The Legend is Back

23 Restaurant Services worked tirelessly to bring the iconic restaurant back to the tiki world in a way that honored the past, felt relevant to current tiki enthusiasts, and ensured the continuation of Donn Beach’s legacy for years to come. In February 2024, 23RS reintroduced the Original Tiki Bar on…

The tiki Revival

The late 20th century and early 21st century witnessed a revival of interest in tiki culture. New generations of bartenders and mixologists rediscovered the art of crafting tiki cocktails, and classic tiki bars were resurrected or reimagined–including Don the Beachcomber.

Preservation of the Legacy

Despite the decline, the allure of Don the Beachcomber and tiki culture never entirely faded. Enthusiasts and collectors began to preserve and document the history of tiki bars, cocktails, and decor. This grassroots movement played a crucial role in preserving the legacy of Donn Beach and his creation.

Changing Tastes and Decline

The 1970s saw a decline in the popularity of tiki culture and its associated bars. Changing tastes and a shift towards more minimalist and modern aesthetics led to the closure of many tiki establishments, including several Don the Beachcomber locations. Donn Beach himself had sold his interest in the brand…

Legacy and Enduring Appeal

Despite the rivalry, both Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s played instrumental roles in popularizing tiki culture in America. The ongoing debate over the origins of the Mai Tai only served to fuel public interest in tiki cocktails and bars, further cementing their place in American pop culture.

The Battle of the Mai Tai

One of the most famous rivalries in the history of mixology was the dispute over the invention of the Mai Tai cocktail. Both Donn Beach and Trader Vic claimed to have created this beloved tiki drink. The rivalry between the two establishments and their respective owners added to the intrigue…

The Emergence of Trader Vic

As Don the Beachcomber’s popularity grew, it faced competition from another tiki luminary, Victor J. “Trader Vic” Bergeron. Trader Vic’s, a tiki bar and restaurant founded by Bergeron, opened its doors in Oakland, California, in 1937. Like Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic’s offered exotic cocktails and Polynesian-inspired decor, but it…

Influence on Pop Culture

Don the Beachcomber’s influence on pop culture extended beyond its physical locations. The tiki craze of the 1940s and 1950s saw the proliferation of tiki-themed parties, music, and fashion. Hollywood films and television shows embraced the tiki aesthetic, further solidifying its place in American culture.

The Expansion of Don the Beachcomber

Donn Beach’s innovative concept struck a chord with the public, and Don the Beachcomber quickly gained popularity. The success of the Hollywood location led to the opening of additional Don the Beachcomber branches in major cities across the United States, including Chicago, New York, and Palm Springs. Each location adhered…