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Tiki Bar Recommendations in LA/OC?

AquaW Sep 15, 2006 07:41 AM

Ok, we all know Trader Vic's went down the cahoots (mostly food, but even drinks taste sub-par compared to what it used to be--) so wondering if there are any places to go from you guys about great tasting tiki drinks (and good bar food to boot) ANYWHERE in the LA & OC Counties.

Much thanks!

  1. chica Sep 15, 2006 07:59 AM

    Bahooka's is a popular place: http://www.geocities.com/bahookaresta...

    1 Reply
    1. re: chica
      wilafur Sep 15, 2006 06:09 PM

      i found bahooka's to be dark and depressing, just didn't have the fun/happy vibe of trader vic's.

    2. w
      Wes Sep 15, 2006 08:36 AM

      Damon's in Glendale

      1. therealbigtasty Sep 15, 2006 10:53 AM

        No food, but there's the classic Tiki Ti in Silverlake.

        It's a bar so intense I've never been there. Apparently it's one of the best bars in the country, this I've heard from people who go there.

        Usually I'm working so I can't make it.

        6 Replies
        1. re: therealbigtasty
          glutton Sep 15, 2006 03:02 PM

          The Tiki Ti is one of the top tiki bars in the country (for those of us who love kitsch and actually track these things). It's tiny, so get there early to get in. And the drinks are strong, which is a wonderful, glorious thing...

          1. re: glutton
            revets2 Sep 15, 2006 04:03 PM

            3rd the tiki ti. it's an institution. don't let the facade scare you.

            1. re: revets2
              JudiAU Sep 17, 2006 12:15 AM

              Toro toro!

              I am very fond of the Tiki Ti. It seems to keep more regular hours than it did in the past.

              1. re: JudiAU
                mattesq Sep 19, 2006 08:40 PM

                5th the Tiki Ti. A total blast and for those that smoke, you can smoke inside the bar because it is owner operated and therefore exempt from the smoking ban.

                1. re: mattesq
                  therealbigtasty Sep 20, 2006 09:06 PM

                  Why do you TEASE me so???

                  I work in a restaurant and my schedule just happens to fall on the days they're open. I would trade a shift to go, but I can't right now!!!


                  1. re: therealbigtasty
                    rednyellow Jan 9, 2008 03:34 PM

                    6th it! There is the Tiki Ti, and then there is everything else.

        2. j
          JBC Sep 15, 2006 05:55 PM

          In addition to the 3 mentioned above:
          Bahooka Ribs & Grog - Rosemead

          Damon's Steakhouse - Glendale

          Tiki-Ti - Silverlake (which may be closed tonight & tomorrow

          Others less well Known, Newer, & worth the Effort?
          The Tonga Hut - Old and a Dive Bar
          12808 Victory Blvd., No. Hollywood
          (818) 769-0708

          Honolulu Harry's - Chino - Too new & Corporate too be Cool?

          The Puka Bar - Long Beach - Very New with no website menu(s

          Recently Lost
          Sam's Seafood Restaurant - Seal Beach

          2 Replies
          1. re: JBC
            Philly Sep 15, 2006 07:23 PM

            Correct; Sam's Seafood, in Sunset Beach not Seal Beach, closed in June. Food was mediocre but the bar was good.

            1. re: Philly
              I got nothin Jan 9, 2008 03:33 PM

              Sam's Seafood reopened a few months ago under new management


          2. Xericx Sep 15, 2006 06:29 PM

            MaKai in Santa Monica

            1. Johnny Pastrami Sep 15, 2006 06:34 PM

              Tiki Ti (Sunset/Hillhurst) is one of the best bars in the city, although the drink prices keep going up and up... They often close for a month at a time to go fishing, so call to make sure they're open. Can't beat a Ray's Mistake.

              Lava Lounge is a good choice (La Brea north of Sunset) Dark and moody. Can get crowded with the weekend warriors. Beware of cover charge and loud bands.

