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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Name:Trader Vic's - Beverly Hills
Type:restaurant
Street:Beverly Hilton, 9876 Wilshire Blvd., at Santa Monica Blvd.
City:Los Angeles
State:CA
Zip:90210
country:USA
Phone:(310) 274-7777
Status:defunct

Description:
Trader Vic's Beverly Hills is the tiki palace of the City of the Angels (in my opinion). Tikis abound both inside and out, the myriad of tiki concoctions are served in a variety of tiki mugs and tiki bowls and the decor and vibe are some of the best remaining examples of Polynesian pop.

At the entrance, an 8 foot tall tiki next to the extended A frame entrance welcome the tiki worshiper. A dramatic bamboo inspired light fixture dangles inside the A frame. Large polynesian designs decorate the exterior and the neon Trader Vic's script dominates the busy intersection of Wilshire & Santa Monica. It is a facade worthy of Trader Vic's (unlike the San Francisco location).

Inside there are approximately one dozen tiki poles. Most face the walk way, not the bar, so be sure and enter the bar the long way.

The best boths are the those next the entrance and in the rear of the bar, where the tikis face into the booths.

The walls are covered in tapa barkcloth, which provide an overall South Pacific tiki feel.

The ceiling is lovely and dramatic palm thacthed ceiling, which reaches the apex in the middle. An abundance of nautical flotsom, including several straw canoes, is suspended from the ceiling.

The lounge is dimly lit and very elegant, with cozy leather booths and a beautiful polished wood bartop. The waitstaff, comprised primarily of older Asian men, are all clad in Hawaiian shirts and are very gracious. Mixed nuts and votive candles align the bar (although the tiki candles in the SF Trader Vic's are noticeable absent).

The trademark $11 Kamaania, served in a souvenir ceramic cocunut with the Trader Vic's logo is available and is a necessity for any respectable tiki mug collection.

My favorite libation is the $11 Samoan Fogcutter, served in a large tiki mug (available for purchase at the Emmeryville location, but sadly not here).

For the wahinee, I recommend the $ 17 Tiki Bowl (for 2), which is served with a fragrant Gardenia blossom, to be worn over the ear.

Pupus are available - there is a very large selection, which average approximately $13 and are very tasty.

Dinner is served in the lounge for an elegant tiki dinning experience, as the decor in the main restaurant features integrates more of a nautical theme. Although there is a lush patio, it is only for viewinng, there is no outside dining.

The menu is also extensive and includes $18 for Sweet & Sour chicken, $23 for BBQ pizza or $25 for Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi-Mahi.

The crowd is varied and all ages, including men in suits, couples on dates and women stopping in after shopping. It also tends to attract parties of the 90210 crowd. It can get hopping on the weekend.

The Tiki Gods have kind for keeping Trader Vics and his polynesian palace (atleast in the lounge) living amongst us.

The bar lounge of the Beverly Hills location has been lovingly maintained and does not disappoint.

[ Edited by: Bora Boris - Corrected city, type and status. - 2010-06-13 17:14 ]

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy - added the old designation; "Traders" to the subject - 2011-09-21 12:05 ]

Here's a picture of the interior of the LA TV's during the Academy Awards party held there, image is from Style Magazine.


Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Freelance, Ph.D., D.F.S

[ Edited by: freddiefreelance on 2005-04-21 07:38 ]

I just blogged this place; here are some exterior shots from August of 2005:


interior wall:

current issue of swizzle and smaller stick (sandwich spear?):

Not sure if anyone has had a chance yet to read today's L.A. Times: (from the April 7 06 edition):
http://www.calendarlive.com/nightlife/cl-et-vics7apr07,0,2536244.story?coll=cl-home-more-channels
Discusses efforts to save Trader Vic's Beverly Hills. Since the link does not appear to work, try copying the entire url into a new browser window. Otherwise, you can also go to calendarlive.com and search for trader vic.

Trader Vic's Beverly Hills August 11 2006 sundown. I'm wondering how much longer this will be here. I have asked permission to photograph the interior and the management was supportive of what i was doing. I'm really going to miss this place, sigh. I wanted to attend Bongo & Mrs Fury's party at the new Rincon but I was committed to a boat race in Long Beach. Instead, I decided to document the International Tiki Day eve at Trader Vic's, Tiki Ti's & Purple Orchid on the LA Tiki trail. I meant to make it to the Tonga but couldn't this trip.

Then I was off to Tiki Ti in Hollywood.

[ Edited by: Ojaitimo 2006-08-14 22:54 ]

[ Edited by: ojaitimo 2006-08-19 17:49 ]

CL
O

Thanks, we should plan a Tiki Central party there one evening before it is gone. Anyone interested?

[ Edited by: Ojaitimo 2006-08-19 18:06 ]

H

Great idea,I am interested!!!

