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Name:Trader Vics in Emeryville
Type:restaurant
Street:9 Anchor Drive
City:Emeryville
State:CA
Zip:94608
country:USA
Phone:(510) 653-3400
Status:operational

Description:
If going to Trader Vic's i would suguest that you make reservations, which unfortunately i didn't make. the front of the reseruant has three tiki's (hawaiian) in an island in front of the building. there is also a Marquesan tiki that is turned the wrong way in the bushes to the right of the door. the entry has carved doors. in the entry there are tiki poles carved, which are also all over the reseruant. the wait isn't bad as you can spend time in the bar and watch the sun set over the little harbor. the bar is a little bright and not as tiki as i would like. the walls are white and there are a few tikis (including a large marquesan and a Hawaiian pole) , a couple wallrus skulls, and some weapons. the drinks are good, and are around 8-10 dollars for single drinks to up to $20.00 four a four person drink. i had a "San Fransico" Mai Tai, and a Signapore sling or Trader Vic's Sling as they call it.

Once you get shown into the dining room the mood changes. the dining rooms are darker and they have three or four more of the big Marquesan poles that were in the Bar. there are some fake Palm trees in there as well. the tiki's in the whole building are nice but repetive as all the tiki's are almost the exact same. the food is very good, i had the Hawaiian Mahi Mahi and my family had the chinese smoked Pork Chops that were excellent.

Over all there were alot of tiki's (that i will show in my pictures) and other artifcats. the food was great, no maybe excellent. the drinks were good, though i was with my familay and i didn't get to have too many, only two. it is a great place for dinner and has some good carvings, pictures and artifacts. i hope to go back.

the three tiki's in the island

the door

some pole in the entries and around the place

there are more but mostly just of the same tikis i showed.

[ Edited by: Octane on 2003-08-18 21:49 ]

T

I finally made it to Trader Vics in Emeryville (Early June 2008). The food? Fantastic! The Mai Tais? Excellent, of course! Here's some pictures:

Fabulous Rum collection:

Of course, a picture of their Mai Tai:

a poorly-stitched-together panorama of the Yacht Club at TV's:


[ Edited by: tikigap 2008-07-10 09:38 ]

Mahalo for all the nice pics!

Much appreciated!

Looks inviting!

Cheers! :drink:

Z

And they are having a nice deal on tuesday! Woo-hoo!

[ Edited by: ZeroTiki 2009-03-11 19:28 ]

[ Edited by: ZeroTiki 2009-09-19 09:59 ]

I've been enjoying Trader Vic's Emeryville location for some time now, both before and after their 2010 remodel. I'm really glad the remodel didn't change the character of the place. Pure vintage Trader Vic. It's like traveling back in time to 1971 to visit the brand new Emeryville location when it took over the mantle of the original Trader Vic's on 6500 San Pedro Ave. It successfully walks the line of retaining the traditional classy atmosphere that Trader Vic's has been known for with the Tiki's and other Exotica elements. I hear some of the new Tiki's were adopted from the Dallas location. Being situated on the bay at the marina adds beauty and an air of authenticity to the Polynesian experience.

This weekend my wife and I attended one of their occasional Luaus and had a great time. There was live Polynesian entertainment and dinner served "family style".

Since the 2010 remodel the drink prices have gone down to where I consider them inexpensive compared to other Trader Vic's locations. On the down side they removed a number of the classic cocktails from the menu. I'm encouraging them to bring them back but in the mean time I can always visit the Palo Alto Trader Vic's to get some of my old favorites. So lucky to have two Trader Vic's within 35 minutes of home!

I found this cool artist's rendering from a newspaper ad:

  • Trad'r Bill

Here's a nice article on Claudette Lum, TV Emeryville's current maitre d, and longest employee Trader Vic's ever had. She was originally hired by the Trader himself, for the Cosmo Place location:

"I hadn't ever heard of Trader Vic's and was very nervous," she said. "I wore a Chinese dress. Trader told me to take my coat off and walk from here to there. After I did, he interviewed me a little more. He called everybody 'kid.' And he said, 'Kid, you can start working here.' "

Claudette is a very nice lady who still works on Fridays and Saturdays - bravo to her for her 51 years at Vic's!

