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Trader Vic’s London Closing

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I haven’t posted in a long time, but this news needs to be put out there in the hope we might be able to save Trader Vic’s in London. I believe that the Tonga Rooms at the Fairmont got a reprieve thanks to the work of preservationists, so maybe something similar could apply in this case. I’m going to start with the local council in the first instance. If anyone has any links to Trader Vic’s, maybe they could get in touch with me.


[ Edited by hotrod_tiki on 2022-11-28 03:04:56 ]

Well done, Sue.

I've written to the local council, I'm just searching for the relevant MP...

I know you've been communicating with Jacqui, so I'll update you via her from here on in.

[ Edited by hotrod_tiki on 2022-11-28 07:05:02 ]


This is infuriating - not only is this apparently happening, but it's occurring even before Warren Zevon can get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Also upsetting - how can Frommers write an entire story on this without mentioning the location's permanent celebration in "Werewolves of London"?

Even stranger - (and I'm sure this is a naive question, but the thought hit my brain and I still can't understand)... how is it there's a massive tiki revival happening, and yet Trader Vic's just keeps closing locations?

What rotten news for a Monday.


This is out of Trader Vic's hands to a certain extent, the host venue is closing the door on them.

how is it there's a massive tiki revival happening, and yet Trader Vic's just keeps closing locations?

This is a vexing one, for sure. There are several big reasons that I'm aware of (I'm sure others with more insight can offer more). Firstly, the Trader Vic's-as-a-restaurant business model has a LOT of overhead. It's costly to run, period, and although the laws vary from state to state, as a rule more than 50% of the revenue has to come from the food. Secondly, the cocktails are the most profitable element, but if cocktails generate 50% or more of the revenue, then minors aren't allowed. Restaurants that also serve cocktails and bars that also serve food are two different types of liquor license and aren't interchangeable. That's why all of the new tiki spots popping up around the country are primarily bars that may or may not serve food. These can be smaller, employ a smaller staff and generate impressive revenue despite elaborate build-outs. Restaurants generally have to be physically larger to be profitable as well. I mean, there's a reason why nobody's opening places to rival the Mai Kai these days.

Thirdly, Trader Vic's pretty much leases all their properties. From a strictly business perspective, this makes a lot of sense but it puts them at the mercy of the landlord. The London Vic's isn't closing because it's losing money, it's because the new management at that particular Hilton wants them out. That's also the reason for worry about the Emeryville location--the lease expires at the end of this year and rumor had it the property owners wanted to redevelop it into condos or somesuch for quick $$$. The recent letter from corporate seems to downplay those fears, but unless TV actually owns the properties, that's always going to be a risk.

Trader Vic's is generally doing fine overseas. The San Jose airport location is an attempt at developing a new marketing strategy, creating a smaller space with less overhead and higher profits to succeed in the U.S. market. Such an approach has worked in the past--Dobbs House Luau thrived at Love Field in Dallas for more than a decade before DFW airport opened and killed off the foot traffic in the 70s. I with TV well with the venture and hope to see more innovation from them. But unless they dramatically alter their corporate strategy, I doubt we'll see bar-only TV's popping up.


Agree with what Prikli Pear posted above. I'm curious as to what the Hilton's reasoning is -- do they have someone that's willing to pay substantially more rent?

Sadly, of the four Trader Vic's I've been to (London, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Amman), it looks like only one of them will still be open next year.

There are a lot of people on board here for Our petition including some influential journalists, so the more publicity and signiatures we get the better

Do we have to live in the UK to sign it? I love the London TV and spent many a happy happy hour there blowing my daily work per diem on cocktails and puu-puus.

Not at all, the more the merrier.


Hi as many of you are probably aware the Trader Vic's in London is due to close at th end of the year, We have started a petition online and have over 3500 signatures so far including some influenial people in media/journalism and even the 20th century presevation society, This is a request if anyone has more Vintage pictures for the 1960's era they can share with us' as if they can prove it has not had a major remodel and is mostly original there might be a case, Also the polesand fittings,Who carved these and where?, We have tried to get hold of Bob at Oceanic Arts to see if they did any of it and there does not seem that much detail on its early history/opening, If you look at pictures there is a lot of old stuff (tapa on most walls/Outrigger on ceiling/support posts, bar area etc,) Thanks4b5336d94b53354b4c7acadb4c8541d5

drag. everything good in the world gets destroyed. petition signed.

MrFab posted on Thu, Dec 15, 2022 9:26 PM

Nice article from Frommers:


At least I visited the now-defunct Beverly Hills one, and the downtown LA one (which lasted a mere 5 years.)

Good point on corporate short-sightedness:

“…given the global resurgence of tiki's popularity—even the infamously profit-obsessed Disney Parks added two "Trader Sam's" tiki bars to its U.S. resorts in 2011 and 2015, and they're always packed—you'd think that the accomplished marketers at Hilton would know how to leverage Trader Vic's powerful reputation to tap into the boom.”

Basically: the bean-counters don’t get that tiki bars can be a “destination” business that will draw travelers from all over, not just Hilton patrons who want to grab a bite and a drink before bed.

Hamo posted on Thu, Dec 29, 2022 6:19 PM

Got this email today:

Screenshot 2022-12-29 at 7.10.01 PM

Trader Vic's London Closing

We are deeply saddened that our time at Hilton Park Lane is coming to an end. After almost 60 years, we can only look back in amazement of the longevity, success, and impact this location had on so many lives. Few restaurants can say they have had the pleasure of serving Royal Families, Heads of State, Dignitaries from around the world and more celebrities than we can count. Sometimes all at the same time. I know this restaurant means a lot to the Trader Vic family of customers around the world, and trust me, it does to us as well. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. However, be rest assured that this this is not the end for Trader Vic's in London, and we will update you with our plans soon. The Trader Vic's brand has never been stronger all over the world, and we have you, our customers and extended family to thank for that. We value the strong relationship we have with Hilton and look forward to sharing more news about the exciting projects we are working on together.

Rhett Rosen
CEO of Trader Vic's Worldwide

[ Edited by Hamo on 2022-12-29 18:20:52 ]

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