The Tonga Room may be “so San Francisco” in its storied past and present-day kitsch, but Martin Cate’s Smuggler’s takes the title for one of the very best bars in town, Tiki-themed or not. In addition to its badass, Pirates of the Caribbean-esque decor, this is a hardcore, seriously serious rum bar -- Smuggler’s is where you come to sample the types of badass, navy-strength grog that your sailor great-grandfather used to drink. Expect delicious, thoughtfully executed cocktails -- far cries from a lot of too-sweet, fluorescent-colored Tiki drinks (not that those don’t hold a hard-and-fast place in our hearts) -- that also happen to be really freaking strong. You will probably have a hangover after a night out at Smuggler’s, but one that will be 1,000% worth having.
North San Jose
Obviously we love Tiki bars that are hidden in the back of things, so get this: Bamboo Lounge is a Tiki bar that’s hidden in the Island Grill... which is hidden in a nondescript hotel! Uh huh. In addition to this awesomeness, they’ve got open mic nights and karaoke. And booze, which you’ll need to participate in either of these things.