||Trader Vic's, London United Kingdom, London, United Kingdom (restaurant)
Joined: Mar 25, 2002
From: Tiki Manor, Forest of Bowland,UK
|Posted: 2003-07-29 01:47 am  Permalink|
Name:Trader Vic's, London United Kingdom
Street:22 Park Lane
Phone:020 7208 4113
The London branch of Trader Vic's opened in 1963 and has delighted unwary hotel guests,
Tiki-philes and late night revellers ever since. Decor is a classic mix of South Pacific carvings, fishing nets, outriggers, glass fishing floats, and the like, while a large carved Tiki statue guards the entrance. Drinks are expensive, as it's located in the basement of a 5 star hotel, the Park Lane Hilton (Around $12 a drink is the norm).Trader Vic's is a classic Tiki bar, though,and no visit to London can be complete without descending the stairs into this Polynesian paradise.
For an article about the lure of Trader Vic's, London check out http://www.traderwoody.iwarp.com/Tradervics.html
Joined: Jun 26, 2003
From: the birthplace of the Mai Tai
|Posted: 2003-08-25 10:53 am  Permalink|
During my trip to Athens and London, I made a point of exploring the tiki establishments in these cities. Trader Vic's was high on my list - not only because of it's milestone in Tiki history - but also because I've heard such wonderful things about it.
The decor certainly lived up to it's reputation - Tiki statues and Polynesian paraphanelia almost covering every inch of the establishment.
Unfortunately, I found the drinks fairly weak and the service rather lacking. The waitresses seemed downright bored, as they chatted among themselves and paid hardly any attention to the needs of the patrons. Whether we were trying to order another drink, order an appetizer or request the check, I had to leave my chair and summon a server. The bartender seemed quite disturbed when I took a photo of the bar - maybe that's just not done in London?
With regard to the menu, it looks like they took the US menu and kept the same prices (just changing the dollar sign to the pound) As a result, the drinks are very pricey. The appetizer platter we shared was so-so, with the exception of the pork ribs, which were very tough and for the most part, inedible.
On the positive side, they did have exotica playing in the background and the ambience was unaffected by a large screen TV playing sports (which unfortunately, always impedes on the ambience of several US Tiki establishments (Trader Vic's in Emeryville, being one of those)
Come on guys ! You've got a good thing going, what with the Vic's name and the rekindled interest in all thing Tiki, Just train your staff a little better in order to ensure a pleasant experience for your patrons.
Joined: Apr 27, 2004
|Posted: 2004-04-27 4:09 pm  Permalink|
I agree with Conga Mike. The decor was great, the service and attitude was kind of stuffy corperate, like a snooty TGIF's. I went on 4/25/04 and was really looking forward to it. I stood in front of the hostess podium for a few minutes while 3 hostess talked among themselves until I asked for a menu. After seeing the entrees were $40-50US, I decided to sit at the bar for an appetizer.
It was a nice Sunday evening and the bar and restaurant were nearly deserted except for me and this fat wheezy man with two bored hookers. The hookers were sucking down daddy's drinks (garnished with live flowers--a plus). The music being played was Latin Salsa, which I like, but I was hoping for exotica fitting the decor.
I paid $18US for about 2oz. of chicken on a stick and another $14US for a non-alcoholic beer. The bartender acted as if I was annoying him by being there and I had to wave him down to order.
Overall, I was disappointed but I did enjoy the decor. More interesting than Vic's was the Indian wedding going on in the hotel lobby. All the Indian women in thier beautiful saris were much more colorful and exotic than the restaurant.
Joined: Sep 17, 2003
From: Andover, England
|Posted: 2004-04-28 01:31 am  Permalink|
I have to say that my experience differs somewhat from those above. I went to Trader Vic's in London just before Christmas. The atmosphere in the bar was fantastic and the waitresses couldn't have been more attentive. Obviously great decor. The drinks were a little pricey, but that's the UK for ya, but they were plenty strong enough for me. I took a few photo's in the bar and the staff seemed really pleased that we had a true interest in the place. Later in the evening we ate in the restaurant, and the food was excellent. Much, much better than I had expected. Again the staff were really friendly and even showed us the best places in the restaurant for photo's and gave us a quick tour.
Maybe it was because we had on aloha shirts or maybe it was my huge grin I had all evening, but I thought the staff were attentive and the drinks and food were all fantastic. I would really recommend it.
