The full story remains to be told, but all signs point to this weekend having been the last for venerable tiki bar and restaurant, Don the Beachcomber, in Huntington Beach.
Owner Delia Wu Snyder gave a non-denial denial, but promoter Christopher Burkhardt of B&B’s Musical Thrills last week moved shows to other venues in the area, regulars were being asked to pick up their tiki mugs, and plans were being laid all over town for a last meet up Saturday when an Ohana Gathering, marking Don’s 10 year anniversary, was scheduled. Reservations were still taken for Easter Sunday, but beyond that, the rumor is that the site of Don’s (and before it, Sam’s Seafood) may now be developed for condos.
For almost 10 years Don’s has been the site of many happy hours, birthday celebrations, pupu platters, Painkillers, Navy Grogs, Zombies, and great surf and Americana shows. The venue was a comfortable, kitschy place to enjoy friends, music and tiki culture. While Burkhardt will continue to book shows in the area, the back room at Don’s was a special, intimate place to hear great music. Some memorable shows I have attended: John Doe, The Blasters, Alejandro Escovedo, Chris Hillman, the Monday night Big Band jams … the list goes on.
Saturday my friends and I spent the afternoon and evening knocking back an untold number of Painkillers, dancing to great surf bands (some of whom will go on to play Viva Las Vegas soon), buying souvenir menus and matchbooks, and saying a teary goodbye to Don’s. Nobody wanted to leave, but all things must pass, I suppose.