              Richard at Good Luck (Hillhurst/Hollywood -- right around the corner from Tiki Ti) makes a mean Zombie. The rest of the staff is too lazy to blend it, so you have to ask.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Johnny Pastrami
                Jerome Sep 29, 2006 08:38 PM

                Ray's mistake is quite good at the Tiki Ti. I also like the Tiki Kangaroo.

                1. re: Johnny Pastrami
                  rednyellow Jan 9, 2008 03:34 PM

                  isn't the lava lounge gone?

                  1. re: rednyellow
                    Chowpatty Jan 9, 2008 04:31 PM

                    Yes, it's been redecorated into another concept. But it wasn't gone when the post was written in 2006.

                2. Chowpatty Sep 15, 2006 06:44 PM

                  There's also quite a nice list on this website:

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Chowpatty
                    1000steps Sep 15, 2006 07:36 PM

                    Royal Hawaiian in Laguna Beach.

                    1. re: 1000steps
                      Chris O Sep 18, 2006 03:37 PM

                      I think the Royal Hawaiian closed about the same time as Sam's Seafood.

                      If you want drinks AND food, Bahooka is probably the best bet. I don't find it depressing at all--the dark, cozy atmosphere is properly transporting, and the crab puffs are perfect drinking food. As an added bonus, they actually make very good homemade vegatable soup.

                      The Tiki Ti is great, but so crowded and small. If such a place makes you claustrophobic, The Tonga Hut in NoHo is a nice substitute. There's also The Lucky Tiki in Mission Hills, but I haven't tried that one yet. And there's a new place in WeHo called The Voodoo Room.

                      As for Damon's, that's gotta be the cheapest steak dinner in town, right?

                      1. re: Chris O
                        glutton Sep 19, 2006 04:04 PM

                        The Tonga Hut is not bad, but it's a pretty poor substitute for the Tiki Ti. When I went to the Tonga Hut last time, the bartender did not know how to make a mai tai or any of the other kitschy tropical drinks. (Don't worry, we found something else to drink quite easily.) I like the Tonga Hut, but more because it is a dive with a good jukebox, not because it is a great tiki bar.

                        1. re: glutton
                          Chris O Sep 20, 2006 11:48 PM

                          How long ago was that? They've changed hands a few times in recent years. I had a pretty good mai tai when I was there.

                          1. re: Chris O
                            glutton Sep 21, 2006 04:33 AM

                            That was about 12-18 months ago.

                          2. re: glutton
                            therealbigtasty Sep 29, 2006 09:47 AM

                            What???????? Not knowing how to make a Mai Tai?????

                            Why is it that bar staff these days don't feel obligated to know drinks regardless of their preferences?

                            I've got very little real bar experience (I've only been bartending for five years) and I know how to make a Mai Tai!!!

                            Or one of the many recipes for one.

                            Was the bartender a hot chick or a grizzled old man?

                    2. b
                      bobbyperu Sep 15, 2006 07:43 PM

                      The Tonga Hut (12808 Victory Blvd, N. Hollywood) is a nice little find too - it hasn't been too crowded when I've been there, good ambiance, and they mix their drinks just right. No one has answered the second part of his question, which I'd like to know too - is there a place that in addition to drinks, has some good polynesian bar food? I want a pu-pu platter, rumaki, bali-miki!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bobbyperu
                        JBC Sep 15, 2006 09:50 PM

                        Probably not, but another option might be the Twin Dragon in W.L.A.

                        1) Old - 43 years - Chinese not Tiki
                        2) Drinks - call & ask?
                        3) Rumaki - Yes
                        4) Pu-pus - they have 18 apps w/ assortment platter
                        5) Bali-Miki - Don't know what that is?


                        1. re: JBC
                          purplescout Jan 24, 2008 02:46 PM

                          Wow - I remember going to the Twin Dragon as a kid with my Grandpa Martin. He died in 1971, so that was a LONG time ago. I clearly remember eating shrimp with lobster sauce. For ages, the Twin Dragon and Song Hee were the only Chinese restaurants around our side of town. Sweet memories.

