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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Trader Vic's Downtown Los Angeles!, Los Angeles, CA (restaurant)
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Trader Vic's Downtown Los Angeles!, Los Angeles, CA (restaurant)
forgotten tikiman
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 18, 2011
Posts: 471
From: Forgotten Tiki Room. Pismo Beach, CA
Posted: 2014-03-20 8:57 pm   Permalink

R.I.P. I only went to this location once. It was very cool inside. Danny's Marquesan Tikis like it was mentioned, and food was not bad at all. I also remember those war club door handles that were made by ? I forget his name. But he is featured in one of the past Tiki Mags. Just did not like dealing with downtown L.A all that much. Aloha Trader Vic's L.A!!!!!!!!
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nui 'umi 'umi
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2011
Posts: 1013
From: La Mirada Atoll
Posted: 2014-03-20 9:53 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-03-20 20:17, Fez Moai wrote:
Yup, I'm standing here in front of Trader Vics right now. Some guy working next door said that their dining room was usually slow. People are walking up and are bummed out.


Fez,
My wife and I were there the night before Valentine’s Day. At 730 we were alone in the dining room-the meal was outstanding and of course the service was equally good. The Lakers were playing next door so there were not a lot of “sports nuts” in the half filled bar. We had such a great time-the manager had sent over some ’44 Mai tai’s, life was good! I did not see the writing on the walls. So sad.
Aloha Trader Vic’s L A


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3811
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2014-03-21 11:25 am   Permalink

Dayam! It was my favorite LA Tiki bar.
I was just there last month and, as always, the bar was full, and the dining room not so much.
I remember remarking that whoever designed the place grossly confused their sports fans and night out customers with fine-dining foodies.

I wonder why LA Live didn't rework the lease?


 
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KAHAKA
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 03, 2003
Posts: 818
From: San Jose, CA
Posted: 2014-03-22 09:07 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-03-20 20:57, forgotten tikiman wrote:
R.I.P. I only went to this location once. It was very cool inside. Danny's Marquesan Tikis like it was mentioned, and food was not bad at all. I also remember those war club door handles that were made by ? I forget his name. But he is featured in one of the past Tiki Mags. Just did not like dealing with downtown L.A all that much. Aloha Trader Vic's L.A!!!!!!!!




The door handles were made by Tikimecula, Stephen. I have a couple of his killer clubs.

Another one bites the dust. Sad. Sorry I never made it down.
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Dr. Coruba
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 02, 2008
Posts: 164
Posted: 2014-03-22 09:59 am   Permalink

I never understood why Trader Vic's (corporate) did not push the Mai Tai Bar (MTB) concept harder and further in the US. The generations that knew the Trader Vic's name the best are in their 70s, 80s, and gone. No one is chasing that market demographic outside of funeral homes! If Trader Vic's is to have any chance of re-introduction, it would be by trying to seed MTBs into major markets and seeing where it percolates and takes root. If a MTB succeeds in a market, that market might be ripe for a full blown Trader Vic's.

Btw, the Trader Vic's Island Bar & Grill is not the same as the Mai Tai Bar concept. The Island Bar & Grill was an ill conceived hybrid, sort of a Island Frankenstein with an Abby Normal brain. It had closed written all over it before they even opened the doors.


 
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Thortiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2006
Posts: 256
From: Maryland (Land of Pleasant Tiki Living)
Posted: 2014-03-22 4:54 pm   Permalink

Sorry, but we had a negative experience @ TV Emeryville last October. Arrived at Happy Hour bartender is wearing a vest & tie (HUH???) I had a 1944 Mai-Tai with more crushed ice than anything else, my Wife's drink had almost no, booze. We ate some food with the so called drinks, while five wait staff were shooting the breeze just in front of us. We've been Emeryville TV a number of times, never this bad.

PS After we went directly to the Forbidden Island for some much needed Monkey Pod's to recover.


 
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Fez Moai
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Dec 01, 2013
Posts: 268
From: Parts unknown
Posted: 2014-03-23 1:55 pm   Permalink

I took these pics on Thursday night.











 
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-03-24 08:41 am   Permalink

I'm sorry to hear that the Trader Vic's LA Live location has closed. The restaurant business is a very competitive and tough business even in good economic times, which many of us haven't experienced during the last five or six years. Just as tragic are the general sweeping statements here condemning Trader Vic's for the closure, many made by people who rarely if ever have patronized one. It's not like the Mai Kai concept or the Donn the Beachcomber concept is taking the world by storm, yet Trader Vic's continues to be the most successful company at introducing tiki to the masses, worldwide. With 24 locations, more than the peak during the heyday of Tiki, they must be doing something right.

There are a few things about Trader Vic's that evidently are not understood here. Emeryville is currently the only Trader Vic's owned and operated by the family, all the other locations are franchises. The owners of those locations have significant latitude to adapt their restaurants to their local market. You can't judge Trader Vic's by one location.

The Emeryville location definitely has that "it factor" for me. I visit frequently and each time it's as if I've taken a mini-vacation and escaped the drab concerns of everyday life. For the full experience one should have a drink in the lounge and then a full dinner in the restaurant while watching a beautiful sunset over the marina, after which the spirit of TV Emeryville really comes to life. The décor, location, service, food and drinks are all wonderful. As Sandra mentioned, the new cocktail menu is fantastic and business is booming.

To those of you who think I don't know a good tiki drink when I have one, I have to mention that in my home bar I currently have a library of over thirty cocktail books, an inventory of 45 different rums, many other spirits of all types and enough high end liquors to make nearly anything I want, from pre-prohibition to modern. I also frequent Smuggler's Cove and Forbidden Island, which also serve fine drinks, but with little or no food one misses out on the complete Tiki experience as originally created by Donn the Beachcomber and Trader Vic.

