Trader Vic's, Beverly Hills 1970s
The Polynesian pop masterpiece that was Trader Vic’s opened on the ground floor of the Beverly Hills Hilton in 1955. Designed by architect Welton Beckett, the 200-seat restaurant was every Tiki fan’s dream.
Its mid-century architectural symmetry was enhanced with fantastic murals sculpted in concrete. There was a high-peaked Polynesian entrance, and tikis and totems lured customers into a bamboo-ceilinged inner sanctum decorated with tropical flair.
It became a Hollywood hotspot in the 50s and 60s, attracting entertainment royalty like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and then-California Governor Ronald Reagan.
People loved the signature drinks such as mai-tais, zombies and scorpions and dishes like bongo bongo soup and pu pu platters. There was a Complete Luau Menu for a minimum 20 persons, with a week’s notice required.
The Polynesian-themed restaurant chain had originally been founded in 1934 in Oakland, California, by Victor Jules Bergeron, and bore his nickname Trader Vic.
In the 1950s Bergeron partnered with Hilton Hotels.
Trader Vic’s Beverly Hills weathered the storm when tiki culture fell out of favor with baby boomers who saw it as emblematic of their parents’ generation, but it could not survive a change of ownership. Entrepreneur Benny Alagem, founder and former chief executive of Packard Bell Computers bought the hotel and the property housing Trader Vic’s from talk show host Merv Griffin in 2003.
He shut Trader Vic’s three years later when that wing of the hotel was demolished to construct the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Trader Vic’s was relegated to a spot by the Hilton’s swimming pool, but the magic was gone and it closed for good in 2017.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.