10:00 AM on May 8, 2007

LA still has the Purple Orchid. My friend's band played there on St Patrick's Day. When you are drinking for free, AND everything tastes like a Jambajuice -- well, that's when you want to be extra-careful, as it turns out.
posted by Methylviolet at 10:00 AM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

BTW, my favorite tiki bar ever was Kelbo's Coco Bowl. Lordy, I miss that place. When it closed, I mourned. Big time.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:04 AM on May 8, 2007

drstein, we're lucky to have more tiki bars than one can hit in a night out here in the Bay Area. My friends and I have tried, on more than one occasion.

My current fave is Forbidden Island, out in Alameda. It's a bit of a trek, but well worth it.
posted by one.louder.ash! at 10:04 AM on May 8, 2007

LA also still has Tiki Ti & the Tonga Hut.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:08 AM on May 8, 2007

That's interesting because just in the last couple of months, the Trader Vic's in Dallas just had a high profile re-opening after being moth-balled for several decades, in all of its retro splendor, in an effort to reclaim its position as an "in place" to go.
posted by dios at 10:24 AM on May 8, 2007

I once sold Sven Kirsten a 5' tall Witco tiki which I had dragged around forever, saving it from the trash heap numerous times. I'm glad it eventually found a good home. His book is quite charming.
posted by maxwelton at 10:33 AM on May 8, 2007

Mai Kai is still open and it's been around longer than I have.
posted by mike3k at 10:39 AM on May 8, 2007

What happened to Trader Vic's in NYC? That's the only one I've ever been to, thought it was years ago while my family still lived in NY.
posted by emelenjr at 11:06 AM on May 8, 2007

I lived on the North Shore for three years.

In 2002 I saw Martin Denny play at this piano at my favorite restaurant on the island, La Mariana.

I was closer than the photographer in the shot was, and it was really an incredible experience.
posted by Relay at 11:07 AM on May 8, 2007

My favorite southern California spot is Bahooka in Rosemead (careful, it's a Geocities site).
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:09 AM on May 8, 2007

posted by cowbellemoo at 11:18 AM on May 8, 2007

(if you look closely, my period is actually a very small tiki)
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:22 AM on May 8, 2007

Trader Vic's just reopened in Bellevue, WA after closing down in Seattle years ago... unfortunately it's ridiculously overpriced now, and in the basement of Lincoln Square which is an upmarket shopping center... it's totally lost all the atmosphere I heard it used to have. An interesting piece of trivia - the Crocodile Cafe (great live music venue in Seattle) has a huge collection of the original Trader Vic's fixtures lining the walls bought from the closing down auction.
posted by mikw at 1:59 PM on May 8, 2007

Trader Vic's was a favorite place for me and a buddy to drink, tiki drinks being one of our favorites and a reminder of underaged drinks snuck from Chinese restaurants back in New England.

He left LA two weeks ago and on impulse we hit up Trader Vic's one last time... only to find out it was closing too. I bought two Mai Tai glasses from the bar and the bartender only charged me for one... for the memories, he said.

I'm glad it's reopening, but it probably won't be the same.
posted by davros42 at 3:07 PM on May 8, 2007

Tiki Ti Rules.
posted by cell divide at 3:29 PM on May 8, 2007

Trader Vic's Beverly Hills was the first L.A. restaurant my parents took me to when we moved from Cleveland when I was 5½ years old! I saw more celebrities there than anyplace else while growing up and started taking an autograph book with me. I GOT WALT DISNEY'S AUTOGRAPH (by asking the waiter to take my book to his table and ask politely - never spoke to him directly - and, yes, that autograph book has been lost for over 25 years). It was where I learned to love pea pods and water chestnuts as a vegetable dish and since the new lounge does not serve full dinners, they and the Trader's teriyaki steak are lost to me... {sniffle}

And miss lynnster is right, Kelbo's was generally more fun, but my father considered it a status symbol to go to the more expensive TV's instead.
posted by wendell at 3:36 PM on May 8, 2007


posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:07 PM on May 8, 2007

The cocktails at Bali Hai in San Diego will fuck your shit up so hard that you'll wish prohibition was still around. Home of the now-famous Mr. Bali Hai Mug. Beautiful views of the bay and downtown skyline. GO THERE!
posted by afx114 at 5:52 PM on May 8, 2007

In college, two of my friends -- who shall not be named -- stole the wood tiki head off of the front of the Bali Hai. It was in their living room for a while.

Ahhhh, college. Sometimes I miss it.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:58 PM on May 8, 2007

I'm headed to LA for the first time next week to visit a college friend...I've told her in no uncertain terms that we're going to Tiki-Ti. Happily she agreed, or I would've been sad.

She's a tough cookie, she is.
posted by StrangeTikiGod at 6:18 PM on May 8, 2007

In college, two of my friends -- who shall not be named -- stole the wood tiki head off of the front of the Bali Hai. It was in their living room for a while.

The big ass 4ft tall one? Doesn't that thing weigh a ton?
posted by afx114 at 6:38 PM on May 8, 2007

Yes, yes it does. Took 4 college guys to haul it away.

Hey StrangeTikiGod, just be aware that Tiki Ti is the size of a 2 car garage so only so many people can fit in it at a time. It's good to either get there early & stake out a seat or to be patient in the line outside. If you are inside the bar and you go outside, you will have to go to the back of the line again. Also, it's cash only, they are only open Wednesday through Sunday & it's one of the only bars in LA that does last call at 12:30am instead of closing at 2am.

The other thing is that it's tradition to order a Blood & Sand so that everyone can yell Toro! Toro! at the top of their lungs.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:03 PM on May 8, 2007

Ah, good memories of the Trader Vic's in Bahrain. Was most lovely to drive across the causeway from Saudi Arabia--land of moonshine, a.k.a. cid, and homemade wine--to enjoy some serious drinking and weird Western kitsch... in a wee island nation in the Persian Gulf.
posted by ambient2 at 10:33 PM on May 8, 2007

There may be "plenty of other places" for all you west coast hipsters, but shed a tear this August for the Kahiki, seven years gone. I sure do miss you.
posted by Otis at 7:47 AM on May 9, 2007

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