Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Pages: 1 2 3 105 replies

Name: Sam's Seafood/ Don the Beachcomber
Type: restaurant
Street: 16278 Pacific Coast Hwy
City: Sunset Beach
State: CA
Zip: 92649
country: USA
Phone: 562-592-1321
Status: operational (as Don the Beachcomber)

Description:
Sam's is arguably the premiere polynesian restaurant in southern California and the 'official home bar' of southern California Tiki Centralites. The restaurant has been in the Sunset Beach location since 1960 and the decor reflects that. The place was decorated during the height of the tiki craze so it reflects the perfect tiki bar. They even named a drink after Tiki Central.

[ Edited by: Luckydesigns 2012-07-06 11:26 ]

[ Edited by: Luckydesigns 2012-07-06 11:26 ]

[ Edited by: Luckydesigns 2019-09-08 22:45 ]

B
Boob posted on Wed, Jul 30, 2003 7:29 AM

There's a tiki bar in sunset Beach???

What does arguably mean?

It means I'll argue with you about it until I convince you that I'm right.

...and yes, there is a tiki bar in Sunset Beach. Just ask TWT. He knows.


Spike

[ Edited by: Luckydesigns on 2003-08-03 15:45 ]

Well........I probably won't argue that.

Thats "sams seafood,property of the mighty two wheeler" if you dont mind.I found it, I claim it!.I'll thrash anyone that dares say otherwise.

On 2003-08-04 20:30, twowheelin'tiki wrote:
Thats "sams seafood,property of the mighty two wheeler" if you dont mind.I found it, I claim it!.I'll thrash anyone that dares say otherwise.

Well TW, your just too late . I was conceived there.
I had some born to wild, beach party parents.
I even have a drink named after me there, "Lumi 'au'au, shack pepe" (hawaiian, meaning - "bathroom shack(stall) baby". :)

[ Edited by: Unga Bunga on 2003-08-05 12:50 ]

unga, I love ya ....but your kind of like the indian, and I am like the spanish when it comes to sams!

Columbus, is that you?
Sorry, couldn't resist....lots o rain in NY.:)

That was from me..., Mrs B.....6 days of rain-o-rama...and no clue what up with gettin into dis chatter box....whateva! :)

[i]On 2003-07-30 00:44, Luckydesigns wrote:

The restaurant has been in the Sunset Beach location since 1960 and the decor reflects that. The place was decorated during the height of the tiki craze so it reflects the perfect tiki bar.

Through Sam's A-frame, tiki abounds. One is instantly transported to the islands based on the palapa raffia tiki hut ceilings, the painted tikis, the abundant faux tropical foiliage,the lava rock style interior and the 1950s travel posters. The best part of Sam's probably is the tiki bar.

I can see why anyone into tiki might want to have their wedding there.

The $36 Polynesian show at in "the Hidden Valley room" is a great show, with both Tahitian, Hawaiian and Maori hula, by both wahinees and kanes accompanied by live drums.

I hape Sam's stays around. The real estate is very, very valuable and Sam's is very much in a time warp, albeit lovable, - the light blue naugahide booths, the prominent placement of the newspaper article refering to "Japs," and an overall diner feel of the main room.

Nevertheless, it might be time for some capital investment and some sprucing up.

I'll be getting married at Sam's in November. I love that place. I can't wait to introduce the world of TIKI to all of my unsuspecting friends and family. We will be having the wedding and reception in the Hidden Village. Too cool huh?
Later,
Spermy

congrats, and sams was on our cali tiki tour last year, great place, so much to wander around and see there........

On 2004-10-03 01:36, The Sperm Whale wrote:
I'll be getting married at Sam's in November. I love that place. I can't wait to introduce the world of TIKI to all of my unsuspecting friends and family. We will be having the wedding and reception in the Hidden Village. Too cool huh?
Later,
Spermy

Good luck on the wedding! We had our wedding reception there over 20 years ago and it was fantastic! We are hoping Sam's will be there in a couple of years so that we can have a 25th anniversary party there.

It’s my understanding Sam’s has been in the same location (roughly) since before the great depression, it was indeed remodeled in the 60’s and again more recently about eight (?) years ago, thankfully they where gentle. I’ve heard rumors about a scandal involving Sam’s owners way back in the old days, but that’s for another thread.
Enjoy the coaster and matchbook art, if I’m rehashing things, my apologies.

