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Trader Vic's Lounge, Beverly Hills, CA (bar)

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Name:Trader Vic's Lounge
Street:9876 Wilshire Boulevard
City:Beverly Hills

Not fitting into the mold of either a traditional "Trader Vic's" restaurant and bar, or the newer "Trader Vic's Mai Tai Bar" formats...the "Trader Vic's Lounge" located poolside at the Beverly Hilton hotel in the Beverly Hills section of Los Angeles, California...seems to be a "one-of-a-kind" specialty off-shoot of the Trader Vic's brand.

This Trader Vic's Lounge began its life almost immediately after the much lamented loss of the full-blown historic Trader Vic's restaurant and bar located elsewhere on the grounds of the same hotel, that first opened in 1955. A few days after the closure of that full "Trader Vic's Beverly Hills" at the end of April 2007...this much smaller and limited service "Trader Vic's Lounge" made its debut on May 5, 2007.

Occupying the space, layout, and many of the existing fixtures of the previous bar "Circa 55 Lounge"...a hip new age bar that was located adjacent to the "Circa 55" restaurant at the hotel...the installation of Trader Vic's Lounge saw several decor changes and the relocation of some of the artifacts from the original Trader Vic's Beverly Hills, along with new artifacts and fixtures...come in and take over the Circa 55 Lounge space.

Trader Vic's Lounge consists of two main sections...Indoors Bar and Outdoors Patio.

Indoors is where you find almost all of the Tiki/Poly theme. One large room with an elongated U shaped bar at its center, surrounded on two walls with booths, and another area containing freestanding tables and chairs. Various tikis and other artifacts decorate this indoor space.

This room opens out to a poolside patio area that contains tables and chairs, space heaters, and some landscaping. At night a video of various surf scenes is projected on one wall above the pool area.

Trader Vic's Lounge offers the standard Trader Vic's cocktail menu, along with a limited Pupu menu. The indoor section has several flat screen televisions that feature either sports, news, and/or atmosphere surfing/beach videos. Music varies from CD's playing as background music (various styles)...to live DJ's on certain nights.

Monday thru Saturdays: 11:00am to 1:30am (last call 1:15am)
Sundays: 11:00am to 12 midnight (last call 11:45pm)
Pupus start serving at 3:00pm on all days

Free Self or Valet Parking for 4 hours with validation. Exit/Re-Park at your 4 hour limit if you want to extend your free parking time.

More information along with menus and prices can be found at:


[ Edited by: PremEx 2007-05-15 18:50 ]

[ Edited by: PremEx 2020-01-12 22:45 ]


Here's my review with some photos from a visit last night, that I lifted/edited parts of, that I posted in another thread. There are goods and bads about the place. Generally was disappointed overall.

IMHO, it looks just like the old Circa 55 "W Hotel"ish lounge (that I had drinks at on several occasions) with a light tropical/tiki overlay.

To me...except for one or two very small sections of the indoor portion...it was very sterile. But especially outside. Pretty much your standard upscale hotel patio furniture and some space heaters. Inside there were a handful of thinly scattered artifacts (a mix of newly acquired and from the old Trader Vics), a few booths and wall panels from Vic's...and the rest still had the old Circa 55 "new-age" look to it, IMHO.

Here's a view of the inside portion:

Here's the main row of booths:

I was told the far carving on the left is from the old Traders...the other 3 (only 2 shown above) are newly acquired.

Here's looking the other direction at the rest of the booths. All 3 in this shot are the newly acquired pieces:

This one booth sort of sits apart from the others, and has some of the wall paneling from Vic's behind it:

A view of the bar from where first I sat, looking out to the patio:

And another shot of the bar. In the foreground is Alfie (a talented bartender from the original Trader Vic's) working his magic:

A shot of the indoor tables, and the few token tidbits hanging from the ceiling:

Now on to the totally generic outdoor patio of Trader Vic's Lounge:

And another view:


As evening comes...darkness, some lighting, good company, and brain function impairment :) ...might help hide some of the flaws and shortcomings of the whole set-up. YMMV.

Best place to be for any tiki/Traders vibe there might be...is indoors, IMHO. Outdoors is just the same old Beverly Hilton pool lounge, as nice as that might be. Except for the drinks if made by one of the talented bartenders from the old Trader Vic's. Which transitions my review from the physical place itself...to the staff, bar, service, and food.

I have to be very delicate here...as I know some might read these boards and think that some of the staff may have talked to me and pushed their opinions or agendas upon me. Let me state that I deliberately didn't chit-chat with any of them. I wanted to review and report my experiences from strictly how I observed them. And observe them I did.