H

Just got back from T.V. It's still going strong. Alfie, the bartender in the blue shirt above, thinks it's another 2 to 3 years before they close. He gave me one of those mai tai glasses and a shot glass with T.V. logo on it..yeah... :) :drink:

Went there on Saturday night and the Mai Tais were as tasty as ever. We sat in the bar and had a lovely and hilarious waitress who, when my friend ordered a suffering bastard, said "served by a suffering bitch" and curtseyed. It's a classic joke and I always laugh at it.

O

Please read the thread in general from yesterday and give your input. Thanks

The thread discusses the planned development/destruction of Trader Vic's and ways to attempt to prevent such from happening:

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=22554&forum=1&13

I live in So Cal, and the local paper had an article last week saying some company was buying the Trader Vic's property and it's days were definately numbered. Better go there before it's too late! Sorry!!

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Dont it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
Put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see em
Dont it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that d.d.t. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Please!
Dont it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Dont it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

"Zantz can't dance but he'll steal your party.
Watch him, or he'll rob you blind..."

BB

Beverly Hills Trader Vic's Sunday 5/4/2008














Is the Ball Busting tomorrow?

It's been in the news.........

BB

"President elect Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy leave Trader Vic's, a Polynesian restaurant in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Dec. 29, 1980."

Nixon, Reagan...which Trader Vic's did Bush frequent? :D

By the way, what is the status of the building? Has it been razed yet?

BB

I drove by a week ago and it's still there, The last I heard there's another restaurant in there for now.

The last time I was at Trader Vics B.H. was 1986, I took a date there
it was not the best time for the place, lots of actors still ate there, food was not very good at that time.

And I have burned into my brain the image of the largest rats I have ever seen walking along the fence
just outside the window from our table.

from then on,I only went to the Tiki-Ti.

Those were rich Beverly Hills rats, going there for the coke left-overs in the bathrooms.

I don't think these have been posted yet. If they have, forgive me: Eight photographs taken by Maynard Parker in 1955 when Trader Vic's Beverly Hills was still known as The Traders. These photos are part of the Huntington Library collection and copies can be ordered online, (I may do that, to get some frameable copies).

http://www.huntington.org/huntingtonlibrary.aspx?id=3970

These photos show the restaurant and bar prior to the first renovation - before I started going there. I thought Trader Vic's was fantastic as it was, not knowing that it was even better back in the old days.

I've created a gallery of high-resolution copies of each of the photos here: http://imgur.com/a/UJX5s. If you click on an individual photo, a nice, larger-format image will appear. I think the architectural details alone would be invaluable to someone building a home tiki bar.

I've cropped and played with the brightness/contrast of the photos to produce the highlights below:

:down: The Entrance

:down: The Hall to the Dining Room/Bar

:down: A view of the Dining Room

Remember this tiki:

:down: Now the Dining Room from the other end, looking from behind that large tiki

:down: The Bar

:down: Another Dining Area with a Courtyard View

:down: The Chinese Ovens with stacks of firewood

:down: The Gift Shop

Nice fern-wood tiki:

WOW! :o I knew that over the years it had become less Tiki inside, Bigbro has pointed that out a few times but I had NO IDEA that it was that cool in the beginning. I was still happy with the Yacht Club look they had given it over the years not knowing exactly how it was before but had I seen these earlier I would've definitely been grumbly the times that I went.

So beautiful, it will always be the dearest to my heart it was the first tiki rest./bar I was in. My Grandpa was a Seabee Officer in the So. Pacific WWll he built landing strips all over the islands. Yep, "Gus" loved Vic's, it was the quintessential family important celebration venue for our family before '71 I visited until the end of it's era as so many did. Thanks Sabu...
P.s. Boris, I love the yacht club look too.... Fantastic...

[ Edited by: Hiphipahula 2011-09-21 14:39 ]

Those are great - thanks for taking the time to host those high-res shots!

C
Chub posted on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 4:01 PM

Just a pic of me with some friends shortly before it closed.

I found some more photos in the Huntington Library archive. These were taken by Joseph Fadler of the Southern California Edison Company in November of 1961. The show the Wilshire side of The Traders at night:

:down: These photos brought back a forgotten memory from childhood - A whole row of giant tikis flanking the restaurant on Wilshire. I remember driving by these many times with my family.


[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2011-09-21 19:51 ]

absolutely amazing,
thanks for posting Sabu.
I weep for the loss of the BH, Vics,
many good times there.

Jeff(btd)

On 2011-09-21 19:45, Sabu The Coconut Boy wrote:
I found some more photos in the Huntington Library archive. These were taken by Joseph Fadler of the Southern California Edison Company in November of 1961. The show the Wilshire side of The Traders at night:

Wow. I don't recall those Moai, which match the one in front.

