The annual San Francisco Bay Guardian Best of the Bay winners came out last week and 2 tiki bars were noted, Trader Vic's and Trader Sam's. The writeups are quite entertaining so I will share them with you:
"Best Debauched Tiki Joint:
Skip the food and head directly for the bar at Trader Vic's, a venerable upscale restaurant that caters to the "sophisticated savage," whatever that means. The place is usually filled with a decidedly nonsavage older crowd, but that doesn't mean you can't get Polynesian on their asses and start a hula line. There are tiki dolls all over the place, mind-numbing Hawaiian music, and a menu filled with off-the-wall mixed drinks. And if that's not a recipe for debauchery, I don't know what is.
Management may have anticipated the wild influence Trader Vic's tropical drinks would have on customers: prices are jacked sky-high to prevent excessive consumption on the part of financially challenged, unsophisticated savages such as this writer. But if you prepare well and arrived sauced, you'll have a lot of fun just deciding which drink to order. Will it be the Black Stripe, served in a ceramic skull (which you get to take home), or the Tropical Decadence, a giant rum drink dished up in a bowl festooned with topless women? At $10 a pop, take your time and choose well."
I never knew you got to take home the skull mugs. Must be a new thing. I guess I better go get some!
"Best Place to Drink out of a Bowl:
Trader Sam's may be a regular stop for those annoying party trolleys that rove the city late at night loaded with drunken kids screaming, "Whooooo!" at the top of their lungs, but it's also a true piece of tiki history. The rattan signs emblazoned with the names of Hawaiian islands hanging over the tables, among other tributes to Polynesian pop, make this a fun hangout for anyone looking to "go native." Weekends get crowded, but on a Thursday night you can still find a place at the bar to order a Scorpion Bowl, which comes piled with plenty of pineapples and cherries skewered by paper umbrellas. There is no pretension at Trader Sam's. After all, how could a place that serves whipped cream on half of its drinks be anything but a true tiki experience?"
Dang! I never put whipped cream on my drinks. I've been doing it all wrong!
Pretension n. 1. A specious allegation; 2. a claim to something, as a right or privilege; 3. Advancement of a claim
Pretentious adj. 1. Demanding or claiming a position of distinction or merit, esp. when unjustified; 2. Making an extravagant outward show