In my hour and a half at the bar...I (and another total stranger sitting near me) noticed a distinct attitude on behalf of some of the newer younger TVL staff...towards the older Trader Vic's staff. I don't know what's going on...perhaps the younger ones are senior because they worked at the bar when it was Circa 55, and could even be a union thing. But there was noticeable looking down the nose and rolling of the eyes on the part of some of the newer staff, when they interacted with the older. The older ones were sooooo going out of their way to please both customers and their fellow workers, that I wanted to lean over the bar and tell Mr. HandsomeBartender/Lead, "These guys are ARTISTS buddy. YOU should pay attention to how THEY work! At least show them some respect!" :(

It probably didn't help that almost every time Mr. HandsomeBartender/Lead asked someone if he could help them, that the usual response was, "I'd like to wait for Alfie." So, so, so, many of the customers knew the old timers and wanted their services. So I can kinda see why Mr. HandsomeBartender/Lead would be frustrated. To the point that for much of the night, it looked like some of these talented older artists were assigned support duties like fetching ice and supplies, to where it became rather difficult to catch them when they could work their magic. At no time did these older workers complain or show the slightest body language that they were anything less than pleased to do whatever was asked of them.

And magic the old timers did work! Fantastic drinks and a pleasure to watch them create them. From these talented artists...the drinks are worth the price. :)

I ordered a spare-rib pupu, and it was excellent and very much like those from the old Chinese ovens. No disappointment there either.

Service was excellent all around. Judy the Assistant Manager was warm and friendly. Eve noticed my Reyn Spooner Trader Vic's shirt, and commented "I know that shirt!." I've never seen so many black suited hotel executives and management hover around a place in my life. Some stayed constantly. Others came in an out...new faces all the time. These "suits" outnumbered the customers! And that's not to mention the emotionless Security dudes all over the place. I swear this one guy must have been wearing Depends! He didn't move from his post one time in the 5 hours I was there! :)

But of course the real reason I stayed 5 hours and dropped over a C Note into the hotel and Trader's coffers...was the company. Good company can lead to a great time at even the most mundane of places. I'm not saying Trader Vic's Lounge was mundane. It was a very nice hotel and pool bar. But the company I met that night is really what made me enjoy myself and stay much longer than I normally would in such a place.


So that's my review. Great drinks IF you get the right guys. So-so to downright dull on the decor inside from a tiki point-of-view. Virtually no change from Circa 55 Lounge on the outside. Unless you count the nighttime surf video being projected on one wall and the glow from the Trader Vic's Lounge neon sign. Expensive. Like...really expensive. From some previous reports I read here...I was expecting it to be better than I actually found it. IMHO...it was not.

But to those that never knew or could appreciate what the old Trader Vic's was...they'll probably never know the difference and/or will likely think this "Trader Vic's Lounge" is the best or even better than the original at the Beverly Hilton.

There is much room for improvement on the tiki/poly front, IMHO. I hope they do. If you dig that sort of upscale Hollywood poolside thing and look at it from that point of view alone...it's a good spot suck down a few. But from a tiki and traditional Trader Vic's decor point-of-view...it still as a ways to go. IMHO.

Also hope some of the staff work out whatever friction some of them seem to be experiencing. Or at least take it "backstage" to where the average customer doesn't pick up upon it.


For reference outside this forum...some other reviews and photos can be found in this thread in the General Tiki forum:


[ Edited by: PremEx 2007-05-15 18:31 ]

Soccer Tiki and I give Trader Vic's Lounge 90210: 2 Thumbs Up :) Our experience there was Tiki-rrific: Good Food, Tasty Drinks, First Class Service from Wait Staff & Bartenders, Exotica/Lounge Tunes, and lots of people with Smiles on their faces. I guarantee if you give Trader Vic's Lounge a chance you will leave with a :) on your face too. WoooHooo!

Oh look, the under 20 crowd ... That's no tiki bar...blah ... I admit the Ohana makes it fun...
huh what? Oh... there's another place to complain? what did you say sonny? oh... never mind. I'll go to that post,,,,,

[ Edited by: Hiphipahula 2007-05-18 03:00 ]

I wonder if there is a lounge version of "The Beautiful People"...?



When I come out in August we plant the Royal Hawaiian Fusilier banner in this place. Have fez will travel!

I'm a little confused on this but wanted to check...

If I go to where the old Trader vics was at the hilton in Beverly hills the old location is simply moved a little bit down the building but still in the same area. I noticed the sign is off the building but even though its not the same large room its still basically in the same location living in a rande gerber (lounge creator for W / Hard rock ect) type place?


