Don the Beachcomber

Bar & Restaurant
16278 South Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, California, United States
Ph: (562) 592-1321 - Website
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Dining room:
Mon-Sat 4pm-10pm
Sun-Thu 4pm-midnight
Fri-Sat 4pm-2am
Opened in 2009
Defunct tiki not included,
distances are as the crow flies.
Alfredo's Beach Club, Long Beach 3.6 mi
5.9 km
The Reef, Long Beach 7.1 mi
11.4 km
Hawaiian Room, Bellflower 11.7 mi
18.8 km
Samoan Sea Apartments, San Pedro 11.7 mi
18.9 km
Tangaroa Terrace, Anaheim 10.5 mi
16.9 km
Exterior of Don The Beachcomber's at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach
February 2015, photo by Scaramouch
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Humuhumu’s description:
This is the same historic restaurant that stood for many decades under the legendary name of Sam's Seafood. It briefly became Kona, and for several years now has been Don the Beachcomber. This restaurant has no connection to the historic Don the Beachcomber chain; the trademark on the name had lapsed and has been purchased for new business ventures. The operation does contain many nods and tributes to the original Don the Beachcomber.

The owners are hoping to honor the name by bringing back traditional Don the Beachcomber cocktails. The decor remains intact, and has been augmented with more work by Bamboo Ben. Notably, the entrance has been redecorated in tribute to the entrance to the original Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood.

The most densely tikified area is the Dagger Bar, which is dark and filled with carved posts and pufferfish lights. The main dining room is more bright and airy, and has a large tiki watching over diners. The back of the restaurant is the deluxe "Hidden Village," available for special occasions, with a stage area, raised huts and second bar.

The owners of the restaurant do not own the lot of land it sits on, and periodically over the last decade or so there have been threats of the restaurant being bulldozed to make room for a new condominium development. The threat seems to rise and fall with the economy, and news comes in June 2015 that the owners of the lot are asking for it to be rezoned for high-density occupation.

How to find it:
It's easy to spotkeep an eye out for the tall swordfish sign on the west side of the road.
Don the Beachcomber has plenty of free parking in its own large parking lot.
There are 29 comments.
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March 17, 2009, 7:14 PM
I'm not loving the failure to use the original logo, and I really hope we're not asked to help save this place in six months.

I am looking forward to their signature mugs and menus though. I'm hopeful, yet cautious.
Tiki-Kate has visited Don the Beachcomber.

April 4, 2009, 11:28 AM
I went to Don the Beachcomber last night, and met the new bartender that Art brought over from Vegas. His name is Ryan, and he was really nice. He poured us his Mai Tai, Cherry Blossom, Viscous Virgin and a Scorpion (the Cherry and the Virgin aren't on the menu yet), and all were very good. There was a table or two of Tikiphiles there, and all seemed to be loving. it. Ryan said that the new mugs are on order from Tiki Farm and will be there in about 2-3 months. I wondered into the back rooms and saw some pretty impressive decor. This entire place feels very genuine to me, and it seems as if Art Snyder is dedicated to making it one of the better tiki destinations in SoCal. Go check it out.
vigidy has visited Don the Beachcomber.

April 7, 2009, 4:16 PM
Glad to hear there's a new bartender, the one we met in early March was less than pleasant. The food was amazing, and we look forward to spending time there again.
AZTikiPhiles is a semi-regular at Don the Beachcomber.

April 21, 2009, 12:20 PM
Was there with a small group for the Tikiyaki Orchestra event on April 18. Like the looks of the place, but they really need to work on their restauranting skills. Arrived 90 minutes before showtime, lucky to get 1/2 table in the room NEXT to where the band was, but still charged $10 cover. Drinks served in cheap plastic cups. Bartender in main bar was rude. A half-hour after ordering dinner, were told they were out of what we ordered. After another half hour, we were told they were out of soup bowls. We were given forks, but no knives or napkins. When dinner finally arrived, it was dry and tastless and not "plated" well. The band was great when it could be heard over the crowd noise. I will try it again for a sunset special after they get the re-opening kinks out.

