My company gave me a “wellness” day so I took a trip to San Francisco to visit Trad’r Sam, the longest continually operating tiki bar in the world. Like many bars outside the city’s financial and tourist core, this is a dive bar not a craft cocktail place. Inside things are … very divey. There are some longtime bamboo framing elements around the tables, and a few tiki mugs hanging above the bar, and a lot of tired bones. Inside, the place is cash only, and they have a long menu of cocktails along with a modest collection of spirits and beer.
The owner of Trad’r Sam took offense to my review a couple years ago when I said that all the drinks were pretty much the same. Part of my revisit was to test the theory.
My $9 island Mai Tai was prepared thusly:
Splash of bottled Lime and Sweet & Sour mix
Splash of Triple Sec and Amaretto
Splash of Grenadine
Steady pours of Myers’s white rum and a dark rum (might have been Cruzan)
Big splash of Pineapple Juice
Healthy float of Myers’s dark rum
If the grenadine was removed I would give this a passing grade, as my first few sips came off the bottom where the grenadine had settled and it was not good. Once I stirred it up a bit more the cocktail improved. Service was efficient and friendly enough for a dive bar.
I was thinking about a second cocktail when another patron ordered a Zombie. The Zombie had even more pineapple juice and more rum, but otherwise seemed like the same ingredients. Served blended.
So, it was one and done for me. I’m glad I took the drive out on a sunny Friday. The parklet outside was spartanly appointed but definitely was being well used by regulars who were starting the weekend early.