Bosko

got a sam's vintage mug up on ebay if anyone is interested......look for auctions by rum-dum.

I do wish that Sam's had more business going for them. I swung by there a couple of weeks ago about 10pm and they were already closed up for the night. I tried again not too long after that, but this time at 9pm and they were just closing up for the night.

Tonight, the wife was out-of-the-state (literally) and my daughter was with grandma, so I thought that it was a good time to have a cocktail after visting with Crazy Al at his place, so I took the 10 minute drive to Sam's and got there at 8:15pm. I had the whole place to myself, other than a couple that were just finishing up their dinner. They told me "we'll be closing in 10 minutes", and of course, I asked why so early, and they replied with "well, it's been pretty slow, so we're all just going to head home". So I had my one drink and headed home...

I just hope that next time I don't pull up at 7pm and find them closed up early (again) for the night!!!

MG

I hope the weekends are better for Sam's.
Maybe there could be a weekly TC night there like Wednesdays at the Tiki Ti. I say we start an official week night at the Bali Hai also. We need a little more action in SD for those of us that can't make it up to LA as often. We should suport those good ol' places including the Royal Hawaiian in Laguna which is also a total classic in my opinion. They don't seem to get much attention here on TC. I heard that the Royal Hawaiian might have been for sale or closing, I hope not. Does any one know?

T

Tommy, the bar manager listened to a couple of tunes of ours when we played at King Kuku's birthday party at Sam's.

He said 'yeah, we could make you guys the house band once or twice a month', to which I foamed in anticipation. Sam's was afterall the first place I had a legal drink way back in '81.

Luckily, Spike our gee-tar player lives in Newport, and is of the age to still have a hoard of boozin' friends to pack the house.

In February I'm going to contact Tommy and set up some gigs.

Ku bless Sam's!

GT

Sams tiki bar is fun with a group, order your favorite blended cocktail in the shell bowl with two long straws, I know I live right dwon the street :) Aloha! Gogo

MG

Do it Bong!.... That would be cool.

The beach is right across the street. After the gig, everyone could run down for a late-night, unplugged jam session by the fire. Al can bring his nuts.

B

From 9-10-1952
"Had dinner at this fine ocean side place. Sea bass very good."

Maybe the 60s remodel that Tikibosco mentions Tikified the joint, as it was in the early 50s....just a seaside sea food spa.

SS

So what was the scandal with the old owners?

I had a disappointing dinner at Sam's Seafood on Saturday, March 5. While I was impressed with the decor, I found the service, food, and drinks to be disappointing!

I had a Scorpion and a Mai Tai, both of which tasted too sweet and lacking in alcohol.

Our baked potatoes were undercooked and hard. And while the Alaskan King crab legs were good, the grilled swordfish steak was overcooked.

And I dislike being served by kids! Especially bubbly kids that spill drinks and have to chatter the whole time they are serving us. Plus, the guy that greeted us on the way in totally ignored us on the way out, like he didn't care if we ever came back!

I am saddened by this because I fear that we will lose another Tiki bar/Polynesian restaurant to the forces of apathy. :(

RR

On 2005-03-07 11:16, ScottMcGerik wrote:
I had a disappointing dinner at Sam's Seafood on Saturday, March 5. While I was impressed with the decor, I found the service, food, and drinks to be disappointing!

I went there this last Sat afternoon. And my review is the exactly the same as ScottMcGeriks.

My group were the only ones there at 1pm. The service sucked. You wouldn't think the service would be bad if you were the only people there. But it was. The food took over 45 minutes to get to us after ordering. And it wasn't hot when it got there.

But we went to the Purple Orchid afterwards and all was better in the world.

[ Edited by: Rob Roy on 2005-03-21 13:43 ]

[i]On 2005-01-07 08:53, MEAN GENE wrote We should suport those good ol' places including the Royal Hawaiian in Laguna which is also a total classic in my opinion. They don't seem to get much attention here on TC. I heard that the Royal Hawaiian might have been for sale or closing, I hope not. Does any one know?

The owners restored the deterioating and vandalized tikis out front, so if it were sold, I wonder if the new owners would have the same tiki interest?

