Don the Beachcomber
Located on a sleepy part of PCH in Huntington Beach, CA, Don the Beachcomber has been open for business and fighting the good tropical fight since 2009. It’s also apparently a rogue bar/restaurant paying homage to the original Don the Beachcomber chain, and not officially part of it. In the space previous to Don’s was the short-lived Kona, before that Sam’s Seafood, a Huntington Beach perennial from 1923–2007.
There’s a lot of nostalgia and lived-in history in this building, which is actually quite cavernous. There’s several large dining rooms, two decked-out banquets rooms, another room or two I haven’t explored yet, and the bar. And when the slogan of the bar is “Where good rum is immortalized and drinking is an art” how can you not get your drink on? Not sure when I’d be back next, and having a chance to taste some Donn Beach original recipes, I took down 4 of them—with Smoked Brie & Mozzarella Quesadillas of course:
The Vicious Virgin is very sweet, flavorful, and a complex mix of ginger, clove, lime zest, and rum among other things. Easily my favorite drink of the night. The Nui Nui was also very good: rum, vanilla vodka, cinnamon, various juices, culminating into a dry sweetness and my second favorite drink. The Mai Tai was just okay. I rank it third behind the Mai Tais at Trader Vic’s and Tiki-Ti, but ahead of Damon’s. The 3 Dots & A Dash I just didn’t understand. The allspice flavor was good, but overall it was sour and bitter. I need to make this one at home and figure it out.