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Trader Vic's - Atlanta, GA (restaurant)

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Name:Trader Vic's - Atlanta, GA
Street:Courtland & Harris Streets, NE (Hilton Hotel)
Phone:(404) 221-6339
Web Site: http://www.tradervics.com

Description From Web Site: Trader Vic's, located in downtown Hilton Atlanta, transports diners to the Pacific Islands with its exotic interior, Polynesian cuisine, and tropical cocktails.
The Mai Tai Lounge, decorated with colorful glass buoys suspended from bamboo rafters, offers fruity concoctions and tantalizing tidbits. Delectable meals are served in the dining room adorned with batik prints and turtle shells complimenting the Pacific Island theme.

Executive Chef John Liu provides tastes and flavors of the islands with Polynesian and fresh seafood dishes prepared in glass-enclosed Chinese wood fired ovens. The diverse menu features Asian dishes from the wok, Calcutta curries, and luau-style dinners for two or more guests.

For private parties, the Puka and Samoan Rooms offer a view of the oriental garden and seat 90 guests or a reception of 150. The Garden Room, also overlooking the oriental garden, is perfect for a party of 120 or a reception of 200. For Tahitian décor for a party of 30, guests can reserve the Tonga Room.

On Thursdays, guests are invited to Mai Tai Time. For a special price throughout the evening, visitors can taste the restaurant's internationally famous cocktail, a blend of Martinique and Jamaican rums, fresh lime and crushed ice.

[ Edited by: TikiGoon on 2003-09-25 10:17 ]


Last week I was was going to be in Atlanta and seized the opportunity to try my first Trader Vic's Mai Tai. I had been working on my Mai Tai recipes at home for months now and wanted to see for myself what a REAL Trader Vic's Mai Tai :drink: tasted like. Joel the bartender does a real good job. I picked up some Mai Tai mix, Ogret Syrup, Passion Fruit Syrup and Mai Tai glasses. I would have bought more, but they were low on other mugs and stuff. Didn't make it in time for dinner, :cry: so I will have to schedule another trip. :tiki: I took a bunch of pictures, enjoy! :wink:

Interior Entrance

Exterior Entrance at Night.

Tiki Gods by day

They have some pretty cool stuff here in the display case, but not as much for sale.

Joel taking a break outside.

[ Edited by: TikiGoon on 2003-09-25 10:15 ]


Here are some other trips to this bar posted under the main discussion area.


Atlanta Trader Vic's is a delight. They are very happy to make an occasion special for you (just call ahead). I've celebrated my own birthdays, master's degree completion, and "moving away-ness"(?), as well as those of others. The hours are not what we would hope for, however; do call ahead to make sure they'll still be open if you're planning a late-night stop-by, as they close rather early.

The food can vary at this TV's. The curry dish is always good, but sometimes the food is overcooked when they're rushed. But you probably weren't coming here for the food, were you!

Another note: parking is free in the hotel garage (undeneath, entrance from behind), but ONLY if you get a dinner. It technically is not free if you only get drinks. Sometimes they wave this one, sometimes not. I've bypassed it by buying a TV coconut mug and getting a stamp that way. Better than paying for parking and walking away empty-handed! (each is $6 or $7)



Recently there was an article in Atlanta's Creative Loafing Newspaper about Joel Lindsay, the bar supervisor at Trader Vic's in Atlanta. I tried to scan the article, but it turned out horrible. The link above should take you to the article. I have included the text below in case the link expires.

Published 03.01.06 Creative Loafing Atlanta, GA march 2 - march 8, 2006
food & drink, Page 61
Photo by: Jim Stawniak

For three-and-a-half years, Joel Lindsey has donned a Hawaiian shirt as the bar supervisor at Trader Vic's in downtown Atlanta.

What did you do before bartending?

I went to bartending school when I became disillusioned with teaching. I discovered there is significantly more money in it. I was in grad school studying philosophy.

Does your educational background help with your job?

Philosophy is the practice of how to think in a cosmopolitan manner, different ways to view the world and different people from a detached perspective. A bartender's most important skill is to be chameleon-like and engage people on their own terms.

Explain the enduring appeal of a kitschy Polynesian bar in the basement of a downtown hotel.