However, the handful of times I've been there it has been mobbed, so maybe it is being traded for investment/profit purposes and the profitable theme will not be altered.

I must agree with the two previous posts. I was very excited to go to Sam's for my birthday this week. Boy was I sorry. The service was the very worst I have had in a long while. It took a looooog time to get a drink and even longer to get food. At one point I thought we should just leave, and now Iam sorry we didnt. The food was not the tasty dinner I was hoping for my birthday meal. Nor was the mai tai!
I might go back to see what the luau is like on a friday night. Hopefully they can win me over then!

I was with Rob Roy @ Sams a few weeks ago and had the same experience....out of curiosity has anyone had a good experience there recently......have the last group of us attending missed the good time to be there or has it just bottomed out in recent years........just curious if we missed a memo

I was at Sam's just last week on a Monday had the Crab Legs for $12.95 and a few Mai Tai's. And I can't complain. Maybe, I just know what to expect from Sam's. The drinks are pretty bad but the Crab legs where alright. I was just married there in the Hidden Village last November and it was one of the best nights of my life!!! If you are in a small party of people try eating your dinner in the bar. The ambience in the bar is pretty cool if you ask me. Try the polynesian floor show on the weekends. And when you are at Sam's don't be affraid to explore the have some really cool paintings and Tiki's around the whole place.
Later,
Spermy

RR

Like I said in my experience, the food was mediocre, the drinks were bad but the decor of the place was great. I did get a chance to explore & the only way I could see that place staying open is through renting out the back rooms.

Just got back from dinner at Sam's. It was great!! I think it is highly underrated as a tiki destination. What a collection of nostalgia!! Just my dos pesos...

I love that place! I've been there twice now for V-day, and would've gone again, except that I decided to take Valentines day at the Royal Hawaiian, since it'll be the last time possible. If you haven't been there before, go before June or so. That's when the waitress said they'll be closing.

I Love the Royal Hawaiian!! I even lived across the street from it for a few years. I will definitely be heading there in the next month or so. Any other places like these two close by?

Mmmmm...Sam's. Been too long since I've been there. I need to rebuild the Kon Tiki and make the journey again.
However, when I'm in HB, I always go to the Aloha Grill...Those "Hawaiian Drums" (chicken wings) are just unbelieveable.

Anyone here fans of the Aloha Grill ?

[ Edited by: tikiyaki 2006-02-18 23:30 ]

On 2006-02-18 23:29, tikiyaki wrote:
Mmmmm...Sam's. Been too long since I've been there. I need to rebuild the Kon Tiki and make the journey again.
However, when I'm in HB, I always go to the Aloha Grill...Those "Hawaiian Drums" (chicken wings) are just unbelieveable.

Anyone here fans of the Aloha Grill ?

[ Edited by: tikiyaki 2006-02-18 23:30 ]

Aloha Grill? Where's that? Because I must go now.

T

From an evening visit, Thursday, August 11th, 2005:

The other side of this sign was not fully functional at the time.

>

I've no idea why the tiki below was wearing Christmas decorations in August.

All of the following pictures were shot in the bar. According to a manager, who, oddly, asked not to be identified, the tikis were last painted about 20 years ago.

This is the same tiki as above, shot with flash.

Below is a pair of tiki poles in ambient light.

The flash shows more detail, if less atmosphere.

Does anyone else think whoever painted this was inspired by a Mexican wrestler?

Is that supposed to be a necktie?

I'm not crazy about the Budweiser sign.

>

Elsewhere in Sam's: Here are more cool lamps, an A-frame, a waterfall, lots of bamboo and two tikis - all within a few cubic yards.

Another view of the unfortunate tiki at above, right...

...which is afflicted with the indignity of having a handle affixed.

The restaurant contains a few of these unpainted poles.

Although I am familiar with "x-eyed" mugs, this is the first tiki I've seen that has the "x" pattern over the face. Is there any cultural authenticity to this pattern?

Sam's makes good use of partial A-fames jutting out into rooms, creating an impression of buildings beyond. Look at the walls. Look at the ceiling. They are dull and industrial when seen in the light of a flash unit, but virtually hidden in the ambiant light of the room. Unfortunately, time was pressing and I couldn't drag in a tripod for the long exposures needed to convey this in the larger rooms.