(although I guess some nights are better than others and Sunday ain't the best for atmosphere).
[ This Message was edited by: kon-hemsby 2006-02-14 00:28 ]
Joined: Sep 17, 2003
From: Volcanic area of France
|Posted: 2004-04-28 11:04 am  Permalink|
I had a great service given by the barman when i get there last year.
But when i asked for merchandise that was supposed to be on sale (like shirts, drink mix, all with price tags), they couldn't sell it to me for no reason.
Joined: Mar 24, 2002
|Posted: 2004-04-28 11:08 am  Permalink|
i went there several times & usually the service was fine. there was one older waitress (asian w/ glasses) who was always super nice.
before my wife & i moved back to the states, we had our going away party at tv's. i felt the staff was very accomodating.
Joined: Mar 25, 2002
From: Tiki Manor, Forest of Bowland,UK
|Posted: 2004-04-28 11:32 am  Permalink|
I've lost count of the times I've been there, but have always had a great time. Perhaps it's because of the decor - just let me wander around the bar and restaurant looking at all the stuff I missed last time and I'm a happy man.
The service has always seemed very good, though us Brits are amazed if someone smiles while serving us. The front desk as you walk in is perhaps frostier than it could be, but not too bad.
The drinks do seem a little random in terms of strength. I've walked out of there sober as a judge once or twice, while on other occasions, I've ended up disgracing myself on various floors of the hotel itself. I guess it depends on whether the bartender had a bad day or not.
And Tiki Chris' bash there was a peach. A fine night.
Joined: Mar 24, 2002
|Posted: 2004-04-28 1:52 pm  Permalink|
On 2004-04-28 11:32, Trader Woody wrote:
... just let me wander around the bar and restaurant ....
... us Brits are amazed if someone smiles while serving us ...
yeah, one great thing was that they never seemed to mind me roaming the floor to gawk & photograph.
& maybe, if one is not accustomed to the oxymoron that is british service, then i can see where complaints may arise.
Joined: Aug 30, 2004
|Posted: 2004-09-19 1:09 pm  Permalink|
Steve took me here for my birthday last year, and I have to say i was pretty ill a few days before so I was feeling a little uncomfortable to start with.
First impressions were good, although we were sat next to someone in the bar smoking the biggest cigars and blowing the smoke in our direction!We shared one of their Tiki-bowls whilst waiting for our table.
There were lots of tiki style artifacts, I didn't notice that many tikis...the waitresses were all dressed in oriental print uniforms....slit up to the thigh....
Bar snacks are on offer and they looked pretty tasty (and less pricey than eating in the restaurant)
We were taken through to the restaurant, but no one asked us smoking or non smoking...and although the restaurant was practically empty we were sat uncomfortably in between two tables of heavy smokers/mobile phone abusers!So not as romantic a meal as we had intended.....recommend that you ask to sit in non-smoking should it be your style...!
I can't remember the names of the cocktails I had although one came with a parrot on a stick!...nice momento...sitting on out mantlepiece in tiki mug as I speak!!
I had crab parcels to start and veal for main (very nice and tender) all arrived fairly promptly although hideously pricey!Meal for two was well over £100 with a starter but no dessert.
We got some more drinks in the bar after wards, mine was a hot cocktail served in a skull mug with a cinnamon stick. I loved the idea of it, but I think i'll give it a miss next time!You can buy some of the mugs in the bar.
We took photos, without any odd looks, but maybe the alcohol was having affect by then!
Definitely one for splurging on, as it was almost laughable it was so expensive, but I guess that's what you get for being located in the Hilton!
I still had a great time, and would recommend it to anyone, but this was my first tiki experience!