There's a certain authenticity to the fakeness of Trader Vic's. It's a representation of what was popular 40 years ago. It has a radically different atmosphere than any other bar in city.

I've got this image that customers are either hard-bitten booze-hounds or students.

It ranges. We get a lot of the hip Little Five Points crowd, students from Georgia State, SunTrust people and the occasional old couple who got engaged at Trader Vic's 30 years ago.

Are there more locals or conventioneers?

It varies widely. In our slower periods, we get a lot of regulars who are not necessarily tiki-philes but who like the oasis it provides.

Any misconceptions you want to clear up? Like that women throw themselves at bartenders.

That's not really true. They flirt a lot, but I don't get many straightforward offers. I deflect that by mentioning my wife.

Are you more like Woody or Sam of "Cheers"?

Sam. I love baseball.

What's your most requested drink?

The Mai Tai was invented at Trader Vic's. It's a tart rum drink with fresh lime juice, simple syrup and gold and dark rum.

Does it come in a cool keepsake glass?

No, but our Samoan Fog Cutter does. It is served in a vase. It's a real favorite.

What should people order more of?

Brandy Alexander is a great drink with gin, crème de cacao and cream. No one under the age of 60 orders it.

I heard you won an award for your skills.

The editors of Creative Loafing named me Best Bartender in 2004.

Is this a long-term career? Will you be a senior pouring drinks?

The physical wear and tear is starting to get to me. If someone offers me a sit-down job, I'd consider it.

Trader Vic's, 255 Courtland St. 404-221-6339. http://www.tradervicsatlanta.com.


And here's me at Trader Vic's Allanta last year (wearing my authentic Kahiki Maoi necklace). I went with my brother and his wife who traveled about 500 miles to attend one of Tiki Kiliki's "Tiki Torch Nights"! (under the ruse that they were visiting me) We had a blast. Sadly, I am moving just before the 30th anniversary:(

Ever noticed how people like to strike the same poses as the tiki's they are posing with? I wonder if there's a psychological term for that...


This thread is sorely lacking in pictures, so here are some taken during our visit in Dec 2006. Unfortunately, I neglected to take pictures of the bar. (Too busy hanging out there.)

[ Edited by: gatorrob 2007-01-10 08:59 ]


And the tikis...

[ Edited by: GatorRob 2007-01-10 09:02 ]

Dan posted on Thu, Jan 11, 2007 4:43 AM

I had my last Mai Tai there before getting back on the train to return here to lovely Iraq. Though with my latest extention I am working on my drinks here with mixed results.


On 2007-01-11 04:43, Dan wrote:
I had my last Mai Tai there before getting back on the train to return here to lovely Iraq. Though with my latest extention I am working on my drinks here with mixed results.

Come home safe and sound and SOON. Barmaster Joel will have your Mai Tai's poured and waiting for you at the bar when you return. :)

I'd be interested in hearing about your tales of mixing tropical drinks in the middle of the desert! If you have any to share, we'll see you over in the Drinks and Food forum.

I'm gonna bump this thread because I love this Trader Vic's and to let y'all know about the current specials. Thursdays are $5 Mai Tais along with performance from Tongo Hiti in the bar. If you pick just one night to visit, make it a Thursday. The website says Fog Cutters are $5.50 from 5pm to 7pm on Fridays, but I could have sworn they were a bit more on our last visit. It's hard to remember after four hours of rum.

There are also some more pictures and reviews over on Yelp.

Indeed, the Atlanta Trader Vic' deserves all the bumps it can get. In the few but destructive years it has become the oldest authentic Vic's in America !


I will second that. Kailuageoff, Marian, Tiki Kiliki, Karbora, along with myself and my wife had a spectacular time there during a much needed pilgrimage back in April. Sorry, no pictures. Sometimes things are just better remembered...

World's smallest (looking) Trader Vic's sign.

I couldn't pass up this postcard showing the Trader Vic's dwarfed by the towering Atlanta Hilton.



I just made my first trip to Trader Vic's Atlanta! After several weeks of initial introduction and immersion into the tiki culture, I convinced my lovely lady to join me in a quick trip to Polynesia ala Georgia.