I've got more pics but felt like this was too long already. These are just the ones I cropped and sized for my blog; the others I have are mostly interior signage.

There are pics that show parts of Sam's interior scattered around Tikicentral, mostly in conjuction with events. Of greatest interest to me were some that SugarCaddyDaddy posted of the floor show: http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=1494&forum=1&vpost=17797&hilite=sam

http://www.thelope.blogspot.com

S

Wow!

That's a wonderful Cataloging of artifacts and Tikis in Sams! Mahalo! I'm in awe! (And I don't think I've ever gotten a real look at the colors on some of the Tikis, they look soooo much better in the low light!)

I've got a gallery of pix we took at Sams back in Sept 2005- http://www.sevenpleasures.org/gallery/Sams-Seafood that includes some of the painted murals. This one is my favorite-

I love the way in the bar area the Tiki poles give you the feeling of being under a roof with the dancers in the mural swaying between the poles 'outside' beyond the thatch roof-

I also love how Sams integrated the painted murals with the 'foreground' rocks and waterfalls-

Sam's is totally under rated!

Finally made it to Sam's. While the thatching is gone from the bar, the tikis remain intact and the murals in the restaurant are glorious. Also, the entire place now glows with candlelight and has shed it's diner feel. It is now a much more romantic and classy dinning experience.

PS-The Pearl Harbor newsclippings with their totally non-PC references to "Japs" are also gone.

Sam's has yet to figure out Volcano Bowls or serve their tiki drinks in tiki mugs.
The mugs are available for purchase for $20, but I refrained.

BTW, both the Kobe Burger and the Chicken Sandwich are excellent and nicely presented.
However, the most dramatic appetizer appear to be the Chicken Stix.

Live music in the bar on Saturday evenings. This past Saturday a guitarist/vocalist playing Bob Seger, Credence Clearwater and Willie Nelson. The prior Saturday: a garage band.

For you purists, beware there are 2-3 tvs on showing sports.

Here is a review of the renovated Sam's Seafood, from the Orange County Register.

The key word appears to be 'dark'

Be sure to take a look at the 6 photos accompanying the article

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/life/abox/article_1886264.php

Vern

T

I love the way they made it darker! More restaurants should be dark. It hides one's blemishes, and it makes the food look better.

The fries in the pic from the newspaper review look delicious, but the Kobe burger looks way too big.

I agree about the darker, its way more atmospheric.
But I think your way off on the burger size.
of course look at me.
:)

Jeff(bigtikidude)

On 2007-10-15 15:46, thejab wrote:
I love the way they made it darker! More restaurants should be dark. It hides one's blemishes, and it makes the food look better.

The fries in the pic from the newspaper review look delicious, but the Kobe burger looks way too big.

I

Another review of Sam's Seafood. This one is very positive, and I am much hungrier after ready about the food served there.

Catch the article title - 'Appeasing the Tiki-philes'

http://www.ocweekly.com/food/feature-review/appeasing-the-tiki-philes/27926/

O

Here is how Sam's looked last night. My drink was tasty but wasn't shaken, call me a purist but an unshaken mai tai?
It was such a relief though to see a place like this regardless of my mai tai. After the images of the new Las Vegas Trader Vic's that are still burned into my retina, I'll drink to Sam's.
It's nice knowing that places like this still exist in the world.
Last night when I walked around the open and closed rooms there, I thought to myself, "Yep, this is what its all about."
I got the same vibe at the old BH Trader Vic's that I was getting here. Dark, romantic and exciting. It has that tiki palace feel to me. The dark closed banquet rooms held more surprises and there are probably outdoor areas I can explore next time. I was surprised at how cool this place is. If they would just shake their Mai Tai and unpaint a few tiki, they would be perfect.
(Dear Sam's, they have great paint strippers that don't hurt the wood under the paint. Just think about it please?)

(


Life is a state of mind

[ Edited by: Ojaitimo 2007-10-29 15:28 ]

Good to Finally meet you sir, and good job documenting the New Sam's.
I'm not 100% happy with it either.
But its cool to have it at all.

Jeff(bigtikidude)

O

Kona last Saturday

Pages: 1 2 3 105 replies