Joined: Jul 04, 2003
From: St Augustine Beach, FL
|Posted: 2005-03-15 10:53 am  Permalink|
This has always been a dream of mine since I got into Tiki to visit a genuine Trader Vic's location. For months I was anticipating the visit ever since my wife anounced we were going to London this March to visit her brother. Tuesday, March 8th was the big night. We both got dressed up in our Sunday Best. Thanks to all of you and The Tiki Roadtrip who let me know that this resturant was 1. expensive and 2. not really casual so there were no surprises. We found the staff genuinely pleased to see us and very attentive. We ordered a complete meal from 'soup to nuts' and had plenty of drinks. My wife started out with the Samoan Fogcutter while I stuck with the one and only Trader Vic's Mai Tai. We also tried the Trader Vic punch which was delicious. You do need to be attentive to which drinks are strong. Ours certainly were! I weigh in at 244 lbs and two Mai Tai's had me sailing! The Samoan Fogcutter put my wife in a giggly mood that added to the evenings fun later on. (thanks guys!) The decor did not disappoint! What a classic room! The carvings were superb as well as the rest of the decor. Since the place was somewhat empty we got to walk around and see everything. Unfortunatly both of us forgot to bring our cameras in all the excitement. Bummer! We finished the evening with Pina Colada's (I know, its not a Tiki drink) at the bar in honor of Warren Zevon and to become honorary Werewolves of London. It was a magical night. I bought one of the handpainted ashtrays as a token of my trip. It has great mana and juju and sits now on my desk in a place of honor. One small problem. They were playing Carribean Salsa music all night. I don't think the staff really understands the Tiki culture to a large extent. They returned blank stares whenever I would wax on about the decor and the whole Tiki culture. Anyway it was fun. If you plan to go plan on dropping about $230.00 for two for the complete experience!
Grand Member (first year)
Joined: Feb 18, 2003
From: Bay Area
|Posted: 2005-09-21 10:40 am  Permalink|
I just read in Maxim (Aug 05) that heiress Nicky Hilton's favorite Hilton hotel is the London one because it has a Trader Vics (!)
I'm not quite sure what to make of it.
Joined: Apr 11, 2002
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
|Posted: 2005-09-21 11:15 am  Permalink|
On 2005-09-21 10:40, dangergirl299 wrote:
I'm not quite sure what to make of it.
This quote not only describes my impressions of the Hilton sisters' notoriety, but also the idea of DangerGirl reading Maxim.
|Rum Numb Davey|
Joined: Jul 17, 2005
From: Phoenix, AZ
|Posted: 2005-09-21 11:43 am  Permalink|
Touche Tikibars..too funny! Why is dangergirl reading frat happy Maxim?
Why be mystified? Everybody love's Trader Vic's. Do you honestly believe that only hard core tikiphiles enjoy Mai Tai's and Polynesian kitsch? If that was the case, every Tiki bar in this country would be out of business. Do only Movie Producers and Actors eat at Planet Hollywood? Okay, I concede that is a very bad analogy, but you get my point. I am not surprised at all that Nicky likes Trader Vic's in London, apparently so did Warren Zevon. He drank enough Fog Cutters to see werewolves. I have never been that drunk...my dog does talk to me..in Aramaic..but he does not turn into a wolf.
I digress. Trader Vic's has a distinct different vibe to the American Vic's, as does the German Vic's I have been too.
I was the only goof-ball in an Aloha shirt and kukui nut necklace last time I was there! I also saw many Brits sipping Gin and Tonics and non-tiki cocktails around the bar.
Although Tiki Culture is strong with tens of thousands of devotee's, it probably pales to hobbies like bowling and hot rodding. We probably are numerically equal to the people who still wear old school roller skates and love Disco and rhinestone studded denim. Now, if I just figure out where my secret Tiki Decoder ring is?
...my demon Aramaic speaking dog, Toby, probably ate it!
Before the Revolution, the per capita consumption of RUM in the Colonies was 3.7 gallons PER person. We have become a Neo-temperant nation of wimps and quitters! We must rise, Tiki Nation, and raise our ceramic mugs in resistance to teatotaling!
[ This Message was edited by: Rum Numb Davey 2005-09-21 11:45 ]
Joined: Mar 09, 2004
From: The Haole Hut, London, UK
|Posted: 2005-09-22 05:37 am  Permalink|
It's simply because it IS the best!
(awaiting torrent of disagreement )
"Don't drink water, fish f*~k in it" W.C. Feilds
Joined: Jan 19, 2006
From: Arlingtron Virginia
|Posted: 2006-02-13 1:45 pm  Permalink|
I liked it. The service was good, the drinks were pretty good... the Taipei TV makes better mai tais though.
Here's a picture (Aug 11, 2003) of the wahini and the front door. It's in the London Hilton if I remember correctly:
Here's a picture of their Mai Tai, and the wahini again:
[ This Message was edited by: tikigap 2006-08-25 09:11 ]