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Don the Beachcomber

1/6
Photograph: Eleonor Segura
Don the Beachcomber
2/6
Photograph: Eleonor Segura
Don the Beachcomber
3/6
Photograph: Eleonor Segura
Don the Beachcomber
4/6
Photograph: Eleonor Segura
Don the Beachcomber
5/6
Photograph: Eleonor Segura
The Zombie at Don the Beachcomber
6/6
Photograph: Eleonor Segura
Don the Beachcomber
Orange County
OpenTable

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Were it not for Don the Beachcomber, the tiki bar as we know it may never have flourished. History buffs will go nuts for this Huntington Beach restaurant and bar, founded in 1937 by Earnest Gantt (who later legally changed his name to Donn Beach)—widely considered the father of tiki bars. He patented over 80 drinks, serving them to Hollywood celebs like Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin and Howard Hughes. Today, Don's has morphed primarily into a Hawaiin themed restaurant with banquet halls, but there is still a bar and lounge area called the Dagger Bar, offering Beach's original drinks—including an impressive selection of exotic rum. Try the Zombie, a tiki bar staple invented in 1934 by Beach and designed to get you completely obliterated (patrons are only allowed two per visit). Newer cocktails include the Tidal Wave, a blindingly blue libation featuring pineapple juice, cherry liquer and blue rum that conjurs up images of clear Pacific waters. You can try the pupus (appetizers) as well, but don't get too excited: the food at Don's is not their strongest selling point. Instead, enjoy your umbrella-topped drink while watching Gilligan's Island re-runs on one of the bar's TVs, and be thankful that Donn Beach washed up on our shore.

Venue name: Don the Beachcomber
Address: 16278 South Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach

Venue phone: 562-592-1321
Website: http://www.donthebeachcomber.com
Opening hours: Sun-Thu 4-10pm; Fri, Sat 4pm-2am