This beloved bar and restaurant is a San Francisco icon!
The beloved Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is one of the longest continually running tiki bars in the states. It’s basically everything a tiki bar should be; an explosion of deliciously kitsch tropical décor with all the themed, lethal cocktails and Polynesian-fusion dishes you could hope for.
In the late 1920s, the Tonga Room’s famous plunge pool was originally part of the Fairmont Hotel, which it’s still attached to. Back then you would find the likes of Ronald Reagan paddling about. Fast-forward 20 years and MGM’s set designer, Mel Melvin, was busy turning it into an exotic fantasy, centered around an ornate thatched-roof boat that would become a stage for some of the best acts floating around town. That’s right, your musical entertainment floats around the pool in the center of the restaurant, an experience that is unrivaled anywhere!
On top of the crazy aesthetics, there are fun drinks like the ‘Zombie’ that promises
“you’ll be eaten alive” after just two. Or the Siren’s Song which apparently, “no one survives”. But aside from surpassing all the tiki hallmarks, there is the live music, often featuring the city’s finest up-and-coming jazz musicians and bands. Then, in case you forget you’re supposed to be in paradise, fake rain will fall into the pool intermittently for some tropical flair.
Tonga Room is currently only open on Fridays and Saturdays at 950 Mason Street in San Francisco. Be warned: you can’t make reservations, so be prepared for first-come, first serve dining and bar service. The Island Groove band plays music from 6:45pm to 10:45pm, during which time a $15 cover charge is applied for each guest. As the Tonga Room ramps back up, we can expect even more live music and guest bands in the future!
OTT tiki forever!
Featured image: @tongaroom via Instagram