Travel

[Historic Bars] The Tonga Room in San Francisco

Posted on: December 11th, 2014 by Katherine Flynn

 

Aloha, historic bar lovers! It's time to escape chilly winter temps and enjoy warmer climes inside historic tiki bars, those Polynesian-inspired spots known for their island flair and exotic cocktails. Next up: the Tonga Room in San Francisco.

A floating barge in the middle of the Tonga Room’s “lagoon” frequently features live performers.
A floating barge in the middle of the Tonga Room’s “lagoon” frequently features live performers.

San Franciscans adore the Tonga Room. Situated in the basement of the swanky and storied Fairmont Hotel, the renowned restaurant and tiki bar is, for some of the city’s residents, woven just as deeply into the urban fabric as cable cars and the Coit Tower.

So when Mai Tai fans in the Bay Area first got wind of the possibility of their favorite historic watering hole becoming a casualty of redevelopment at the Fairmont in 2009, they did what any bar preservationists in their right mind would do -- they went to happy hour.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

[Historic Bars] The Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale

Posted on: December 4th, 2014 by David Weible

 

Aloha, historic bar lovers! It's time to escape chilly winter temps and enjoy warmer climes inside historic tiki bars, those Polynesian-inspired spots known for their island flair and exotic cocktails. First up: Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Mai Kai was designed by the Fort Lauderdale architect Charles McKirahan and was restored to its original look after Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
The Mai Kai was designed by the Fort Lauderdale architect Charles McKirahan and was restored to its original look after Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

It all makes too much sense: A Texas kid leaves home, becomes a bootlegger, and then falls even further from mainstream society. He floats around the Caribbean for a spell before he washes up on a Pacific island no one from Texas has probably ever heard of. When he moves back stateside, he turns his booze-sodden adventures into a business empire and nationwide sensation.

It’s the story of Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, a.k.a. Don the Beachcomber, who opened his eponymous Pacific-island themed café in Hollywood in 1934 and eventually set off a national obsession with hula skirts, heavy rum pours, and all things Polynesian.

In honor of this obsession, our next round of historic bars serves up a mixture of the best historic tiki spots America has to offer -- native girls not included.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

David Weible

David Weible

David Weible is a content specialist for the National Trust, previously with Preservation magazine. He came to D.C. from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

[Retro Roadmap] Donohue’s Steak House in New York City

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Beth Lennon

 

The mirrored bar back has been reflecting the faces of Donohue’s patrons since 1950.
The mirrored bar back has been reflecting the faces of Donohue’s patrons since 1950.

The cobalt-hued pachyderm holding court in the middle of the back bar at Donohue’s on New York City’s Upper East Side may be holding his trunk aloft in an attempt to keep his martini from spilling, but this lucky pose has served his station well. Donohue’s, once one of any number of neighborhood cocktail and comfort food joints (from when comfort food was known just as food) lining the sidewalks of New York, has had the continued good luck to escape the gentrifiers’ grip, much to the benefit of patrons wanting a classic cocktail and a hearty meal.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

[Historic Bars] The Warren Tavern in Charlestown, Massachusetts

Posted on: November 26th, 2014 by Geoff Montes 1 Comment

 

Did George Washington really sleep here? In our next round of Historic Bars, we're stopping at the crossroads of time and history to explore old taverns and inns around the country -- the kind with wooden signs, rooms for lodging, and a century (or two) of fascinating stories. Next in line: The Warren Tavern in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

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The Warren Tavern first opened its doors in 1780, five years after the Battle of Bunker Hill left Charlestown in ruins. 

The Warren Tavern’s charming address of 2 Pleasant Street in Charlestown belies its origin as a Revolutionary War haunt frequented by Paul Revere and George Washington. Established in 1780, the Tavern was one of the first buildings erected in Charlestown after the bloody Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, when British forces left the town in ruins. Among the colonial casualties was the tavern’s namesake, Dr. Joseph Warren, a physician and general who played an integral role in the American Revolution.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Geoff Montes

Geoff Montes

Geoff Montes is the Editorial Assistant for Preservation magazine. He enjoys Art Deco architecture, any activity that can be done at the beach, and cotton candy.

 

141124_blog-photo_church-turned-restaurant_terrapin
Guests can dine beneath cathedral ceilings at the former First Baptist Church -- now Terrapin Restaurant -- in Rhinebeck, New York

In the Fall 2014 issue of Preservation we brought you our first roundup of churches-turned-restaurants, following it up shortly thereafter with a blog post featuring even more heavenly cuisine. In case your prayers still weren't answered, here are three brand-new selections sure to please the palates of even the most devout food-lovers.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.