Grand Member (first year)
Joined: Jun 16, 2006
From: Home of the best rum collection in NC
|Posted: 2014-07-31 4:20 pm  Permalink|
Another option would be to start your evening in the East Bay at Trader Vic's for the 4:00 o'clock happy hour, then head back into the city for Tonga Room at 6:00 and Smuggler's Cove around 8:00.
If you arrive at Smuggler's Cove pretty much any time between 6:00-7:30 or 9:00-12:00, you'll likely run into a rather long wait. I get the sense that a lot of people going to the opera, symphony, or other entertainment events in the area, usually leave the Cove around 7:30, but the after-dinner crowd comes in around 9:00ish.
If you don't want to try to squeeze in all three in one night, and if you don't mind the cheesy band at Tonga Room, then get to Smuggler's Cove when they open right at 5:00, then go to the Tonga Room for dinner (please note that Smuggler's Cove does not serve food). If you're going to the Tonga Room for dinner, you should probably make a reservation as there can sometimes be a line just to get into the bar. I expect the dining room has an even longer wait for drop-ins.
Of the three, the cocktails are definitely the best at Smuggler's Cove. That being said, the drinks at the Tonga Room have improved dramatically in the past year when they hired a new F&B manager and started using real juices, and high quality syrups, spirits, etc. They even have a drink on the menu that was submitted by Martin Cate (martiki) of Smuggler's Cove. Although Smuggler's Cove may not have the historical aspect you're looking for, there is actually quite a bit of tiki history in many of the decor items, and you'd never know by looking around that it's only been there for just under five years. The interior is very much classic tiki and feels weathered and collected.