On 2007-06-25 23:30, sneakyjack wrote:
I'm a little confused on this but wanted to check...

If I go to where the old Trader vics was at the hilton in Beverly hills the old location is simply moved a little bit down the building but still in the same area. I noticed the sign is off the building but even though its not the same large room its still basically in the same location living in a rande gerber (lounge creator for W / Hard rock ect) type place?

On its location...no...it's nowhere near its old location at the Beverly Hilton. The new Trader Vic's Lounge is on the opposite side of the hotel out by the pool now...occupying the space (an much of the design) of the old Rande Gerber type lounge that was called Circa 55 Lounge.

But on the design...yes...I think you've got a good handle on it. Imagine that Circa 55 Rande Gerber type lounge with a lite tiki overlay, and that would pretty much cover the decor and design of it. IMHO.


Just got back from TV. B.H. we had the best Navy Grogs, Ben the bartender rocks. I just wanted some good drinks and Ben was there to make it happen. And he was nice enough to give me some free stuff to take home.

Thanks for the Info Hiltiki.
good to Know that Ben is still there.

I heard that my favorite bartender there(Alfi) was moved up stairs to the
non tiki bar in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel.


[ Edited by: bigtikidude 2008-01-10 20:50 ]


Jeff, he is upstairs, and he is my fav too for the last 10 years or more. I actually went to see him last night but he works the morning shift on Wednesdays. You can go see him on Fri, Sat, Sun. Last time I went to see him upstairs, he went downstairs and made me a couple of Navy Grogs and brought it up to me. He served it in a tall glass so no one would know, hahaha.

wow good to know,
thats great.
The Navy Grog is my favorite drink at TV's too.
I will have to remember that he can do that.


I went to go to the TV's lounge yesterday to kill sometime between the Syncopators at Safari Sams, and the Martini Kings at Bordello.
Well there was about 100 tv news vans etc. parked all over the side walks and parking lots.
I called JonPaul and asked him what was going on, as he lives kinda close and might have known.
He said the Golden Globes ceremony was going on, and would probably be best to not go there, as it would be a mad house.

oh well,

TVL should be raging now that it is summer.
I've been away for too long.

[ Edited by: christiki295 2008-07-06 22:22 ]

I heard from Soccer tiki that he and woohoo were there yesterday, and the Mai Tais were flowin and tasting great.
I asked him to have a Navy Grog for me, and no reply.
could that mean he did, and wasn't able to reply?


I'll have one for you on Tuesday, when I'll be in the house.

I am disappointed with the outside of the bar. They could of at least made it more tiki looking. At least teh drinks are still flowing there.


This thread has been dead a long time, hence my question. After just having my first Trader Vic's experience in Emeryville (which I liked despite the sports bar televisions killing the lounge vibe) I am wondering if anyone from Tiki Central ever goes to the Trader Vic's "lounge" at the Hilton? I am aware of the sad history of this location but if you can get a good Trader Vic's Navy Grog or Mai Tai and some TV food in the tiny lounge here maybe it's still a good time? Talk me out of it if need be but I'm planning a visit from beautiful San Fernando Valley.

And not to elongate but if I should go to Tonga Hut instead let me know. I don't know what to make of the place based on Yelp reviews. I don't like to go anywhere where I am not hip enough for the room.

[ Edited by: mcmtiki 2016-08-24 14:51 ]

I've been there many times and enjoyed myself a lot, but last year I noticed that the drinks went downhill, which was weird because they're corporate and the recipes are tightly controlled, so I attribute it to sloppy bartendering.

If you want to cross if off your "must visit list", then go. You won't have a bad time, and if it's a nice day, it's great to sit outside and try to imaging what it used to be like, but it's nothing like going to a much better place like Tiki-Ti or Tonga Hut.

It's also NOTHING like the Emeryville one! Totally different vibe, much more akin to a "hotel", than a restaurant/bar.


On 2016-08-24 14:50, mcmtiki wrote:
I don't know what to make of the place based on Yelp reviews. I don't like to go anywhere where I am not hip enough for the room.

[ Edited by: mcmtiki 2016-08-24 14:51 ]

Yelp reviews rarely have anything to do with a tikiphile's experience. If you want to know what the tiki people think about a venue, then check Critiki - reviews of tiki places written for tiki people by tiki people.


Actually, I looked at Critiki as well:

"Tonga hut has always been one of my favorites. Sadly I will probably Not be returning. The service was so bad this weekend and the bartender was so rude that it has soured me." -- August 9, 2016

I have no opinion -- I haven't been there -- but this Critiki note matches some of the Yelp reviews.

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