Clifton’s Pacific Seas Is Almost-Open in Downtown L.A.

At last, the long-awaited day is approaching: Clifton’s Pacific Seas has started to be used for special invite-only events, and is currently slated to be open to the general public on November 12. Recent news articles in other outlets have reported tomorrow, November 4, to be the opening date—turns out that was a bit ambitious. Be sure to take this new date with a grain of salt as well, though it’s not uncommon for spaces to have unannounced, “soft” open nights before an official grand opening.

Clifton's Pacific Seas. Mural by Sammy Beam, photo by Bamboo Ben
Clifton’s Pacific Seas. Mural by Sammy Beam, photo by Bamboo Ben
A giant tiki and a tiki giant: Bamboo Ben at work building Clifton's Pacific Seas
A giant tiki and a tiki giant: Bamboo Ben at work building Clifton’s Pacific Seas

This new tiki bar is the culmination of years of planning and effort. Clifton’s owner Andrew Meieran purchased much of the decor for the new Pacific Seas bar from the beloved Bahooka when it closed in early 2013, including six outrigger canoes (one is 26 feet long!), many float lights, the tikis from behind the bar, and its famous “jail.” Meieran hired Bamboo Ben to design and lead the build-out of Pacific Seas. Ben has shared hundreds of photos of the build-out process in an album on Facebook; it’s a fun way to see all of the thought and effort that has gone into creating the space.

Meieran first purchased the historic Clifton’s cafeteria complex back in 2011, and surely had daydreams of adding a tiki bar right off the bat. The bar serves as tribute to the original Clifton’s location just a few blocks away, on Olive Street. That location opened in 1931, but didn’t get its Polynesian theming until 1939—at that point, it was rechristened “Clifton’s Pacific Seas.” While it came later than Don the Beachcomber (1933), Trader Vic’s (1937), and Trad’r Sam (1937) it was a very early example of the kind of Polynesian theming that exploded across the country in the decades that followed. Meieran’s current-day Clifton’s location, on Broadway, opened in 1935 as the forest-themed Clifton’s Brookdale, and is the last remaining Clifton’s location. (Read more about Clifton’s and the original Pacific Seas in this Critiki News article from last year.)

Clifton's Pacific Seas, photo by Bamboo Ben
Clifton’s Pacific Seas, photo by Bamboo Ben

I’ve created a listing for the new Clifton’s Pacific Seas in Critiki (not to be confused with the original Clifton’s Pacific Seas listing). Get ready to check it out starting on the 12th, and please share your photos and reviews with Critiki!

(Are you one of the lucky few who have already seen it thanks to a preview event? Critiki members would love to see your images and hear your impressions!)

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