Here's the fixed link DC

-Trad'r Bill

[ Edited by: trad'r bill 2011-07-16 09:37 ]

Trad'r Bill,

That link didn't work for me?

Here is an old postcard from the Trader Vic's in Emeryville.

The walls look bare compared to today's view.

DC

Cool PC DC - I agree, the place looks much different nowadays. ...I fixed the link above (hopefully)

T
Tiare posted on Sat, Aug 4, 2012 11:48 AM

I was looking at the menu online for TV Emeryville and saw they are serving Senor Pico items. It also says Senor Picos is opening in the fall.

Anyone have any news?

http://tradervics.com/locations/6.12.12%20pico.pdf

http://tradervicsemeryville.com/

Looks like they are going classier with their new branding. Guess that the little guy with the sombrero will not be part of the "new" Senor Pico.

http://www.tradervics.com/senorpico/senorpico.html

I missed DC's postcard post here. It's noteworthy that they covered up the Tikis' "members" with Tapa cloth - wonder if it was done for the postcard only, or if they were skirted all the time:


(Example of free Marquesan manhoods at Munich Trader Vic's)

This modesty was not necessarily missionary Puritanism, but part of Polynesian tradition:


(photographed in Kona yesterday)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2012-08-06 01:27 ]

I nudged my dad to rummage through his matchbook collection for any PolyPop artifacts. He came up mostly empty, save a number of Trader Vic's matchbooks from the lengthy era when the Cosmo San Francisco location was open at the same time as the Emeryville location. If I had to guess, this would probably be from between the late 60s and mid 70s.

kevin


From the Emeryville, CA restaurant, printed by Mike Roberts Color Productions in Oakland (circa unknown).

Here are some professional photos of Trader Vic's Emeryville that I downloaded from their web site. They were taken after the 2010 remodel and capture the beauty and the majesty of the Emeryville location. As you can see the location is spectacular, with the restaurant and lounge being situated right on the bay. Dining there in the evening as the sun is setting with that special someone is very romantic. As you linger into the night, with the assistance of two or three drinks, the tiki atmosphere envelops you as you begin to appreciate the history and heart of this very special place.

The Ovens:

The Outrigger Room:

Back view of the bar:

Front view of the bar/lounge. Notice the authentic Leeteg black velvet paintings:

The Captain Cook Room:

The main dining room (or the Tiki Temple as I like to call it):

Another view of the lounge:

Another view of the main dining room:

The Captain's Cabin:

A booth in the main dining room:

Back lit masks:

The Trader's Office (where you will find precious memorabilia from the Trader's career such as letters of thanks from a Saudi prince and accolades from Disney animators):

If you're ever in the bay area be sure to treat yourself to the full Trader Vic experience, drinks and cuisine. By the way, these twelve photos make a great calendar!

Nice eye candy! Thank You...I never get up there anymore, I really should.

Glad you like them Bigbro. Did you notice that, unlike the 70's era picture earlier in this thread, the Marquesan tikis now unabashedly display their "members"? It helps keep the venue a child free zone!

For anyone planning a trip to the bay area, a tikiphile weekend here should include dinner at Trader Vic's Emeryville, drinks at Smuggler's Cove and the Forbidden Island, dinner at the Tonga Room, and a visit to the spectacular De Young Museum Oceanic Art wing (http://deyoung.famsf.org/deyoung/collections/oceanic-art ).

Yes, the DeYoung! Home of the Trader Vic's logo Tiki and the Covarrubias Flora & Fauna mural!

WooHoo! Trader Vic's Emeryville is Still a True Tiki Temple.........

Has anyone ever seen the Mai Tai Drum ordered?

http://www.thrillist.com/bars/financial-district/aggressively-sized-drinking-vessels

Trader Vic's Mai Tai Drum
9 Anchor Drive, at Powell; Emeryville; 510.653.3400
Proving there ain't no party like an Emeryville party, this recently remodeled, chain-erific tiki bar offers up a for-private-parties-only Mai Tai Drum, which stores 75 Original Trader Vic's Mai Tais in an old rum holder, heretofore referred to as "whoever stands next to Rip Torn, and hands him his Admiral Nelson".

