The Tonga Room's original look, circa 1950, from the collection of Jose "Zeta" Arizaleta

Tonga Room Celebrates 70 Years

The Tonga Room's original look, circa 1950, from the collection of Jose "Zeta" Arizaleta
The Tonga Room’s original look, circa 1950, from the collection of Jose “Zeta” Arizaleta

San Francisco’s Tonga Room opened on this day 70 years ago: September 18, 1945. It initially was themed as the deck of a cruise ship, the name “S.S. Tonga” was chosen simply because the parts for the decoration came from an actual ship with that name that was sourced from a nearby shipyard. The fantastic, immersive Polynesian Pop theming we see there today was installed in the 1960s. The best way to experience the Tonga Room today: go when it first opens, at 5pm, sit at the bar, and ask the bartender to make you something classic and historic (you’re likely to see him make you something off-menu and fantastic). Happy anniversary, Tonga Room, here’s to many more years! Mahalo to Critiki member Jose “Zeta” Arizaleta for sharing this image from his collection.

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