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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar ( *Image Heavy* ), San Francisco, CA (restaurant)
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The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar ( *Image Heavy* ), San Francisco, CA (restaurant)
Tiki Shaker

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 772
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2009-05-17 3:29 pm   Permalink

Tonga Room Souvenir Photo holder and photo.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 18, 2004
Posts: 671
From: Tiki in a Crowsnest, AB., Canada
Posted: 2009-06-12 5:46 pm   Permalink

I didn't see the following menu in this thread so I figured I would add one.

Actually, there isn't a lot of the collectibles you can find from this great Restaurant on here. There's lots of whats bad and good and peoples opinions but I think it's time to show some of the artifacts from this awesome place that's been around for over 60 years!

Nothing too new here, just thought I would get some of this together on this thread. Quite an old Tonga Room Menu.

Inside menu where Half A Lobster is $2.50 and Shark Fin Soup is $1.50:


The following is postcard (Dated Sept. 1949) with a picture of the outside of the Fairmont Hotel where the Tonga Room is located:

It is hard to see, but the second entrance (further down hill) has a sign above it that says Tonga Room. Although I think the Tonga Room itself is down the other side but I might be wrong.

Here is an old matchbook, probably mid to late 1940's, from the Fairmont Hotel that shows all the other restaurants and spots to go:

The inside of the matchbook:

The following is an early table top Tropical Drink Menu that I have. Cover:

It's cool to look at and the bright colors on the black background really make the drawings pop.

Inside menu:

Back of menu that features a neat white drawing of the ship interior with colored drinks, lights and oriental roof over the floating barge:

Man O Man......Zombie's for $1.50! Awesome!!

Here's a commonly seen postcard from the Tonga Room:

This is another older postcard which really shows the Ship features of the restaurant. This is from above the bar looking out. You can see the "S.S. Tonga" floating in the center before it's different changes.

Tonga Room Matchbook:

Here's another Menu:

Following is a old photo and holder you could get from the photographer that worked the room which I saw recently:

This is an early photo as the background is still in the ship setting. Nice to see sort of a behind the scenes shot and a period photo. Looks like the young couple are quite happy to be there and drinking of course!! It looks like they got a Tonga Punch!

Here's another older matchbook:

This matchbook has no address or phone number on it. You just have to feel where it is!

A Moai wood grain style salt and pepper set:

Now we can't forget about the mugs can we?
Here's a couple of the more elusive ones I know of.
The Drum Mug:

3 Face Moai Bowl:

And the cool double stacked coconut:

There were other mugs and bowls like the common 3-Face Bucket Mug, Peanut Tiki one, Hula Girl Bowls, OMC Earring Head, etc., but I think that's about it from me for now though.

Mahalo, TabooDan

[ This Message was edited by: TabooDan 2009-06-12 17:48 ]

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Joined: Jul 26, 2009
Posts: 3
From: Lemoore
Posted: 2009-07-27 12:29 am   Permalink

My husband and I dropped by the Tonga Room on a Friday in July, 2009 during happy hour. I had a very good margarita (rum and I don't get along very well...goes back to rum and coke days in the late 60's) and my husband had a beer. They do have San Francisco prices but at least happy hour is not outrageous. They now have a limited $9 buffet and it looked pretty good. We just went for the one drink but it looked as if they did a good job on the tropical drinks. They still have the thunderstorm over the pool. By the way, my husband said the tiki bar was designed in lieu of doing away with the swimming pool. Be sure and take the time to appreciate the lobby of the Fairmont while there. Lots of history and beauty. Even though it is in the ritzy Fairmont, dress was casual.

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 08, 2009
Posts: 19
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2010-03-10 10:59 am   Permalink


650 Gough Street (at McAllister), San Francisco, California
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 from 5:00 until 7-ish

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - To all concerned San Franciscans, Tiki freaks, Dionysians and Sybarites, midcentury fans, and rum aficionados; come one and come all to a gathering at Smuggler’s Cove (650 Gough St. San Francisco, CA 94102) on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 starting at 5:00PM to sign a petition opposing the demolition of the Tonga Room to make way for a parking garage and yet more luxury condominiums. After you sign the petition, stay a while and enjoy a fantastic rum cocktail or two while you mix and mingle with like-minded people and listen to Exotica under the soft glow of Tiki torches and beachcomber lamps. Around 6:00 PM, Chris VerPlanck and Erica Schultz of S.O.S. Tonga will provide a brief update on efforts to save the Tonga Room and exhort you to contact your local supervisors and the president of the Historic Preservation Commission, urging them to designate the Tonga Room as a local San Francisco Landmark. Mahalo!

For more information, contact Chris VerPlanck at

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Dec 20, 2009
Posts: 64
Posted: 2010-05-24 07:50 am   Permalink

I was just in SF and stopped by the Tonga Room a couple times. The maitre d' says they are taking reservations for the restaurant through next December but the axe could fall at any moment. The Mai Tais are as strong as ever and I didn't mind the band playing at 8:15pm so much.
I wonder if that's the last I'll see the place. A friend of mine who lives in the area says the developers are trying to say that no one really goes there anymore, just the occasional sad tourist, so why bother saving the restaurant, 5-star hotels don't have Tiki lounges, etc.

