1073 Cocktails and 238 Bars now listed

Trader Vics

Trader Vics

Trader Vics say:

Trader Vic’s is a London institution and home of the Mai Tai cocktail. An exotic paradise offering French Polynesian-style cuisine and an extensive cocktail list, located in the heart of Mayfair since 1963. The tropical bar has live music bar every night, and is decorated in traditional Tiki carvings.

Social and Cocktail says:

You’d think it would be pretty hard to dislike a place that is designed to conjure the feel of a laid-back Polynesian culture, sun-kissed beaches and tropical drinks laced with rum.You’d be wrong, it is very, very easy to dislike Trader Vic’s. Like a pubescent teen seeking to establish their place in the world, or a middle-aged man seeking to redefine his, this is a bar with an identity crisis and it takes it out on its customers.

Trader Vics London

The place looks the job, it’s a full-on Tiki fest, albeit one that feels a little restrained, which is perhaps unsurprising considering its location in the basement of a luxury hotel. Despite its vast size (it is also a restaurant) the layout maintains a reasonable intimacy, but the absence of a single diner at either of my visits didn’t help the feeling that this is a bar on the way out.

Atmosphere aside, what really lets this bar down is its total failure to deliver on its promise of being a Tiki bar. Trader Vic would turn in his grave if he were to see the back bar full of Scotch, gin, vodka, tequila and so on, whilst, with the exception of a lone bottle of Malibu, the entirety of the rum is demoted to a side shelf. A Tiki bar that doesn’t put its rum in prime location is one that has sold its soul to the devil. The reason, according to the duty manager, is that no-one wants to drink rum cocktails; an excuse that makes perfect sense when you make the mistake of ordering one.

Most of the famous Tiki drinks are represented, but sadly the execution is questionable at best. My Trader Vic’s Mai Tai for example tasted decidedly artificial, although I was assured it was prepared fresh. The same applied to my Planter’s Punch and Zombie, and it was only when I finally gave up and asked for a Daiquiri that the bartender demonstrated that he wasn’t totally incapable. In fact, it was rather tasty and only served to further bring into question why the menu itself was so poor.

There is one saving grace to this bar, and that is that despite the relegation to the sidelines, there is in fact a respectable rum list. With a good representation from different islands, there is an opportunity to showcase the variety of styles on offer with tasting flights, and yet instead they choose to offer a flight of Mai Tai’s made with gin, vodka, cachaca and so on. Whoever thought of such a thing should be made to walk the plank. Perhaps Trader Vic’s will one day get over its identity crisis and have the confidence to deliver a true Tiki experience, but I’m not holding my breath.

Update: read Rebecca’s thoughts on Trader Vics after her recent visit

The Cocktail Geek
the cocktail geek

Book a Cocktail Party
Range & Pricing


Cosmo £9.00

Mojito £9.00

Margarita £9.00


Ours Rating Icon Rating Icon Rating Icon Rating Icon Rating Icon

Yours Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating

Find The Bar
Contact Details

EmailSend Mail

Phone020 7208 4113

WebLaunch Site