Saturday, August 24, 2013

San Francisco: Tonga Room!

The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar is a San Francisco institution. Kitschy and retro, this subterranean  bar in the Fairmont Hotel, is one of the few to offer you a thunderstorm with your Mai Tai, (as if that Mai Tai doesn't have enough of a kick). It was transformed into a tiki bar in 1945 by Metro Goldwyn Mayer's set director.  Some tables are under thatched roofs and set around a large, aqua "lagoon" that catches the periodic rain from the ceiling, punctuated by lightning and thunder.

Mr Pants chose the Mai Tai; all fruit juice, crushed ice and a gallon of rum, just as deliciously tacky as the decor.  I ordered a sweet, medicinal, and deadly Zombie because nothing says tiki-bar like a Zombie.  (This drink has the honored place of being the first I ever ordered, on my 21st birthday, courtesy of my friends Marla and Alisa, who blindfolded me and took me to Miomar's Serbian Nightclub in Chicago, where the band played Happy Birthday for me, before we went off to our usual punk club hang-out, where I'd been secretly going for a year. Sorry, Mom.)

The honored Zombie

I digress.

You'll digress too if you have a second Mai Tai, or Zombie, and no food— why ruin it with food?  You can always stagger it off on your way to Chinatown dumplings, or the thousand other edible options around that just might be more satisfying than anything glopped out of the Happy Hour buffet bins lined up in front of the lagoon.

If your tastes run toward the more highfalutin craft cocktail, you could always go to the Comstock Saloon, two doors from City Lights bookstore, and chat about literature with stylishly plastered blondes from the Hamptons while drinking a beautiful rye Manhattan out of a pretty etched cocktail glass.  But then you'd be missing out on the Tonga Room's tropical, drunken vibe, which would be absolutely unacceptable. 

Highlights: Lighting! Thunder! Mai Tai's! Zombies! 

Disappointments: Buffet bins, maybe. 

Mr. Pants: Giggling.  

Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. thank's for your information and i really like your post ^___^

    1. Well, thank you kindly obatwasiruntukibuhamil! Cheers and bon appetit!