San Francisco bar Trad’r Sam whips up icy drinks in tiki setting 

click to enlarge Trad’r Sam bartender Fred Sor keeps chilly drinks in patrons’ hands and equally cool Hong Kong action movies on the flat-screen TVs at the bar, especially during Asian Movie Night every Monday. - ANNA LATINO/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Anna Latino/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Trad’r Sam bartender Fred Sor keeps chilly drinks in patrons’ hands and equally cool Hong Kong action movies on the flat-screen TVs at the bar, especially during Asian Movie Night every Monday.

Get cozy in one of the ornate rattan booths, and you might feel like you have journeyed back to a 1930s-era tiki lounge. And while the “Star Wars”-themed pinball machine and flat-screen TVs showing sports and Hong Kong action films serve as reminders of the modern era, one look at the tropical drink menu’s prices will convince you that it’s 1995 — the potent Scorpion Bowl, for instance, serves four and costs just $14. And most of the delightful ice cream and liqueur drinks are just $6.50. Trad’r Sam has been a fixture in the Outer Richmond district since Sam Baden opened it in 1937. Dorothy Riedel and her brother, John Munguia, have been in charge since their parents bought the bar from its second owner in 1978. Bartender Fred Sor came onboard 13 years ago. Fred got his start at a sports bar in San Mateo. Because Trad’r Sam is popular with college students, Sor is politely aggressive about checking IDs. And his passion for Asian cinema led him to declare that every Monday at the bar is officially Asian Movie Night.

Trad’r Sam, 6150 Geary Blvd., (415) 221-0773, no website

Blender drinks are so much work that some bartenders will just lie and claim the blender’s broken. Do you ever feel tempted to do that?

No, I’m totally used to making blender drinks, and I wouldn’t have the option anyway because we have six blenders.
How much ice cream do you go through in a night? It’s hard to say. It’s either all or nothing. If somebody orders an ice cream drink, then everybody who sees it wants one. If it’s a cold night, on the other hand, then nobody orders them.

Back in the 1990s, Trad’r Sam’s seemed to draw a young crowd. Is that still the case?

 We get a decent mix, but I do notice a lot of younger people, a lot of kids from USF and S.F. State.

Do you get any “crusty, old salt”-type characters?

Well we usually open by noon, so yeah, some of those.

Which Asian movies are you particularly excited about?

I’m a huge Stephen Chow fan. He’s known for doing kung fu comedies with lots of slapstick humor, films like “Kung Fu Hustle” and “Shaolin Soccer.” When I bring his movies in, they really draw people’s attention.

What does that tattoo on your forearm mean?

It’s me and my brother’s names, but if you put them together it kind of means “victory.”

 

Chocolate Banana

  • 1 oz. rum
  • ½ oz. banana liqueur
  • ½ oz. creme de cacao
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • ½ banana
  • Half and half (eyeball the amount)

Blend with ice. Line inside of sundae-style glass with chocolate syrup before adding blender contents. Top with whipped cream.

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