D
djmont posted on Sat, Aug 3, 2013 6:49 PM

My wife and I went to Trader Vic's for the first time the other night. We ate our way through several of the small plates and drank our way through several of the cocktails.

We had:

1944 Mai Tai
Maui Mai Tai
Scorpion Bowl
Zombie
Menehune Juice
Potted Parrot
Trader Vic's Grog
Tutu Rum Punch

Overall, the experience was fun and I would do it again. It didn't quite meet up to my expectations.... But things seldom do, right?

The drinks were good, not great. The overall low quality of the booze really hurts their cocktails. Trader Vic's Rum just doesn't cut it. I'd prefer them to charge a little more and use some decent stuff.

Two of the drinks were made incorrectly. The trainee bartender messed up a Maui Mai Tai, and I had the main guy remake it. (Which he did, although only after tasting it and saying it was correct. It clearly was not, and I was disappointed that he tried to pull that on me.) The main guy botched the TV Grog, but I didn't bother complaining that time.

A fun evening, but I imagine the experience was quite a bit different back in Vic's day.

I have to ask, how could you know if the Maui Mai Tai was made incorrectly? The Maui Mai Tai recipe has never been published! The Maui and Guava Mai Tais were created at the end of 2010 for the "unwashed masses" who for instance, have come to expect to be able to choose among several flavors of margarita.

How was the TV Grog botched? What recipe were you expecting and where did he go wrong?

Finally, did you catch the name of the "trainee" bartender? I know all the bartenders by name and am sure they will welcome a few tips from someone with your professional bartending experience.

D

A fair question! And I'll freely admit upfront that I might be completely full of shit.

Are the Maui and Guava Mai Tais supposed to be secret? The former is a Mai Tai with Dole pineapple juice and the latter has Kern's guava nectar. Since they're happy hour specials, we saw many of them being made. The guava seemed to be the more popular one.

I didn't watch my wife's Maui Mai Tai being made, so I don't know where it went wrong. But the reason I know it went wrong is that the first drink tasted completely different from the second drink -- and the first one was gross and the second was good (although sweet, as expected). I think the bartender (who was only on his second day) just grabbed the wrong bottle. No big deal. It could -- and does! -- happen to everyone.

As for the TV Grog -- you're absolutely right, and what they served me might have been exactly what they intended to serve me. But according to the menu description, it's supposed to have dark rum, pineapple and passion fruit in it. Jeff Berry's recipe concurs. So I have a pretty good idea, I think, of what that should taste like.

What I got, though, tasted much more like what I would expect of a Navy Grog. But the flavors were out of balance and funky, and not in a good way. Here's a picture:

Like I said, though, I could be wrong. I've never ordered one before and maybe I was mistaken.

At any rate, the bartenders were nice guys, and we had fun. My complaints may sound petty, and maybe they are.

(I want to make sure you know I wasn't an asshole about it or anything. I would never be rude to bar staff, and I tipped my customary 20%.)

By the way, the burger was excellent. But is that celery salt on the fries? The crab dip was really good, too.

I don't know if the Maui and Guava Mai Tai recipes are secret. I've never bothered to ask because the concept of a Maui or Guava Mai Tai is an abomination to me. There are so many bastardized Mai Tai's in the world that when I go to Trader Vic's I'll be damned if I order a Mai Tai that is anything but the original Trader Vic style! I'm willing to give them a pass on those two drinks because I realize they have to do whatever it takes to appeal to John Q. Public and the last few years have been very tough ones, especially for the restaurant business.

