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Circa 55 Restaurant shares a bar with the adjacent Trader Vic’s Lounge, so you get all the benefits of the tiki-themed restaurant plus the option to sit inside Circa 55’s retro dining room or outside under the illuminated palm trees by the pool.
The bar area has 12 dark bamboo stools and five butterscotch-colored leather circular booths, plus six cocktail tables, so you can definitely get comfy and settle in for a nice long stay. The alfresco lounge area next to the pool features chocolate-brown wicker furniture, tan couches and heat lamps. A DJ spins outside on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, so you can kick back and relax to some hip-hop tunes amid the palm trees and twinkling lights.
The tiki bar specializes in fruity tropical concoctions, such as Trader Vic’s famous mai tais — the chain claims to have invented the rum-fueled beverage — or the signature lime-green Chai’s Beverly Starburst made with fresh juices, rum, orange liqueur and mint. There’s also a decent-size wine list with reds, whites and bubblies served by the stem and the bottle. The list concentrates mostly on California selections, such as a Syrah from Paso Robles or a bottle from the Viader winery in Napa Valley, though it does feature a number of international wines as well, including an albariño from Spain and a cabernet sauvignon from Australia’s Barossa Valley.
If you get hungry, order an appetizer to eat at the bar — try crispy calamari with wasabi mayonnaise, BBQ pork spareribs (our personal favorite) or steamed lobster dumplings with a roasted sesame and seven-spice chili sauce.
Circa 55 flows seamlessly into Trader Vic’s Lounge, a poolside tiki lounge serving Polynesian-inspired drinks and appetizers.