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Bars & Clubs

Best Classic Hotel Bar 

The Tonga Room

Oh, Tonga Room, you crazy, wonderful, fever dream of a bar. There's a lot about the kitschy tropical spot in the Fairmont Hotel to make one uncomfortable if they were to think about it too hard. The carved-wooden tiki gods and other odds 'n' ends around the place stop just short of racism — this is not the bar to bring a college sophomore taking a course on imperialism. The drinks are expensive and syrupy-sweet, and the less said about the pseudo-Asian food the better, especially the happy hour buffet. But put all that aside for a moment and revel in what the Tonga Room has been doing right since it opened in 1945. There's a fun "rain storm" every half hour when a recorded thunderclap sounds and a strobe light goes off and rain pours down from the ceiling into the indoor lagoon. At 8:15 every night, a Hawaiian-shirt-clad band boards its floating barge stage and drifts out to the middle of that lagoon to play songs like "Brown Eyed Girl" and Santana's "Smooth" — songs you know, songs you'll be happy to boogie down to on the ship-deck dancefloor with the tourists and octogenarians after downing half of a potent Smuggler's Golden Punch Bowl through a large plastic straw. You might walk in sneering and ironic, but it's damn near impossible to leave the Tonga Room without having had an earnestly good time.

Location Info

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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