Watching the Ken Burns documentary “Prohibition” got me thinking about the Noble Experiment’s influence on tiki. Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt (a.k.a. Don the Beachcomber) was a part-time bootlegger and opened the first tiki establishment as the bar business was booming after Prohibition ended. Jeff Berry’s fantastic book “Sippin’ Safari” even says one of the reasons Don made his original cocktails with rum was that it was cheap because the rumrunners had so much leftover stock.
Long story short, none of the original Don the Beachcomber restaurants are still around but his name and spirit have been carried on in Huntington Beach for the last two years. (There are also two unrelated DtB restaurants in Hawaii). This one also happens to have an awesome happy hour available in the Dagger Bar Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. and all night on Mondays.
Don’s signature drinks are $3 off ($5 off the Rum Barrel) and there’s also deals on beer and wine but why would you drink that here?! (Unless your name is Mr. Baseball.) A few of our favorites include Don’s Own Mai Tai (above), Lapu Lapu and Hurricane (one of nine cocktails they recently added to the menu).
There’s also a great selection of discounted “happy hour pupus.” The garlic fries ($3) are potent—just how I like ‘em—and the coconut shrimp skewers ($8) are good, too.
The spam roll ($5) is a fun novelty, however I don’t see it making it into our regular ordering rotation. But it does make me want to try making my own spam musubi at home.
Hands down the winner of the bunch is the brie quesadilla with kalua pork ($7) topped with chipotle mayo. I think I might have to get this super flavorful dish every time now, though there are still more tempting appetizers I’ve yet to try, like the sticky ribs and ahi poke tacos.
Sadly, I wasn’t as crazy about the pineapple upside down cake ($9). The cake was kind of dry. (That’s not to say we still didn’t clean that plate though.)
Don the Beachcomber also has several signature mugs available for purchase. From left: green Don the Beachcomber “short neck” (they also have it in brown), green & yellow versions of Don the Beachcomber “long neck” designed by Crazy Al, white rum barrel, and coconut mug.
Don the Beachcomber
16278 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Huntington Beach, CA 92649