classic

Trad'r Sam

San Francisco, CA
Bar
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6150 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA
Opened in 1937
Daily 10:30am-2am
(415) 221-0773

Critiki ratings

Trad'r Sam

5.6

Overall

by 72 people

1

10

Detail
Everyone You
Decor 6.9
Drink Quality 4.5
Drink Selection 6.8
Mood 5.9
Music 3.5
Service 7
Tikiness 5.6
Tilt 6.1
Vibe 4.1

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Regulars & Visitors

View all 160 Trad'r Sam regulars & visitors

Humuhumu’s description

Trad'r Sam is the oldest, longest-operating tiki bar in the world. Trad'r Sam opened in 1937, and as originally owned by Sam Baylon. This small and very old bar actually pre-dates the appearance of actual tikis in tiki bars, and is an extremely rare example of the bamboo bars that were in some cities in the '30s. The bar has a series of seating areas around the perimeter of the bar which are each named after islands, and are framed in rattan. The bar itself is a large, horseshoe-shaped structure, also encrusted in rattan. There are tropical drinks available, but this bar is now more of a loveable dive than anything.
Cocktail enthusiasts shouldn't miss the world famous tequila destination bar across the street just a block and a half away, Tommy's Mexican Restaurant.

Comments

Suffering Bastard
Suffering Bastard is a semi-regular at Trad'r Sam.
November 3, 2017, 12:29 AM
You need to prepare yourself for Trad'r Sam's. It's like finding the Prince of Wales working in a coal mine.

Trad'r Sam's is the oldest tiki bar in the world. You'd think that would make it a national treasure but no, it's actually a local dive that would rather not be reminded of it's' noble heritage, thank you very much. The rattan decor that speaks of ancient ports of call is left to rot (op. cit. the "LADIFS" room), while a central TV blares out Giants games and the regulars nurse Bud Lights. It wants to become the diviest of dives, and it is well on it's way.

That said: it's glorious. If you can find a bartender who's willing to hand out the tropical menu and fire up the blender (this is not always a given), you're partaking of tiki history. Honestly, it needs people like you and me to nudge it back onto its heritage , so by all means make a visit there part of your time in San Francisco. Just arrive with the understanding that this is ancient, ancient juju, that needs to be respectfully revived.
Suffering Bastard
Suffering Bastard is a semi-regular at Trad'r Sam.
November 3, 2017, 12:29 AM
You need to prepare yourself for Trad'r Sam's. It's like finding the Prince of Wales working in a coal mine.

Trad'r Sam's is the oldest tiki bar in the world. You'd think that would make it a national treasure but no, it's actually a local dive that would rather not be reminded of it's' noble heritage, thank you very much. The rattan decor that speaks of ancient ports of call is left to rot (op. cit. the "LADIFS" room), while a central TV blares out Giants games and the regulars nurse Bud Lights. It wants to become the diviest of dives, and it is well on it's way.

That said: it's glorious. If you can find a bartender who's willing to hand out the tropical menu and fire up the blender (this is not always a given), you're partaking of tiki history. Honestly, it needs people like you and me to nudge it back onto its heritage , so by all means make a visit there part of your time in San Francisco. Just arrive with the understanding that this is ancient, ancient juju, that needs to be respectfully revived.
KevinCrossman
KevinCrossman has visited Trad'r Sam.
June 17, 2017, 3:10 PM
My wife and I popped in for a quick visit in the early afternoon on a Saturday in June when the nearby Ocean beach was bustling. Upon entering we saw the run-down displays outside the bar and the sign that is impressive despite being decades old. There was nobody in the bar except the bartender who was having a rather heated conversation on the phone. That said, she was friendly and gladly handed us drink menus upon request. I ordered a Mai Tai and my wife declined a drink, since she was driving (and also quite a bit more spooked by the bar than I was). The bartender was friendly about asking if she wanted a water or a soda a couple times, which was nice.

I ordered a Mai Tai, which is my default. Sadly it wasn't much more than just-okay rum with lots of ice and splash of juice served in a hurricane glass. The bar clearly had good bones but really needs a facelift. I don't mind the neon beer signs or the TV as long as the signs and TV are showing the local team (the SF Giants). The fact that this is a neighborhood dive bar gives it a pass on these elements. But I wish the Polynesian ones were in better shape. The outside displays wouldn't take much time to spruce up and while the interior seating would require more investment it could turn this place into something mainstream folks might be willing to visit.

The completely inebriated guy who came in after us didn't help my wife's mood and we left shortly thereafter. Glad I visited but considering there are tons of better options in just SF alone it'll be a while before we return.
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Upcoming Visits
Regulars & Visitors
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  • Apocryphanow
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  • Suffering Bastard
  • Humuhumu
  • Tiki-Kate
  • Slacks Ferret
  • virani
  • Tiare
  • wayne-tiki-tiki
  • Eme
View all 160 Trad'r Sam regulars & visitors