It’s time to pour one out of a mug shaped like coconut, as word reaches us that the iconic Trader Vic’s has been served an eviction notice after almost 60 years of slinging sugary sweet rum-based cocktails.
The first ever international outpost of the classic Polynesian-themed tiki bar – and currently the oldest continually running branch in the world – this particular Trader Vic’s opened in 1963 and can be found in the basement of the London Hilton hotel on Park Lane. Well, until December 31, which is the date the hotel has told the bar it needs to shut up shop by, according to Frommers.
Rhett Rosen, CEO of Trader Vic’s, has said in a statement to fans of the bar that the Hilton has ‘decided to renovate’, adding, ‘I wanted to say from the bottom of my heart how much we appreciate and love all of you.’ A petition to save the bar can be found at Change.org.
Though the tiki craze may have passed a few decades ago – and with only a handful of Trader Vic’ses left – the closing of this camp classic of mid-century bar culture marks the end of an era. Founded by Vic Bergeron – who also claimed to have invented the Mai Tai – in the 1930s in Oakland, California, his bar was franchised throughout the 1950s and 1960s to capitalise on the boom for all things tropical.
The first ever hotel-based Trader Vic’s opened in 1955 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, and the bars soon became a byword for relaxed glam and postwar globetrotting, with their rattan roofs, Pacific islands decor and extremely boozy drinks. It is Trader Vic’s we have to thank/blame for the mega-sharing cocktail that is the Scorpion Bowl. Farewell Vic.
Trader Vic’s, 22 Park Lane, W1K 1BE.
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