Even though it was a shell of its former self, the last outpost of Trader Vic’s at the Beverly Hilton closed yesterday. The poolside lounge version of the legendary tiki restaurant appeared after the original mid-century Polynesian landmark closed in 2007 and continued to serve the original Mai Tai and pu pu platters with vintage dishes like Crab Rangoon. The de-tikified space will operate until May with a different name and menu and then close for a remodel.
“Trader” Vic Bergeron and Donn Beach invented the tiki style at their California restaurants of the 1930s, creating a genre that would entice generations. The original Beverly Hilton Trader Vic’s was a sprawling Polynesian pop masterpiece that opened with the Welton Becket-designed hotel in 1955 and was a celebrity hot spot for decades. A smaller version at L.A. Live was open from 2009 to 2014.
Trader Vic’s continues to expand internationally (who knew they had 11 outposts in the Middle East?) but has closed all but two locations stateside. The closest place to get their famous Mai Tai is now 369 miles away in Emeryville.