Tradition, the six-year-old Tenderloin “American bar” from prolific nightlife impresarios Future Bars (Bourbon & Branch et al.) has closed. It’s now destined for reanimation as Zombie Village, a Tiki bar with “savage drinks and dark comfort.”
This will be the second Tiki bar for the group, which opened Pagan Idol in 2016. Daniel “Doc” Parks, bar director at Pagan Idol and Trader Vic’s veteran, is leading the charge on this new venture, which takes its name from Bay Area Tiki’s storied past: Zombie Village, owned by Skipper Kent was located in Oakland on San Pablo Avenue across from the original location of Trader Vic’s. Across the bay was sister restaurant Skipper Kent’s, which operated out of what is now Kennedy’s Irish Pub and Curry House on Columbus Avenue in the 1960s (which partially explains the bar’s unique style of architecture).
Parks says his version of Zombie Village will be an homage to Kent, a bay area legend whose dedication to tiki led him to sail his boat to the Polynesian islands to collect tiki objects for his bars. “We wanted to bring awareness to one of the most underrated original tiki bars,” Parks told Eater. “The name, decor, and classic drinks will be part of that.” Tiki artists like Bamboo Ben and Ivan Mora are constructing large scale installations and carvings for the space.
The bar, which is slated for a fall opening, will be the second Tiki bar with “dark” vibes to open within the span of several months: Last Rites opened in June with a moody “Polynesian noir” style, complete with enormous skulls, and the fuselage of an airplane to create the effect of a crash-landing on an island.
Zombie Village, however, will have its own style of noir, channeling Caribbean island culture with a very tropical interior, and hints of Haitian voodoo. Along the lines of Pagan Idol, the drink menu will be “modern tiki” with a large variety of spirits from mezcal to pisco, and of course “loads of rum.” And like Futurebars’ other projects, it will be strictly a cocktail bar sans food, though Parks says they’re open to pop-ups or food trucks down the line.
Tradition’s last night of service was Saturday, August 18. “Tradition is one of [Futurebars] favorite spots, but a rebrand was inevitable. Being so close to Bourbon and Branch, it never got its due,” says Parks. “We think this concept will bring a whole new element of intrigue to the neighborhood.”