What a great place to begin with! The decor is just outstanding as was our service. I was VERY pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food. With my focus on the drinks menu (not the cover, haha), I just didn't expect too much from the food. I had to have the Mai-tai first and then had a Fog Cutter followed by an individual Scorpion. They were all quite tasty and beautifully presented. I will have to say, I thought they were a tad too sweet. I only say this because I just got Beachbum Berry's Remixed and have been practicing the TV's Mai-tai prior to the trip. However, the overall strength definitely made up for it.

All in all, We had a great time and I'll definitely go back... On a Thursday. :wink:


My wife, her boss and I went to this surviving Tiki temple a couple of nights ago. I knew it was old but we were all surprised at the clean décor (good maintenance all these years - no dust) and the timeless class of the restaurant. Of course mostly windowless and the layout made it semi-private where ever one sat to eat. It was late on a Wednesday night and still crowded. My wife's boss started telling us how some newer tiki establishments closed in the L.A. area and I had to explain to him, before we got to Atlanta's Trader Vic's, the basic important principles of a good Tiki venue, like semi privacy, no windows, darkness, sure enough this old classic Trader Vic's had all this, and this is why it survives all these years in a place far from the Pacific. Had a great time even though they were short staffed and everything took long to order or to cook. But pasted the time with our So Cal friend and his stories of the tiki places his parents used to take him as a young man. Now with his young daughters and trips to Disney's Tiki Room, the eldest has a bedroom with a Polynesian décor. At that moment, before the main courses came and while sipping his Mai Tai, he got it, he put 2 and 2 and 2 together and he now understands the Tiki Style and the Tiki allure like we all do. We have another convert. Here are some pics.

Some booty from my visit

Sorry don't know when I'll ever fix my camera phone, got to use selfie camera in darks rooms.

I've got a date (ahem, by myself) with TV's ATL in exactly six weeks. How excited I am!


They updated the elevator Tikis. Good. The painted ones that were there were a bit off-putting.


Pushing this elevator button always gives my wife and I a big thrill...

...as we know where we'll be when those elevator doors open next!

One of our favorite places to go. Just wish it were closer!

On 2014-08-22 22:09, LitClique wrote:
I've got a date (ahem, by myself) with TV's ATL in exactly six weeks. How excited I am!

Same here. Mid October we've got bedroom accomodations on Amtrak's Sunset Limited and Crescent trains all the way to New York. But we're stopping over in Atlanta for 2 nights just to go to Vic's. Can't wait!

[ Edited by: PremEx 2014-08-26 20:30 ]

Kedex posted on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 6:24 AM

I was finally able to visit Trader Vic's one year ago today, after several failed attempts (long story). One of the best meals I've ever eaten, and the drinks weren't bad, either. :)

Will be able to visit again next week end ish. *Fantastic as always, seemed like some mugs/glassware that wasn't there last year too.

[ Edited by: holler waller 2015-10-17 20:00 ]


My wife and I went to the Atlanta location and I thought I would add our thoughts. We stayed at the Hilton (we did the same thing in London) and it sure makes the visit that much more special. Eat, drink, drink, drink and then ride the elevator to your room.

The decor is amazing. From what I have read and heard, it hasn't changed much thru the years and is a sight to see. From the moment the elevator opens you are transported to Polynesian paradise.

The food was also amazing. We had dinner at 7:00 and everything was stellar. I made reservations a few days ahead of time but they were not needed as the restaurant was pretty empty, even on a Saturday night. We had a few appetizers and then shared a wonderful scallop dish. We aren't talking small scallops, either. A bit pricey (as expected) but well worth it.

After dinner we went to the bar and that is where our visit dropped off a bit. My notes on the drinks:

  • Mai Tai - good but too sweet
  • Zombie - an interesting variation but too sweet
  • Navy Grog - good but a tad sweet
  • Honi Honi - no surprise but it was too sweet
  • Atlanta's Own Peachtree Punch - actually was not too sweet. Nice peach flavor even though the garnish was half a canned peach.
  • Samoan Fog Cutter - the best drink of the night. Well balanced and strong.

Overall, we really enjoyed going to Trader Vics but were let down a bit by the drinks. Interestingly enough, our bartender seemed to acknowledge that the drinks are too sweet (they do use the Trader Vics bottled syrups - which are very sweet) but as he said - "that is how management wants them made." We would not hesitate to return but I might ask for less syrup in the drinks.

Rick in Texas

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