May 2, 2009, 6:25 PM
This is one of those rare tiki destinations that is kid-friendly, so our family was thrilled to visit during spring break. We enjoyed a tasty "Vicious Virgin", though it was served in a tall glass without any decor (thanks for the Critiki tip, Vigidy!). The food was outstanding, especially the Kona Chop salad. Its like a big version of those tiny salads you get at sushi restaurants. The service was very slow, so we were surprised to learn our waitress had been there for several years. Not willing to wait any longer to place our drink order, I went straight to the bar. The very nice bartender explained they were in transition on the drink menu. He said they hired consultants to work on the drinks and were out of many ingredients. He warned me it would take him a while to make our drinks. Said he's been a bartender for 25 years and has never had to mix and measure so many ingrediants, ha! Well worth it sir! We wandered around the back areas and discovered a virtual tiki culture museum. This place is priceless, they still have the Coconut Bar and original decor. Our only hope is that the new owners figure out how to make the dining area more comfortable, the lighting is not good at all and the seating should be updated/upgraded. We enjoyed the exotica tiki tunes, but had a good laugh when an Eagles song came on, somebody must've mixed up their iPod playlist!
Tiki Kim has visited Don the Beachcomber.

May 12, 2009, 2:15 PM
I went on Mother's Day for the show and champagne brunch. I was really impressed. I loved the decor and thought the food was pretty good-(buffet style). What stood out to me the most was the service. Everyone from the hosts to the servers were incredibly friendly. So much fun--was a great first mother's day for sure! Will definitely go back as soon as possible!
tropicalihoney is a semi-regular at Don the Beachcomber.

September 14, 2009, 7:32 AM
The bar is very tiki-fied but the vibe is cut short by the multiple tv's coloring the space in bad lighting...

The drinks were fun, and the service was great...

They would do well if they built a small platform for the performers, just standing on the concrete floor doesn't feel right...

The use of compact florescent light bulbs through out are also a major vibe killer...

Overall we had a great time and hope this spot lasts...
Builtiki has visited Don the Beachcomber.

March 3, 2010, 12:23 PM
Terrific happy hour specials: Drink and appetizer prices are half price all day Mondays and from 4:00 - 7:00 the rest of the week. Several of the tiki drink offerings appear to be made using the original recipes that are in Beach Bum Barry's Intoxica and the Grog Log. The service was terrific! The bar is kind of like tiki meets sports bar due to the flat screen TVs but, I found them to be a pleasant distraction. I haven't experienced a live music or entertainment event here yet, but I am looking forward to doing so in the near future.
Gran Tiki is a regular at Don the Beachcomber, and is usually there Weekend Happy Hour.

June 11, 2010, 12:16 PM
Don's a trek for me, but when I can make it down there, I ALWAYS have a good time. They have thee best Mai Tai's and obviously their food is amazing too. You must go when they do their happy hour prices. SUCH a good deal!!
carlosrossi is a semi-regular at Don the Beachcomber.

June 28, 2010, 6:17 PM
Had a fun time celebrating my friends birthday with some great Happy Hour drinks. Even picked up a Sam's Seafood Tiki mug from the ever shrinking supply.
Chippy is a regular at Don the Beachcomber, and is usually there Monday Nights with the rest of the TC crowd.

June 28, 2010, 10:55 PM
I had a great time here. They have great food and great drinks. A tiki restaurant that has both good food and drinks is a rare find. Everytime I am in the area I will definatley make my way back here.
Raider Rich has visited Don the Beachcomber.

July 26, 2010, 8:34 PM
Swung down again today to see about picking up the new don the Beachcomber signature mug. But, alas, they are not available to the public yet. Still the food and the drinks were great. I enjoyed the Mai tai and my friend enjoyed the Lapu Lapu. great stuff.
Chippy is a regular at Don the Beachcomber, and is usually there Monday Nights with the rest of the TC crowd.

