It was, for groovy old-timers still recovering from their Mai Tai Boat fog, a big deal when the announcement was made in June 2005: After years in mothballs, Trader Vic's would be reopening as part of the Hotel Palomar, which still counts it among its two dining options on the Web site. But, once more, it's no more.
In January, word was it was shut down due to renovations. Then, no, scratch that: "two burst pipes." Then, nothing. For the last few weeks, its Facebook friends have been mourning the quiet demise of the kitschy institution. Its phones are dead; so too its Web site. And it's no longer listed on the corporate Web site. Matter of fact, three of its formers employees -- including bartender Ricardo Prestugi -- are now at Screen Door.
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As for rumors that it's being rebranded, those aren't true either: Transwestern started sending out word this week that it's leasing Trader Vic's as a 7,000-square foot retail space. So, let's all pour out a rum beverage for a fallen idol.