Monday, December 13, 2010

Denver Tiki: Trader Vic's vs. Don the Beachcomber - End of Story

More information about Denver Tiki and the Kahanui.

This story is almost over, but there’s still one more part. Trader Vic’s had closed at the Denver Hilton in 1985 and left the Denver market, but can you guess who moved into that vacant spot at the Hilton? Yep, Don the Beachcomber followed Vic’s a second time and opened in 1986 after they left the Cosmo. They only lasted a few years, but incredibly Denver had two different hotels that both hosted a Trader Vic’s and a Don the Beachcomber. Some cities were lucky if they got one location, Denver had five versions!

In summary:

Don the Beachcomber
-Cosmopolitan Hotel (downtown Denver) 1978-1984
-Ramada Renaissance Hotel (Aurora) 1981-1986
-Denver Hilton (downtown) 1986-1988

Trader Vic’s -Cosmopolitan Hotel 1962-1978
-Denver Hilton (downtown) 1978-1985

Several years later I discovered what happened to the auctioned contents from Don the Beachcomber when the Cosmo shut down. The Denver Post article stated that everything had been purchased for $65,000 was being moved to the west side of town.

The auctioned décor ended up at a Ramada Inn at the corner of 6th Avenue and Simms Street in Lakewood, CO (now a Ford car dealership). The Ramada had a lobby bar called Captain Bligh’s Tavern.

They also had a restaurant called The Beachcomber.

So the décor in the Ramada Beachcomber at this point was third generation, It came from Don the Beachcomber in the Cosmo, who had inherited it from Trader Vic’s when it was originally installed.

Captain Bligh’s and The Beachcomber Restaurant opened in 1985 and operated until the early 1990s before finally shutting down. This place was right in my own backyard and is another example of missing the boat. I never went inside and didn’t make the connection to Don’s and Trader Vic’s until years later after the place was closed and it was too late.

The end …to this long winded and complex story!


  1. So now where did the stuff go after Captain Bligh's?

    1. Blue Crab Antiques
      55 Maryland Ave
      Annapolis, MD
      The Beachcomber Resteraunt/Captain Bligh’s Tavern Doubloon Token (Denver CO)
      PRICE $15.00

  2. Blue Crab Antiques
    The Beachcomber Restaurant/Captain Bligh’s Tavern Doubloon Token (Denver CO)
    PRICE $15.00