August 24, 2010, 8:39 PM
Was there again last night with a bunch of the TikiCentral folks. I had my first Zombie and it was delicious. I wonder how many times I have to vist before I change my status to regular?
Chippy is a regular at Don the Beachcomber, and is usually there Monday Nights with the rest of the TC crowd.

October 17, 2010, 3:35 PM
This a very large place with multiple dining rooms, private function rooms, and bar. A lot of tikis and polynesian decor, especially in the bar. I went at lunchtime and was given a tour of the place by the very friendly waitress/bartender. Had a bowl of clam chowder which was very good, and a mai tai which I'm sorry to say was a disappointment. Overall, a nice tiki atmosphere and friendly staff, well worth a return visit.
tucsontiki has visited Don the Beachcomber.

November 26, 2010, 11:57 AM
I went with my husband, best friend and her boyfriend (a tiki virgin) and was so disappointed. The service staff was nice enough but it felt like we were at a TGIFridays or some other chain restaurant. I usually go for the bar are but it was crammed full of tvs playing football so we ended up in the main dining area where the music we could hear was loud, new pop music from the back room. The food was...okay. I got kahlua pork (my FAVE) and it just kinda tasted like soy sauce over pulled pork. Like I said, it was...okay. I don't even remember the drinks because everything else was that disappointing.

Talked to a waitress outside after dinner while we were smoking and she said that it was pretty normal for the waitresses to only get a few bucks a night in tips because they are totally understaffed. We had to apologize to our friends for such a bad time (and it was far too expensive for the food to not be Trader Vic's quality).
swallowthstars has visited Don the Beachcomber.

January 28, 2011, 9:05 AM
I go for mai tais, Dr. Funk, and three dots and a dash. The pineapple upside down cake is awesome and so is the calamari starter me and my girlfriend will go get both of those and drinks. Yes I will admit the tvs in the Dagger bar are a bit annoying but they have one old black and white that plays the original endless summer on repeat. In the end its not Frankie's in Vegas but for being close it serves its purpose.
The tiki pinstriper is a semi-regular at Don the Beachcomber.

June 3, 2011, 12:27 PM
I used to be a semi-regular here, stopping in for a drink whenever I was in the HB area. Now that I'm stuck on the east coast, I'm downgrading (quite reluctantly) to visitor status. I love this place and will always consider it my home bar, though-- it was the first tiki bar I ever went to. The food, has always been a bit hit or miss, but every drink I've ever had here has been spot-on!
Iscah has visited Don the Beachcomber.

August 15, 2011, 4:31 PM
Ill echo Tiki Kims post. Dons is a rare kid-friendly tiki place. The staff was not just accommodating towards my kids, but downright doting. Although not advertised on Dons web site, there IS a kids menu AND, best of all, kids eat for FREE Mon - Thurs. Dons often has live entertainment so check their schedule (available on the web) ahead of time to find something agreeable to you. For example, to avoid the Reggae -- unless of course you're looking for that. We were lucky to catch Kimo playing his Hawaiian steel guitar. Beautiful! His music, together with the already wonderful tropical dcor, was transporting. Thank you Dons and Kimo.
kenbo-jitsu is a semi-regular at Don the Beachcomber.

October 9, 2011, 7:32 PM
I took my in-laws and kids there, and I must echo kenbo's comment, the kids loved it. The staff were very accomodating, and although Kimo couldn't make it as advertised, the stand in entertainment was just as transporting. Such a delightful experience, we hope to come here every time we're in the area. My main suggestion is to have the ambient lights turned down about 20% for a more hushed atmosphere, while having the lights on the decor a little brighter.
AZTikiPhiles is a semi-regular at Don the Beachcomber.

