The delightfully kitschy date spot that Anthony Bourdain once said left him "drunk and sticky," just got a fresh new makeover in the food and drinks department. While the forecast by the pool still calls for rain every 30 minutes, the bar at the Tonga Room will now be pouring a new lineup of updated Tiki drinks.
As Eater reports this afternoon, bar manager JP Cote recently revamped the cocktail menu to ditch the generic liquors and syrupy mixers in favor of fresh juices and more modern cocktails. Anywhere else in town, and this wouldn't really be news, but this is the Tonga Room we're talking about here. Where you practically have a hangover before you abandon your low-slung swivel chair.
"People were ordering one cocktail," Cote tells Eater, "and it was so sugary, they wouldn't order a second one."
During his overhaul, Cote also turned other notable fern bars in town, adding a Hawaiian-inflected margarita from Tommy's Mexican Restaurant and the boozy punchbowl from Smuggler's Cove to the cocktail lineup, which is now down to a concise 10 drinks.
It feels like not long ago, we were fretting over the bar's imminent destruction and only visiting when we had friends in town. Now, with a similarly upgraded food menu, the place might even get lifted out of the realm of ironic occasional haunt to become a legitimate Nob Hill hangout. Until Mitt Romney visits again, anyway.
The full cocktail and food menus are available for perusal over on Eater. And here's Bourdain, curling up to die on California Street, just for kicks:
Previously: All Tonga Room coverage on SFist