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Bars & Clubs

Saddest Farewell 

Tonga Room

In an era of crumbling institutions, rampant greed, and change for the hell of it, the all-but-certain demise of the Tonga Room may be the saddest slap at historical preservation to date. The grandest of the city's tiki bars blossomed just after World War II and in the decades since has delighted natives and visitors alike with its over-the-top decor, foliage-festooned umbrella drinks, and regularly scheduled tropical downpours. Those of us who grew up delighting in the wall-to-wall tribal masks, totem poles, palm fronds, and ship's riggings will miss the floating-raft dance band, the hollowed-pineapple cocktails, the rumble of thunder, and the flash of lightning just as keenly as we mourn the once-bustling Embarcadero, the Fillmore's jazz joints, and other vanished relics of this restless city.

Web Extra — Bonus Best Of

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