Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, San Francisco, California
Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar
Nestled in the high-end Fairmont hotel, San Francisco’s Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is a welcome reprieve from the hotel’s posh vibe. Straw huts and a faux lagoon — complete with periodic rainstorms — make the bar and restaurant a kitschy Disney-esque San Francisco landmark that’s worth experiencing. And it's definitely an experience.
In 1945, the Fairmont’s indoor swimming pool, the Terrace Pool, was transformed into a lagoon with a bar and restaurant around it and the Tonga Room was born, taking its name from the South Pacific island nation of Tonga. Red leather banquettes, the Island Groove Band — who floats on a thatch-covered barge in the middle of a lagoon — and a hefty dose of bamboo give the bar a truly tropical feel.
The drinks, including the popular Mai Tai which is served in a faux coconut (a fauxconut?), are pricey (better bargains can be had during happy hour) and potent. But you can get a Mai Tai anywhere. Try the Rainmaker instead. Though the tasty cocktail rains down from the ceiling every 30 minutes, hit up the bar for this rum, rum, and more rum concoction that serves 2-4. Beer is also available, both domestic and imports like Lucky Buddha from China and Sapporo from Japan.
You’ll want to grab some grub to offset the strong drinks and all the classic Pacific Rim cuisine is represented: the classic pups platter, shrimp pomelo salad, huli huli chicken and 48 hour Korean short rib. And because you need more rum with dessert, try the rum cake for two with caramelized pineapple and marshmallow creme.
All ages are welcome until 10pm, at which point the bar is 21 and up only. Note that a cover charge applies after 8pm most evenings. This fee is waived for Fairmont guests.