EVENT Since Victor Bergeron opened the first Trader Vic's in Oakland in 1937, the Bay Area has had a relationship with that bastion of tropical tackiness: the tiki bar. Only the second of its kind (the first was Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood), Bergeron's Polynesian-themed watering hole is said to be the inspiration for the odd architecture of the Stanford Terrace Inn (formerly the Tiki Inn Motel) and the birthplace of the Mai Tai (which, contrary to popular belief, is not required to be sickeningly sweet, adorned with plastic toys, or served to newly-legal drinkers in aquarium-sized bowls).
So it makes sense that the world's biggest tiki bar crawl happens here. Starting Thursday at Trad'r Sam in San Francisco, Tiki Bar Crawl 9 wends its way through 10 bars in six cities over four days, all carefully chosen by the hosts at Tiki Central (an online forum for all things hula kitsch).
Highlights are sure to be Thursday's kickoff in San Francisco, including a stop at the Disney-worthy Tonga Room, and Saturday's tour of the East Bay, which concludes at the Trader Vic's that started it all. Check the Web site for schedules, bus tickets ($35 for Friday's South Bay tour, $40 for Saturday's East Bay extravaganza) and rideshares, and more information about ugly mugs and thatched rooftops than you ever wanted to know.
TIKI CRAWL 9 Thurs/9Sun/12, times and locations vary. Free admission. www.tikiroom.com/misc