Travel agent appeals for help to save historic London venue

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Travel agent appeals for help to save historic London venue

Travel agent Annika Nickson has joined TV personalities to try to save an iconic cocktail bar and restaurant, which has been in the basement of the Hilton Hotel on London’s Park Lane since 1963.

The campaigners have already amassed more than 7,000 signatures on a petition calling for Hilton not to close the Polynesian-themed Trader Vic’s tiki bar on New Year’s Eve, just before its 60th anniversary.

They are just a few hundred signatures of their target of 7,500, which they think will make it more likely to get a reaction for the ‘decision makers’.

The London venue is the oldest operating Trader Vic’s in the world, but its historic interior is set to be ripped out as part of Hilton’s renovation plans.

Annika Nickson (pictured, right) a Not Just Travel homeworker, is helping with campaign, which has also attracted support from Estelle Bilson, a presenter on BBC1’s The Bidding Room, and Sugg Ryan, (pictured, left) who presented BBC2’s A House Through Time.

“I have been a regular for many years, but I also used to work for English Heritage and so recognised the huge historic significance of the place,” said Annika, adding that she is devoting all of her spare time to the campaign.

“This restaurant invented the concept of ‘open kitchen’ 40 years before it was cool in London, people used to sit and watch the cooking in the Chinese ovens behind glass screens as part of the theatre of the place.”

Founded by Californian entrepreneur Victor J Bergeron, who invented the Mai Tai, Trader Vic’s still has a pair of Chinese wood fired ovens and original decorations including intricate wood carvings, Chinese jade tiles, Japanese and Korean glass floats and South Pacific fish traps.

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