November 18, 2011, 7:55 PM
Finally made it to DtBC! My critiki for it was only a 7.9, but that's probably because we went on a Wednesday and we were the only table in there. The food was exceptional. Loved the decor (especially in the bar), and the drinks were good. I wish I could have gone on a Friday or Saturday, I'm sure it's rockin'
Right_D has visited Don the Beachcomber.

December 22, 2011, 8:16 PM
This place was my first true tiki bar experience at the dagger bar. My friend told me I had to try the mai tai, rum barrel, and dr funk. They were all great. Glasgow tiki shakers were playing that night which added to the tiki experience. Awesome tiki bar. Cant wait to go back :).
forgotten tikiman has visited Don the Beachcomber.

March 17, 2012, 4:31 PM
Was there in August 2011 and loved it. Best Mai Tai! Was bummed they were out of the classic Barrel mugs. Met Art Snyder at the bar and talked with him for a while. Good guy. Look forward to returning!
Tiki Finky is a semi-regular at Don the Beachcomber.

April 3, 2012, 12:34 PM
I was in O.C. and had a couple of hours to kill, so I zoomed down to Don's to finally see it. It was early Saturday, so there weren't a lot of people. I had a couple of drinks at the bar and enjoyed the karaoke so much that I sang "Jambalaya" by Hank Williams. Cool place, can't wait to go back.
King Moai has visited Don the Beachcomber.

July 8, 2012, 11:12 PM
Went there at the end of May. It certainly lived up to my expectations. I really liked the architecture of the building from the outside...inside, well it struck me as a little cheesy but there were plenty of Tikis everywhere. The food was good if not spectacular. My only disappointment was the small list of cocktails...I was hoping for much more. Oh well, the Beachcomber's Gold and Jungle Jetsetter were good, plus I was glad to get a Don's head tiki mug and a tshirt.
PackmanWSU01 has visited Don the Beachcomber.

October 7, 2012, 8:41 PM
The folks at Don The Beachcomber are doing a great job at keeping tiki alive and kicking. They continue to strive to bring the best in local and international polinesian entertainment and events. About every 6 weeks they have the international tiki marketplace where local vendors bring the best back to all who come looking for all things tiki.
Chippy is a regular at Don the Beachcomber, and is usually there Monday Nights with the rest of the TC crowd.

July 24, 2013, 7:24 AM
Just back from visit, out from North Carolina with friends. We had planned 1 afternoon stop, which turned into a 3 in day in a row! Bartender Vinnie is a jewel, very accomodating and even arranged food before they were quite open yet. Made the Sat Tiki Marketplace. Can't say enough about Don's.
ParTiki has visited Don the Beachcomber.

May 26, 2014, 2:18 AM
very nice place. a reaggea group was playing in another room, and karaoke was on the dagger bar, then a blues group came playing.
good music, nice people, really cool tiki deco.

we ordered 6 cocktails,.... ans no mugs... my friend was happy of those 3, but my first one was good and the 2 other has been too acide. Cocktail are made before, stored in a plastic bottle and easily served in a glass with ice.
I use to go at the DAN TON KU tiki bar in Switzerland, and they make coktail on request...

service was so so ...

anyway, i ll be back
GrandMarquis has visited Don the Beachcomber.

July 6, 2015, 11:04 PM
hands down the best tiki place overall in my travels. always a great staff, good patrons all locals, and very good drinks. they even have a tiki take on nachos by using fried wonton wrappers in lieu of chips. needless to say they taste great, especially with the kalua pork on top. only downside is some of the t-shirts on display have been unavailable for some time, hopefully they correct that.

September 2, 2015, 12:01 AM
The pupus are the best reason to go here. The ceviche mini-tacos, sticky ribs and, occasionally, ti duck are some of the best food you'll find in the tiki kingdom. The drinks are a horrible letdown in comparison; watery with little difference in flavor. Stick to drinking your rum straight and you'll appreciate the pupus that much more.
Otto von Abbattoir has visited Don the Beachcomber.

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