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The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar

n Flat Broke in Paradise, while getting reacquainted in San Francisco after World War II, Art and Margaret stop to look at the newly opened Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar in the Fairmont Hotel.  The Tonga Room is a Tiki Bar and is often cited as one of the best tiki bars by those fluent in tiki culture.

The SS Tonga Room, way back when.

Designed by MGM Set designer Mel Melvin and opened in 1945, the place is equipped with an indoor thunderstorm with rain and lightening. There is a floating bandstand in the "lagoon" that used to be a swimming pool, the Terrace Plunge, built in 1929. 

The Tonga Room today.

The Band Barge

The owners of the Fairmont Hotel  applied for a building permit for renovations. When it was quickly noted that the Tonga Room was nowhere on the plans an outcry was heard from Nukuʻalofa (Tonga's capital) to San Francisco.

Royal Palace of Tonga in Nuku'alofa Photo by Tofoa Felix

Soon there were “happy hour protests”, which usually consisted of imbibing mass quantities of the Tonga Room's signature adult beverages such as the Ti Daiquiri or the Lava Bowl. 

The Lava Bowl

Television food shows helped put the place back on the map. 

Who knows how long the place will last, so get over to the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar and enjoy the finest of polynesian kitsch. Don't go for the food (a bit greasy but improving), go for the drinks (strong) and atmosphere (tikiish).

Take a look:

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