The legendary San Francisco Tiki Bob’s opened in 1955 when Trader Vic’s bar manager “Sneaky” Bob Bryant left his job and opened up his own place just down the street from his former employer. Decorated with tiki statues, bamboo, velvet paintings and netting, Bob set out to give his guests an authentic exotic and Polynesian experience. But perhaps what Tiki Bob’s is best known for is their iconic happy faced Tiki Bob mug, which some credit as the first tiki mug. Created by Alec Yuill-Thornton, and according to Sven Kirsten, author of Tiki Pop: America imagines its own Polynesian Paradise, the iconic mug looks “part George Jetson, part modern primitive.” The mug has a huge cult following, and many tiki mug artists and amateur artists use his iconic face in their designs.
Bryant left Tiki Bob’s in 1962 to work in Hawaii, and the bar closed in the late 70s, but a Tiki Bob support structure stands strong at the corner of Post and Taylor.