[ This Message was edited by: tikifred 2010-05-24 07:52 ]

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Mr. Ho
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 09, 2005
Posts: 476
From: Boston, MA
Posted: 2010-10-07 11:25 am   Permalink

San Fran folks, are you keeping track of the sfplanning.org website? An article just came out talking about the historical significance (legally defined) of the Tonga Room:


Status of the Fairmont project is http://www.sfplanning.org/index.aspx?page=1828

Havent had time to read it in super detail but somebody went through a lot of effort to describe the historical importance of the Tonga room and I bet they are here on TC

Mr. Ho
Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica
Esquivel Big Band & Global Jazz and Exotic Chamber Music Quintet
“anything but straightforward”–Washington Post

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Dec 20, 2009
Posts: 64
Posted: 2010-10-07 12:34 pm   Permalink

I just got an email today from the city of San Francisco Planning Department that includes some information about the fate of the Tonga Room. I was on an email notification list because I wrote an email to plead for saving the Tonga Room.

There's pages and pages of information on the whole project but if you sift through the table of contents, it mentions that they rejected the plan to protect the Tonga Room and keep it where it is, but it sounds like they are going to relocate it somewhere else in the building, like under the new Ballroom. It's sort of hard to tell, because there are codes and numbers telling you where the information is on the Tonga but I don't understand it. The sense I get is that they are going to relocate the Tonga somewhere else in the hotel.

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 13, 2009
Posts: 402
From: Burbank, CA.
Posted: 2010-10-07 4:08 pm   Permalink

That's what our waitress told us when we were there a few weeks ago. Although she didn't know for certain, it sounded like the Tonga Room most likely would be relocated to the "new tower" of The Fairmont Hotel.

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Dec 20, 2009
Posts: 64
Posted: 2010-10-07 7:25 pm   Permalink

Well, I guess this means the end for the "lagoon" and the "thunderstorm" feature every half hour. Sad.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2010-10-07 10:26 pm   Permalink


On 2010-05-24 07:50, tikifred wrote:
A friend of mine who lives in the area says the developers are trying to say that no one really goes there anymore, just the occasional sad tourist, so why bother saving the restaurant, 5-star hotels don't have Tiki lounges, etc.

Typical, total, corporate BS!

I made a few visits to the Tonga in summer of '08. Both nights I was there the place was hoppin', that's no exaggeration, and I don't even think it was on a weekend! The band was playing, and the bar and dance floor were full. Before that visit to the Tonga I couldn't recall the last time I was at something that wasn't a nightclub that had the dance floor filled with people of all ages. People were enjoying themselves and having a damn good honest time. Okay, that was a little over two years ago but I can't imagine that 'no one goes there anymore'. Please. Why do these suits insist on ruining a good time for people who most likely, they can't relate to. What are they going to turn it into? Some fancy-ass place for boring-ass people?

All I can say is that I'm glad I got to visit when I did. I made sure that I went more than once because, as we all know, these places vanish faster than you think.

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Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 492
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-01-18 2:49 pm   Permalink

I found this cool drink menu recently - the prices look '80s to me... this shows lots of the Tonga Room mugs I've seen out there.

We had a blast visiting the Tonga Room last weekend... I was treating it as if it was the last time I would ever see it (due to the seemingly inevitable closing). We were dancin' up a storm to the 70s funk the band was playing. I would've preferred exotica of course, but their music is still fun stuff (in that wedding reception kinda way).

Trad'r Bill

[ This Message was edited by: Trad'r Bill 2011-01-18 14:59 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5071
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-01-19 12:10 am   Permalink

Trad'r Bill

That is a great drink menu. I love the story about the ship the S.S. Forester that provided the materials for the interior decorations. Here is a postcard I have the really shows the ships masts and sails in the restaurant.

I wonder if the ship's skipper Otto Daeweritz inspired this postcard from the Tonga Room?


[ This Message was edited by: Dustycajun 2011-01-19 00:12 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11591
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2011-01-19 07:07 am   Permalink

Indeed a nice cocktail menu, sort of an Otagiri catalog of the time. I wonder what the "Sir Richard" was derivative of, or if it was an original creation.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2006
Posts: 1625
From: Fabulous Houston
Posted: 2011-01-20 12:59 pm   Permalink

Added a menu that goes with a matchbook posted earlier.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 277
Posted: 2011-03-03 09:18 am   Permalink

Taboo Dan, Trad'r Bill and others, thanks for the great posts of Tonga Room memorabilia! After seeing your posts I'm making plans to return in the next day or two.

I've lived in the bay area over 16 years now but only visited the Tonga Room once, a few months ago. I went Sunday evening at opening time which worked out very well. Parking was easy, they were playing recorded Hawaiian music and only a few other couples were there. The atmosphere was wonderful.

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