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Hello everyone, I found this site through a Google search for the Tonga Room in San Francisco. I came across James Teitelbaum's review on it and found my way here eventually. Aloha!

I'me a Bay Area local, but have only been to the Tonga Room once when I went to someone else prom back in high school. Her friend suggested it and I think he actually thought of it as a really classy joint (it is classy in it's own respect, but you know what i mean). I recall being in awe of the place, it was whacked out.

So I'm about to turn 30 this summer and I wanted to get 50-80 of my closest friends together to have drinks and hang out there. Has anyone here ever done that? I'm curious if it's only bar and table seating. I'd like to have a mingling/roaming environment.... more like a lounge... do they accomodate that at the Tonga Room? I don't want to rent out the entire place either, just take over a big corner of it.

I'm going to head over there eventually to check it out once again in person, but since this seems like an active forum, i thought I'd check here first for opinions on having parties there.

Thanks,

-j

K

Well be prepared for rude uncaring management, really the people who run that place are some of the worst in customer service of all time... So, just be prepared for that when you call them. It's still worth it because the place is physically so great, and will definitely go better if you pull up your defense shield in advance and don't take anything personally. Remember it's them that are the idiots, not you, they're like that to everyone.

HAVE a RETRO BLAST!

Greetings! I am a SoCal so I don't know much about the Tonga Room, but there are many among our number that know all about it and I expect they will be checking in soon to advise. What a co-inkydink - some of us are meeting with James T. in a few hours as the Los Angeles leg of his road trip is underway. There's a thread about that here somewhere.

T

Being one of the first to arrive at the Tonga for the tiki crawl, I asked if my my party was there yet, as they were hard to miss as there would be around 50 of us eventually... well I was rudely told that the Tonga Room doesnt take reservations. Which I think was a lie. Hmmm. So you might try calling and asking, but when you get there, they may channge their mind.

They are really strange there, and seem to randomly target you for the full asshole treatment. Over several visits I got it from the waitress, the maitre d, and the doorman... however the bartenders are TOP NOTCH.

Cheers, and have fun, despite the jerks!

One way to get back at the staff is to switch seats. Halfway through our visit we decided to go & sit at the bar instead of our table, and we watched the staff go nuts for a few moments. They sent one poor guy scuttling out the door to look for us while the rest bickered amongst themselves, no doubt arguing who was responsible for our bar tab. We finally gave them a little wave from the bar and they all cheered up considerably!

Trader Woody

K

I'll agree that the bartenders I have met are nice unlike the management. The one nice management decision - there is a happy hour, and as I recall there is a significant discount on their fantastic drink menu then.. but it's only 1 hour, 6-7 maybe? During that time there is also a short lived but good buffet table.

F

Once I called the Tonga room and asked for a reservation that evening. They haughtily informed me that the Tonga Room didn't take reservations (witch is weird because I went there once with my parents and * they* had reservations.) Anyway, when I got there with my group of friends we were informed that we could not come in because the entire restaurant was reserved for a reception. I was aghast! I asked them why they didn't tell me that when I called earlier in the day. They just stuck up their noses and told me that they didn't know (didn't care.)
What jerks. The WORST service in recorded history. They DESERVE their bad reputation, they earned it. If the place wasn't such a spectacle I would boycott the place entirely. Oh well.

[ Edited by: Fonduie on 2002-04-22 15:26 ]

Thanks for all the responses... especially since Yahoo Groups was shut down this morning again, it's nice having a place to go to read up on advice and recommendations.

Wow, I'm amazed the Tonga Room has such well-known bad management. Especially since it's in the Fairmont Hotel, in a prime location. If you don't mind I'd like to print out these messages (without usernames) and send it to them. Maybe, hopefully, they'll get their act together and get some proper people to run the restaurant. I'm also a San Francisco business owner so hopefully my letterhead will carry more weight than an email.

I'll visit it soon, But I'm not sure if I want to have my party there if the service is that bad. Service ranks over atmosphere to me any day.

Mahalo,

-j

M

Tonga? My take as a San Francisco resident and long-time Tiki freak. One that barely visits the Tonga Room on an anual basis.

Anyone inteerested and that has never been before? Go and see the place for the decor, maybe have a drink between 5-7 happy hours. The buffet used to be FREE but they caught on to the lowlifes like me that would have dinner of that buffet.

The food can be pretty good, but the cover charge for the goofball band is an insult. It just is NOT worth the expense for a meal. Have a Mai-Tai during happy hour and soak in the great OA decor.

They succeed due to the very nature of their location. A large tourist/convention driven hotel. They do not need to worry about repeat clients...there's always a steady stream of the uninformed.

The atmosphere is top-knotch, but if your group were to get the "usual" Tonga treatment your party is going to dissappointed.

M

FYI:

I spoke with their management last year about the possibility of getting married there. We had big plans to have the ceremony on the raft in the middle of the pool, with a rainstorm after kissing the bride. It all sounded damn cool to me, the manager was not opposed to using the raft. HOWEVER....for that priveledge, we needed to book out the whole place (around $35,000 for the night- way too rich for my blood) or come in early. We could also book out the tables on the side only, which entailed, 1. minimum 2 drinks per person. 2. fixed menus of their ghastly "chinese" food at $50 per person for the whole party. 3. an "entertainment" charge per person of around $6.00 per person as we would have to listen to the horrible house cover band and share the dance floor with everyone. This was not how I wanted to spend the first night of the rest of my life. If we came in early, it was just the two drink minimum, plus about $5000 to turn on the lights and the rain. It just wasn't worth it in the end. Ended up getting married elsewhere, and it couldn't have been better. Though I did have a coconut cake with salt and pepper shakers on top, which we dressed in a little felt tux and a white lace veil. It was kewl.

-Martin

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