“The Tropics” Rodeo Drive – Beverly Hills, CA


I would almost say this isn’t quite a tiki bar, but just tropical, but there are all of Don the Beachcomber’s recipes on the menu, so it must be part of the “family”. This site says it opened on November 27th 1935.


This is a pretty impressive menu. More of an advertizing mailer really. Sugie really seemed to have a way with the celebrities. Beachbum Berry talks a little about this place in his discussion of Ray Buhen, the famed bartender of the Tiki Ti. Ray worked at the Tropics and probably brought those recipes with him.

I was surprised to find nothing on Tiki Central about the place. Tiki Road Trip says that it later became The Luau, Steven Crane’s first tiki bar.

The menu is impressive when fully folded out. It has “quotes” from various celebrities about the drinks, including: Bob Hope, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Mickey Rooney, Lucille Ball and Bette Davis, among others. 

Apparently many people blatantly ripped off Sugie’s Tropics. There are at least three places who use his images and phrases, in Denver, Dayton and Hollywood.

match inside 

match front

3D breasts on this matchbook too, a Sugie “signature” idea.



Also has raised boobs on the match cover



Dayton Ohio Tropics


13 Replies to ““The Tropics” Rodeo Drive – Beverly Hills, CA”

  1. I don’t see how the matchbook fits, other than a coincidental name similarity. Morrison Road in Denver is pretty far from BH. It’s close to where I grew up. I don’t remember a place like that, though, so it must have closed before ’70 or so.

  2. I added all the “Tropics” matchbooks I could find. They all feature (Hah! A matchbook collector pun! Priceless!) 3D boobs on them. It looks like the Hollywood location is nearly as old as Sugie’s place.

  3. Man! I wish we had the recipes for all of those cocktails (I think that everytime I see a new menu, of course). I could really use a Lana Turner’s “Untamed” right now…

  4. I saw ur posting here of Surgies The Tropics
    in Beverly Hills I wondered if u have come
    across a Surgies The Tropics good luck charm’s?
    If not I have one…..so if u’d like to see it
    just let me no n I’ll send u pics so u can
    post them here. I just wish I knew
    if anyone else has them out there?

  5. My Dad’s sister (Eva) was married to one of the Sugarman’s (Harry’s brother) and during WWII she showed him the place. Dad was sure impressed. Saw John Wayne and met Susan Hayword there. Eva died in the early 60’s and for some reason Dad ended up with one of the monkey shaped table lamps from the place. Someone out there sent it to him I guess. My sister has it now, Along with a menu much like the one listed. Dad always said it was quite a place. I guess he was right.

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