Trader Vic's may never be able to please the "I'm more tiki than you are" crowd, but for all the limitations as perceived by some of you it remains the most successful tiki establishment in history. If you like another place better then extol its virtues but you don't have to run down Trader Vic's. Let the newbies visit TikiCentral, learn of tiki establishments, patronize them and make up their own minds without being tainted by the negativity as expressed in some of these posts. If you can't or don't want to be a frequent patron of a particular tiki establishment at least give tiki businesses every chance to succeed. To do otherwise does no good for the tiki community.


[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2014-03-24 09:07 ]


 
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Limbo Lizard
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 24, 2006
Posts: 683
From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2014-03-24 10:21 am   Permalink

Some speculation on my part...

With the Emeryville location as the only "company store", I suspect it does "double duty", also serving somewhat the same purpose as a model home, on a new housing development. It can function as a tool to sell the concept and help prospective franchisees see the potential. As such, everything has to be a cut above,... even if it means barely breaking even, or even subsidizing it somewhat from other operations. Like the model house, everything has to be near perfect, even if it costs more than the house will eventually sell for, as simply another house in the completed development. In this way, perhaps the Emeryville location is able to focus on overall excellence, on 'getting it right', partially shielded from the financial pressures of other locations. I wonder if the company owns, rather than leases, the property, further insulating it from rising rents.
Add to all this the pedigree that Emeryville enjoys as the "crown jewel", which gives a further sense of pride to the staff and makes it a destination location, and this may help explain the success and longevity of this location, compared to the upstarts of the last decade.

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[ This Message was edited by: Limbo Lizard 2014-03-24 10:23 ]


 
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PremEx
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 23, 2006
Posts: 288
From: Houston, Texas
Posted: 2014-03-24 10:41 pm   Permalink

You gotta be kidding. Only a few weeks ago I was in Los Angeles for just 1 day (Monday, March 3rd) and made it a special point to walk from the Sheraton Downtown to Trader Vic's for lunch. While there wasn't a soul in the restaurant portion, there were quite a few folks enjoying themselves in the bar area. I sat at the bar and ordered drinks along with lunch, and service and food was excellent. The manager even came by to personally make sure I was satisfied.

Looks like it was my one and only visit.

My wife says I'm jinxed, and that every place I like seems to go out of business. I'm beginning to think she might be right. I've attended too many "favorite" funerals of late.

And while I wouldn't call this Trader Vic's a real favorite after just one visit, I did like the place and was looking forward to going back some day.

I do have to admit that every time I visit the Atlanta Trader Vic's (about once a year), I leave the place wondering if it will still be there next year. I love that Trader Vic's and wish I lived close enough to where I could visit it more often.
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El Jefe
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Mar 13, 2012
Posts: 235
From: The Third Coast
Posted: 2014-03-24 11:41 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-03-24 22:41, PremEx wrote:
You gotta be kidding. Only a few weeks ago I was in Los Angeles for just 1 day (Monday, March 3rd) and made it a special point to walk from the Sheraton Downtown to Trader Vic's for lunch. While there wasn't a soul in the restaurant portion, there were quite a few folks enjoying themselves in the bar area. I sat at the bar and ordered drinks along with lunch, and service and food was excellent. The manager even came by to personally make sure I was satisfied.

Looks like it was my one and only visit.

My wife says I'm jinxed, and that every place I like seems to go out of business. I'm beginning to think she might be right. I've attended too many "favorite" funerals of late.

And while I wouldn't call this Trader Vic's a real favorite after just one visit, I did like the place and was looking forward to going back some day.

I do have to admit that every time I visit the Atlanta Trader Vic's (about once a year), I leave the place wondering if it will still be there next year. I love that Trader Vic's and wish I lived close enough to where I could visit it more often.




Don't be putting the jinx on Lei Low now!


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3811
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2014-04-06 09:45 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-03-24 22:41, PremEx wrote:
You gotta be kidding. Only a few weeks ago I was in Los Angeles for just 1 day (Monday, March 3rd) and made it a special point to walk from the Sheraton Downtown to Trader Vic's for lunch. While there wasn't a soul in the restaurant portion, there were quite a few folks enjoying themselves in the bar area.



Inexcusable for TV. DTLA has a huge lunch market based on the numerous office workers a block or two away. Not to take advantage is ludicrous and led to the business closing. A new menu, lunch specials, marketing, etc., all should have should have been done.


 
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MrFab
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 14, 2004
Posts: 47
From: Van Nuys, CA
Posted: 2014-04-10 4:51 pm   Permalink

Major bummer!

Man, I loved those mai tais. And unlike the Tonga Hut, I could go there with my family, as my daughter is a long way from legal age. She loved running around the outdoor patio while mom and dad sipped away. The patio was probably supposed to be for smokers, but there were so few smokers, it was like our own private backyard party.

What WILL become of all those wonderful decorations..?


 
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Fez Moai
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Dec 01, 2013
Posts: 268
From: Parts unknown
Posted: 2014-05-05 3:19 pm   Permalink

I just received a call from Trader Vic's corporate office in Emeryville. They were down in LA this past weekend cleaning out the restaurant and they took everything back up with them to Emeryville. I asked if any mugs were available but she told me that they were all gone when they got there. So everything is gone, the tikis, all Trader Vic stuff, etc. I was at Damon's on Saturday and was going to stop by Trader Vic's for a look afterwards, but I went to a BBQ to watch the Kings/Ducks hockey game. Had I known they were going to be there, I would have gone after all to snap some pics. C'est la vie.

 
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