Remember the fad of the 1960s tiki bars? Our most chic tiki bar in San Francisco was Trader Vic’s at 20 Cosmo Place. It opened in 1951 and was a huge hit with the locals along with the tourists until it closed in 1994.
Trader Vic was Victor Bergeron. He had opened the original Trader Vic’s in Oakland as Hinky Dink’s bar and restaurant in 1934. By 1951, he had opened other franchised Trader Vic’s restaurants in Seattle and Hawaii and the one in San Francisco. During the fad of tiki bars through the 1960s, the chain grew to more than 25 restaurants worldwide. Here is a look at the décor in the restaurants. See if you can pick out the photos from San Francisco.
Vic claimed that he invented the cocktail called the Mai Tai. His competition was Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, otherwise known as bar owner and restaurateur Don the Beachcomber from Southern California. We will never know who deserved the accolade. Here is the proper way to make a Mai Tai.
Trader Vic was also an artist.
Trader Vic died in 1984 at the age of 81.