During the winter of 1989, Donald Trump went to war with Trader Vic’s.
The New York outpost of the famous tiki bar chain was located in the legendary Plaza Hotel, which Trump owned at the time. In an attempt to close the establishment, he reportedly said it had “gotten tacky.” He continued by saying “Trader Vic’s does not fit in with the image of the hotel that I want to achieve.”
This lead to an uproar with even former President Richard Nixon issuing a statement about how much the bar meant to him and his family. Ultimately, Trader Vic’s closed and ever since the city can’t seem to sustain a tiki bar scene despite the success of tropical-themed watering holes in other cities.
Recently a number of new tiki bars have opened in New York, and on this episode of the podcast Life Behind Bars, hosts Noah Rothbaum and David Wondrich discuss whether they can succeed or whether tiki is indeed too tacky for the Big Apple.
Life Behind Bars features Half Full’s editor Noah Rothbaum and its Senior Drinks Columnist David Wondrich as they discuss the greatest bartenders and greatest cocktails of all time. It won the 2018 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for the world’s best drinks podcast.
Edited by Alex Skjong