One of the most personally enjoyable posts I’ve written for the E’ville Eye was my “Rediscover E’ville’s most celebrated bar” article about Trader Vic’s back in December. I have an intense interest in Emeryville’s vast history … and I’m finding out there is a lot that has yet to be documented!
At 9:15 pm last Friday September 26th, a packed house and live band raised their cocktail of choice (most of them “Classic” Mai Tai’s) to honor the 70th Anniversary of the Mai Tai and 80th anniversary of the establishment of a Tiki Culture fixture that still endures today.
For those unfamiliar, Trader Vic’s opened as “Hinky Dinks” at 6500 San Pablo back in 1934. Owner Vic Bergeron reinvented Hinky Dinks as Trader Vic’s in 1937 and made history with the invention of the Mai Tai in 1944. They moved to their current Emeryville Marina location in 1972 and despite franchising and massive expansion, Eve Bergeron (in fact the granddaughter of Vic who passed away in 1984) still has a controlling interest in the Emeryville location today. Many locations have closed over the years including the Palo Alto location but the Emeryville location has endured and even reestablished itself with its 2010 remodeling.
Oakland recently honored its historic involvement with the Mai Tai by declaring it the ceremonial official drink of Oakland. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan validated this with a ceremony decreeing August 30th as the “official” Mai Tai Day with a 2009 ceremony at the Conga Lounge on College Ave.
The Trader Vic;’s Anniversary Toast began in Asia and passed through locations in the Middle East & Europe before finishing up in the spot “where it all began” here in E’ville. From the Emeryville Trader Vic’s site: “A big MAHALO to Tito y su son for the great tunes, our Trader Vic’s staff and all our Mai Tai fans for a successful event!”
I captured the frenzy of the experience (and many Mai Tai’s) using Instagram’s Hyperlapse App (Follow us on Instagram @evilleeye).
Using the Instagram Hashtag #MaiTaiNation, Trader Vic’s documented this journey around the world starting in Tokyo:
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