Five great Bay Area tiki bars
Trader Vic’s. Tiki goes classy at Victor Bergeron’s legendary string of restaurant-lounges. Try the newly reopened San Francisco outpost. $$$. Emeryville: 9 Anchor Dr.; 510/653-3400. Palo Alto: 4261 El Camino Real; 650/849-9800. San Francisco: 555 Golden Gate Ave.; 415/775-6300.
Conga Lounge. Rockridge’s Cafe Rustica has turned its upstairs into a dreamy retro-tiki rec room: cool tunes, fun fishnet decor, and drinks like the rum- and banana liqueur-based Gilligan’s Island ($6). Bonus: excellent pastas ($). Closed Mon. 5422 College Ave.; 510/463-2681.
The Tonga Room and HurricaneBar. Still the gold standard of tropical bars, with its shipwreck decor, faux thunderstorms, and tasty rum drinks. $$$; cover charge ($3 Sun, Wed, Thu; $5 Fri-Sat) after 8. The Fairmont San Francisco, 950 Mason St.; 415/772-5278.
Trad’r Sam. It takes a potent drink―say a Hawaiian Volcano ($15) or a Surfer on Acid ($6.50)―to cut through the Richmond neighborhood’s foggy chill. Trad’r Sam has been serving them up for more than 60 years. Cash only. 6150 Geary Blvd.; 415/221-0773.
Martini Monkey. Oddly, it’s in San Jose’s airport. But who says decadent drinks and bamboo decor won’t transport you to paradise―even while you’re waiting for a flight to Denver? 1661 Airport Blvd., Terminal C; 408/925-9376. ―Peter Fish, Lisa Taggart, and A.W.