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Tiki Bar

Trad'r Sam

San Francisco, California, United States

Trad'r Sam is the oldest, longest-operating tiki bar in the world. Trad'r Sam opened in 1937, and was originally owned by Sam Baylon. This small and very old bar started as pre-tiki, and is an extremely rare example of the bamboo bars that were in some cities in the '30s.

Back in the day there were huge bunches of bananas hanging from the ceiling and the bartenders were dressed in pith helmets and safari clothing.

Today, there are still tropical drinks available, but this bar is now more of a loveable dive than anything.

It had closed for a very short time and re-opened in November 2023 after a makeover that refreshed the floor, walls, and seating. Much of the rattan and the bamboo is still intact, but a series of seating areas around the perimeter of the bar which were named after islands, and framed in rattan, had fallen into disrepair and have been removed -- replaced with newer tables and rattan chairs.

The biggest feature, the bar itself -- a large, rattan encrusted horseshoe-shaped structure -- still remains. They have also added a few small inexpensive tikis throughout.

While in the area, cocktail enthusiasts shouldn't miss the world famous tequila destination bar across the street just a block and a half away, Tommy's Mexican Restaurant.