On 2011-09-22 23:39, christiki295 wrote:

Wow. I don't recall those Moai, which match the one in front.

They also appear to be by the same carver as the big tiki inside the restaurant. I saw a post on Facebook by a Mid-Century Beverly Hills group that said the tiki at the front entrance, (and I assume these others as well) were carved in, and shipped from Hawaii for the opening of the restaurant. Not sure if this is a true fact or not, but it deserves more research.

Beautiful photos, amazing job as usual Sabu,

Aaaaw, guys, this is killing me: I used to have a Welton Becket P.R. folder about the building of the Beverly Hilton, with a section on the Traders. I lent it to someone and never got it back! (I keep borrowed material for a while too, I know - but I do return it!)

But I remember some hazy facts: the carver being American, and it mentioning five Tikis - which always made me wonder if that was a mistake!!! The first name Albert comes to mind -this might be a Leroy question...I also seem to recall that it said they were carved from telephone poles ..!!? Ah well... I have forgotten more than y'all ever.... (mumble mumble)

What really gets me is that this is the first photo that has surfaced of these four giants in the 20 years of my research! I mean this was the hang out of the rich and famous, in famous Beverly Hills! I think what we have here is a case of Tiki discrimination by the media, yes Sir!

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2011-09-28 12:25 ]

Bigbro,

It is pretty amazing that those 4 huge roadside Tikis have not been documented in photos or postcards before now. Did someone say postcards?

Here are a few from my collection.

One of the best renderings ever.

The inside bar

Back of the card.

And a matchbook from The Traders era.

Hope to hear some more on the carver.

DC

I found this Trader Vics image in the LA Library archives.

From the UCLA archives.

My caption would be "A VW bus filled with filthy Hippies is about to be turned away from Trader Vic's." :)

Some amazing old photos in this thread.

Here is and old illustrated ad for the place.

DC

La Societe de Bacchus et Epicurus reviews Trader Vic's at Beverly Hilton. (This society appears to consist of rich people as seen on the "Beverly Hillbillies")

Pictured are Vic's General Manager Oswaldo Lorenz and Chef Ping Lee

From
Millionaire Magazine
September 1965 V2 N1
http://www.martiantiki.com/millionaire-sept65vics

This Vics closing still saddens me deeply.

Jeff(btd)

I'm interested in a 27 foot bronze fountain done for the Beverly Hilton circa the early 1950's. Does anyone know anything about it or could help point me in the right direction.

This may have been 1950's style wire rod art. An artist I'm doing a project on mentioned he did this in an interview - so I assume it did exist - though to be literal he said "for the Beverly Hilton" not "is at the Beverly Hilton"

Thanks.

I am not aware of that fountain, but it sounds intriguing. The way to find out about that is to contact architect Welton Becket's office
http://www.ellerbebecket.com/100/founders.html
(it's current incarnation) who built it.

In fact, I know of the existence of a booklet that describes all the design features and artists involved with the project. I once had a xeroxed version of it, but lent it to someone, who never returned it :( - and now I can't remember who it was. I still have one page from it...

....I remember it also talked about the carver of the giant pole Tikis outside, of which only the one by the entrance survived:

I have yet to find a good image of these 4 watchers of Wilshire Blvd, if you do, let me know. :)

http://www.williamrotsler.com/art/hilton/index.php

Regarding that sculpture I was asking about a friend of mine tracked this down and uploaded it to the site I'm helping with.
I hope anyone reading it finds it interesting on its own merits...

Additional information or leads or photos would be very appreciated. (And I apologize for being slightly off topic being about the hotel and not the restaurant but I believed this thread would be most helpful for Beverly Hilton info.)

An ad from the Lounge in 2008.

DC

Found a few photos of the interior from 1955.

From an upcoming fashion show.

DC

I have this distinct memory of taking a date here around 1985
and upon visiting the little boys room, finding a couple of TV actors
doing coke on the sink, Later during dinner, we were seated in front of those big windows
off the main dinning room, sharing a Scorpion Bowl & watching the largest Rats I have ever seen
scuttle along the fence outside, Oh yes, Hollywood in the 80s.....

[ Edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2014-07-15 18:03 ]

Interesting Tiki mask in this Trader Vic's ad.

Don't recall ever seeing one like this before at a Trader Vic's.

DC

A

On 2014-07-30 16:26, Dustycajun wrote:
Interesting Tiki mask in this Trader Vic's ad.

Don't recall ever seeing one like this before at a Trader Vic's.

DC

Interesting closeup/resampling of the usual Vics logo...

...which I had completely overlooked as being a FEMALE until mentioned by Sven and confirmed by Jonpaul here.

-Randy

H

We were driving by the corner of Wiltshire and Santa Monica last night and where Trader Vics used to be is completely torn down and gone. I am pretty sure the fabulous old Bullock's building is also torn down.

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