Closeup of The Golden Gate Bridge.
At San Francisco's Tonga Room Drink Cocktails Around A Swimming Pool Turned Tiki Bar
Located at the Fairmont San Francisco in the City by the Bay's iconic Nob Hill neighborhood, there's more to the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar than meets the eye.
Before it was transformed into a lagoon surrounded by nautical decor in 1945 by Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer set designer Mel Melvin, a swanky swimming pool occupied the space.
It was a challenging transformation that cost Fairmont $75,000 (about $1.25 million in 2023 dollars), but the investment proved its worth.
Spurred by the interest of World War II veterans returning from the South Pacific, tiki culture was experiencing a heyday, and the Tonga Room was a hit.
A thatch-covered barge floating in the swimming pool-turned-lagoon became the stage for live music performances, while patrons sipped on oversized cocktails with a tropical twist.
While the Tonga Room went through various makeovers and even survived a proposed demolition over the years, today, it remains a popular San Francisco attraction.