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Trader Vic's Pop Up at Capital Hilton-Washington DC this Summer

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So stoked to hear the big news that Trader Vic’s and the Capital Hilton are bringing us a Trader Vic’s Pop up this summer at the historic hotel in downtown Washington DC!

A myna bird nesting on 16th St. told me about this a few weeks back, swearing me to secrecy (she/he has sharp talons) but also confirmed that it would not be in the original basement space due to accessibility issues as well as it’s been gutted for decades, used for internal hotel purposes.

Oh, and I’ve also heard a few fun surprises are being planned….ouch…that damn Myna bird again! Mahalo!


WASHINGTON (PRWEB) MAY 12, 2022 Trader Vic's Mai Tai Lounge Will Open at the Capital Hilton This Summer. We are very excited to bring back such an incredible piece of fun history from our past.

This summer, Capital Hilton is reigniting the flame of the popular Polynesian and tropically inspired Trader Vic’s restaurant inviting travelers and locals alike to experience a literal taste of the hotel’s history. Working in collaboration with the original Trader Vic’s restaurant first based in Oakland, California, the Capital Hilton team will transform The Statler Lounge lobby bar into a tropical destination, a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge pop-up bar with traditional tiki décor from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The pop-up will also offer a handful of original food items and cocktails from the Trader Vic’s menu, including the famous Mai Tai, created by Victor “The Trader” Bergeron in 1944, to evoke the flavors and feel of the famed restaurant. Originally located in the basement of the Capital Hilton—which was at the time called the Statler Hilton—Trader Vic’s was in operation from 1961 to 1995 and, with its location just two blocks from the White House, often hosted politicians, including Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, the latter of whom was a frequent guest.

“We are very excited to bring back such an incredible piece of fun history from our past,” said General Manager of the Capital Hilton, Paolo Pedrazzini. “In such close proximity to the White House, Trader Vic’s at the Statler was a sort of tropical getaway for presidents, diplomats and Washington, DC locals. We’re looking forward to sparking that magic again with our Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge pop-up in the Statler Lounge.”

To enhance the experience at Capital Hilton, guests will be invited to take part in the fun with a self-portrait area that will be decorated with the same tiki décor so that guests can commemorate their Trader Vic’s experience with an Instagram-able moment.

“Trader Vic’s seasonal return to the Capital Hilton and to Washington, DC is a wonderful homecoming of sorts and an exciting opportunity to come back to the exact location where we served and celebrated with our guests for over thirty years,” said Rhett Rosen, CEO of Trader Vic’s Worldwide. “As we come up on our 88th anniversary we are continuing to expand globally, collaborating with established tiki enthusiasts, and introducing a new generation to an influential brand whose legacy expands far beyond our restaurants’ walls. We are grateful for our partners at Capital Hilton, and we look forward to a wonderful summer in our nation’s capital.”

Expect tiki-themed specials throughout the summer for Capital Pride, Independence Day and more as this unique experience comes to life once more at Capital Hilton.

[ Edited by Tyber Tiki on 2022-05-13 06:50:42 ]

This is really interesting, especially considering the involvement of Trader Vic's. Wish I was closer to WDC and/or didn't already have summer travel plans.

Please post photos when it's up and running.

Definitely, Kevin!

The Statler Lounge is a typical lobby bar/lounge with an open layout and lots of light. While I realize it would be nearly impossible to replicate the original DC Trader Vic's level of TIPSY, I hope they do it justice. To me, it would be just fine if they could get close to the look of the Trader Vic's at the San Jose Airport. That being said, they better get the cocktails spot-on. Just sayin' :-)

Regardless of how it's executed, I'll be posting pictures.


TIPSY - as Obi-Wan said, that's something I haven't heard for a long, long time.


[ Edited by Staredge on 2022-05-29 10:49:16 ]

Ohh, thanks for posting.

Just the four cocktails?

I've always thought that if Trader Vic's locations were more bar and bites oriented they could maybe do better than the big restaurants with lots of overhead. Close the walls out a little bit here and it'd be just fine as a great hotel bar but also a good Trader Vic's.

Yeah. The regular hotel menu was available as well.


Met up with a number of the DC/MD/VA Tiki Ohana at the Trader Vic's pop-up and have a few additional pictures to share. Boom Boom Room has also posted his pics here: https://tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic_id=53932

1 TV DC Pop Up

2 TV DC Pop Up alt

3 TV DC Pop UP

4 TV DC Pop Up

5 TV DC Menu 1

TV DC Menu 2

I really hope they expand the cocktail menu as they move through the summer. We gave the Trader Vic's folks, doing the training, a number of suggestions :-)


[ Edited by Tyber Tiki on 2022-06-03 13:48:19 ]

Good point on the menu. They could add the Honi-Honi, Pinky Gonzalez, and Suffering Bastard without adding any ingredients they already have (aside from the Bastard mug, of course) as they're all based on the Mai Tai.

Great photos.

I'd encourage everyone in the area to visit, and those passing through DC to give them a visit. No doubt this is a trial balloon. If it doesn't do well, maybe it ends up a one off just this summer. Does reasonably well, perhaps they keep doing a summer bar. But here's hoping it does so well, that the Capital Hilton seriously considers becoming at least a full time Trader Vic's Mai Tai Lounge with an expanded drink and food menu.

The Trader Vic's pop-up at the Capitol Hilton now has DC location-specific Mai Tai glasses for sale! I love that they've included the two Eli Hedley tikis in the design.

Sadly the drink menu has not been expanded, but on a positive note, the manager said business has been great so far, especially with large group visits during the weekends.

Mahalo! Bar 1Bar 2Home 1Home 2Home 3

Oh I love that glass


The glass is cool!

So it's funny that these tiki joints go out or get less tiki, then years later they do a test run that is much less than the cool version of the joint they used to have and got rid of.

Wow looks like people like that thing we used to do so well, the thing that made us famous.

They did that here with the Kahiki with pop ups here and there special events and even two Kahiki like joints. They all went out, big bang then fizzle.

Man, tweak what ya got and stick with what made you famous in the first place.

Lots of old places make the mixes and foods they sold in the restaurant open for sale in stores and then start selling only the mixes and foods and scrap the restaurant.

Thats what the Kahiki did and the foods they sell are not good really.

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