And that brings up an area where I think Tikiphiles misunderstand Trader Vic's. As much as I admire Trader Vic's for their drinks, honest strong drinks unlike the watered down crap served at most restaurants, they have always been even more appreciated for their cuisine. Victor Bergeron wrote at least six cook books compared to the two versions of his Bartender's Guide. When you go to Trader Vic's you can indulge to whatever degree that suits you. One can go just for drinks during happy hour, drinks and reasonably priced and interesting food in the lounge, or for an upscale dining experience with entrees prepared in their Chinese ovens, exotic cocktails and first rate service in an exotic South Seas environment. Boutique cocktail bars have their place but without food or with only crappy greasy food and sky high drink prices their appeal is limited.

I agree that Trader Vic’s Food Products doesn’t do the restaurant any favors by selling Trader Vic Dark Rum at retail. At liquor stores around here it is the least expensive rum on the shelf and could easily be improved but in their bars they use at least five Trader Vic rums that are not available at retail. I've sampled them and they are suitable for their purpose. I just took inventory of my rum collection and I have 41 different high quality rums at this time and all variety of liquors and modifiers. I've given up trying to keep track of everything long ago. I frequently make the same drinks at home that I've been served in their bar/restaurant and I often conclude that their version tastes better. In my opinion they're doing a very good job.

Many of the drinks you ordered are decent drinks but not what I consider the best on the menu. Their Zombie is a relatively weak fruit punch and bears no resemblance to any of the Donn Beach Zombies. The Menehune Juice and Potted Parrot are great for the souvenirs and suitable for someone unaccustomed to complex flavor profiles and strong drinks. The Trader Vic's Grog is also a sweet approachable drink for the casual drinker.

When I go to Trader Vic's I frequently order all variations of their traditional Mai Tai, including the off menu "Old Way" with a float of 151 and the Honi Honi. Additional favorites are the Tiki Puka Puka, Navy Grog, E'ville Awa (Emeryville's special drink), Queens Park Swizzle, Raffles Bar Gin Sling, Tortuga, Siboney, Port Light, Eastern Sour, Moku Nani, Samoan Fog Cutter, Maui Fizz and yes, Trader Vic's Grog. Several of these are currently off-menu in Emeryville but they can be had by special request if it isn't too busy. Finally while the Trader created the concept of communal Tiki drinks and the Scorpion Bowl is his most famous communal drink I prefer the Tiki Bowl.

Next time I hope you can try a few of their more interesting drinks, an entree with before and after dinner cocktails, and enjoy more of what Trader Vic's has to offer.

[ Edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-08-12 00:48 ]

D

I appreciate the fact that you have a powerful emotional and/or nostalgic attachment to the restaurant. That's a joyful thing to have.

I bet you can make a better Mai Tai than theirs, though. Mix one up with some Appleton 12 and Clement VSOP or El Dorado 12, along with a good quality orgeat, and you'll be in for a treat. Naturally, however, tastes differ.

Been there, done that hundred's of times. I've posted my premium Mai Tai recipe previously on Tiki Central using all top shelf spirits and syrups and Emeryville's tastes VERY similar. My cost to make one is more than what they're charging and that doesn't include the 1/2 hour I spend preparing and cleaning-up. Regarding flavor, better or not is individual preference.

It's true that they just hired two new bartenders who are just learning the recipes. Sorry you evidently picked an "off-night" for your one visit!

[ Edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-08-15 15:56 ]

D

The TV Royal Amber rum is available at retail, although few places stock it. But then you could use the same stuff they do.

Does anyone know the origins of this Tahitian/Marquesan bench found in Trader Vic's Emeryville? Was it a modern carving made in California, repurposed tiki from the islands? The "upward face" really interests me. I know about these utilitarian tiki in Hawai'i but not so much from the south islands.


Photo by William Baker from Critiki website.

[ Edited by: creativenative 2018-02-16 10:42 ]

I have seen smaller, similarly carved items before. However, the section under the seat was hollowed out, like a serving vessel or a boat (or the Trader Vic's Mai Tai boat!).

An update on the potential land issues at Trader Vic's Emeryville https://www.berkeleyside.org/2022/04/21/trader-vics-tiki-restaurant-emeryville-closed-or-open

Stupid expiring leases...

H
Hamo posted on Sat, Apr 23, 2022 9:51 PM

Sounds like I need to try to make another trip in the next seven months....

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