Trader Vic’s Closes After 52 Years

Iconic Beverly Hills bar and restaurant Trader Vic’s closed its doors today after more than 50 years of serving its famous tropical drinks and cuisine to a long list of Hollywood legends.


However, fans of the punchy rum drinks in their oversize glasses will still be able to order the cocktails poolside at the Beverly Hilton starting Thursday, when a smaller Trader Vic’s Tiki bar is opened.


“It won’t be a full-service restaurant. But it will have the signature drinks – the Scorpion, the Mai Tai, and the signature appetizers,” said Marie Garvey, a spokeswoman for Oasis West, which owns the hotel. “We’re doing this quick. We wanted to minimize disruption of service.”


Over the years, the large, wood-paneled bar and restaurant has been a magnet for tourists, residents and celebrities, including music producer Phil Spector, who visited Trader Vic’s the night before actress Lana Clarkson was fatally shot at his Alhambra mansion.


Merv Griffin sold the hotel to Oasis West Realty LLC in December 2003 and an $80 million renovation was recently completed on the luxury hotel.


The Polynesian-themed Trader Vic’s has been serving exotic cocktails — think rum and coconuts — since opening in 1955. However, the restaurant seats more than 200 people and recently has been full of empty seats. Garvey said the size of the restaurant was a “challenge.”


“Like our entire renovations, we have taken steps to honor what people love about the hotel’s exciting past while bringing the Beverly Hilton into the 21st century,” said hotel owner Beny Algem. “We believe the guests and residents will love Trader Vic’s new location with memorable features from the original restaurant in a new poolside island-inspired atmosphere.” 


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