classic

Don the Beachcomber

Huntington Beach, CA
Bar & Restaurant
173
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16278 South Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA
Opened in 2009
Dining room:
Mon-Sat 4pm-10pm
Bar:
Sun-Thu 4pm-midnight
Fri-Sat 4pm-2am
(562) 592-1321

Critiki ratings

Don the Beachcomber

8.8

Overall

by 187 people

1

10

Detail
Everyone You
Decor 9.5
Drink Quality 8.7
Drink Selection 9
Food Quality 8
Food Selection 8
Mood 8.8
Music 8.8
Service 8.6
Tikiness 9.5
Tilt 9
Vibe 8.8

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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
history
Sam's Seafood
Huntington Beach, CA
Bar, Restaurant & Floor Show
8.5
. It briefly became Kona
history
Kona
Huntington Beach, CA
Bar & Restaurant
8
, 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
history
Don the Beachcomber
Hollywood, CA
Bar & Restaurant
10
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.

Comments

TikiFunk
TikiFunk is a semi-regular at Don the Beachcomber.
October 10, 2017, 11:05 PM
We've been to Don's a whole bunch during the last 18 months...usually during the Tiki Makeke events where there's a bunch of great entertainment, tiki goodies to buy, and tiki-philes with whom to talk. Since it's a crazy busy time, the quality of drinks, food, and service suffer a bit...but it's well worth the visit. We especially like the Dagger Bar when the Hula Girls are jamming. The decor is wonderful throughout, however I'm a little disappointed in the bare concrete floors. Please go and visit...especially during a marketplace. It's a blast.
July 4, 2017, 6:56 PM
So this is my second rating of a classic tiki bar. Tiki ti was my first. My favorite tiki bar is Trader Sam's at Disneyland, The Undertow in Phoenix is my second favorite, with the Tonga Hut and The Bootlegger Tiki in Palm Springs tied for third-for some context. Walking in to Don the Beech was rather sad. Looking at a truly grand exterior-that is being allowed to decompose is just that, sad. And that set the tone for the rest of the visit. You can see that this place had epoc theming in its day, but I was also able to see and feel that the owner/owners are just letting the place go and making money off of a foundation laid long ago. Reading some of the other comments here, we were actually reluctant to go, but others told us we at least needed to go inside, so we did. It certainly is worth a look, and truly, you take a step back in time.

The real gem was our experience with the bartender, Daniel, who very graciously gave us a tour into the story behind this bar-and modern tiki. His sharing of his knowledge was a true gift. Two of the drinks were almost painful (I am a zombie fan, and their zombie was way too spicy for me), and one made me think, "dreadful"-although my wife enjoyed that drink. The other two drinks we had were great, but I have a strong belief all were not Daniel's creations/they were made by someone else (we saw him pour a lot out of big plastic bottles).

In summary, we probably would not go back-except to support Daniel. The food was just average, and while the drinks were solid tiki, they did not invite us back. The decor is a must see, if you are into history, but be ready to feel some sadness or anger-because of how the structure is being neglected.
twomartinis
twomartinis has visited Don the Beachcomber.
March 9, 2017, 1:30 PM
As a student/disciple of Donn's original mai tai swizzle, excited does not begin to describe the anticipation I felt when I found out I was going to Anaheim for a conference!

I walked into Don's on a Monday night and the interior just blew me away. The front dining area was deserted because the big band was playing in the back room, so I ambled back there to take a peek; and I was transported to another time. The era of the supper club! Fantastic vibe!

I made my way to the 'dagger bar' and ordered myself a mai tai, no doubt I had a big cheese on my face by then. The magic ended when she grabbed a plastic bar jug from the well liquor trough and filled up my glass. Baffled; but knowing exactly just what happened, I almost didn't want to drink it ;^( and I was right... It was really tart; and I like tart; but this was 'food processed tartness' that dominated the drink. The cinnamon wasn't doing this drink any favors, either. So it dawns on me that grapefruit(tart) + cinnamon = Don's Mix, right? Is this what passes for a mai tai? I tried to enjoy it; but wound up leaving before I finished it.
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