                      2. c
                        CulverJack Sep 15, 2006 09:58 PM

                        The Tiki Ti as a bunch of the others have already pointed out is really a fantastic little shack. It's an outpost of rum based fantasies, and perhaps tragedies, too, if you drink too much. I don't believe there is food, but after a couple of Ray's Mistakes, you won't want for very much of this earth at all.

                        1. j
                          jessiebelle Sep 16, 2006 01:18 AM

                          the tiki ti is the greatest!!!! damon's isn't as cute as it used to be though. the bahooka rules, there are many flaming punch bowls there! love it! the tee hee (?) in atwater village looks cute from the outside too.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jessiebelle
                            Wes Sep 16, 2006 06:51 PM

                            How can Damon's not be as cute as it used to be? It hasn't changed in over 20 years. Still the same escape from the standard restaurant look as ever.

                          2. j
                            jessiebelle Sep 16, 2006 11:47 PM

                            don't get me wrong, i love Damon's but they changed all the old school menu's and cocktail napkins and little things like that that used to feature monkeys and cute little tiki kitsch things. AND, they took down all the amazing monkey's they had hanging everywhere AND took out some of the cool aquariums. regardless, it is still pretty cool and i do love it there.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jessiebelle
                              Wes Sep 18, 2006 01:12 AM

                              Golly, I never noticed those spiffy things. Oh well, you know that we guys can't find socks in the drawer either.

                              I really like the tiki look that is left over.


                              1. re: jessiebelle
                                Will Owen Jan 24, 2008 09:00 AM

                                Hate to hear that - but we've been invited to a friend's birthday dinner next month in Damon's Tiki Room, so I will take careful notes and maybe a picture or two.

                              2. c
                                Cinnamon Sep 17, 2006 11:13 PM

                                I can dis-recommend The Purple Orchid in El Segundo. Drinks were not good. Decor was.

                                1. annalulu Sep 17, 2006 11:27 PM

                                  It's actually Club Tee Gee (weird font in the neon) It's not tiki, it has sparkles in the cottage cheese ceiling, though. Decent vinyl booths. It's really small and a locals dive. I like it, but that's mostly because it's stumbling distance to my house.

                                  1. j
                                    jessiebelle Sep 18, 2006 09:22 PM

                                    oh! ok, thanks. the front has always looked so darn cute. thanks for the lowdown... big foot lodge is not tiki either but it sure is cute too...

                                    1. jillita Sep 18, 2006 10:44 PM

                                      FYI: There's a fabulous article on the best tiki bars in the states in the current American Heritage magazine. Tiki Ti is mentioned, as is Trader Vic's in Emeryville, CA, which packs 72 years of artifacts within its walls.

                                      Long live Tiki!

                                      1. Pate Sep 19, 2006 06:22 PM

                                        I just drove by the Royal Hawaiian on Sunday and there was a large banner accross the front saying "Open during remodeling". It was quite a mess too, don't know that's I'd go until they get it a bit more together. Never had been to the Royal Hawaiin but it looked pretty decrepit from the outside.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Pate
                                          Camano Mermaid Jan 9, 2008 10:35 AM

                                          I just ate at the Royal Hawaiian this past March 07. It's still a dirty mess. Only partially open. There was only 1 server but not too busy. Same menu but shockinly high price for what you get. Tasted just like it always did. Dressing was kinda watery, but I make my own now. Recipe was in OC Register Ask Your Neighbor section. Drinks were also pricey but strong. Hope they get their act together. Remember Victor Hugo's next door. Yum!

                                        2. a
                                          Andrewward630 Jan 23, 2008 11:27 PM

                                          I stand by all the people who reccomend the Tiki Ti. It's a tiny little place, but has a great atmosphere and even better drinks. I would also recommend Bahooka in Rosemead and the Puka Bar in Long Beach. Another place that used to be a total dive but is getting better is the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Andrewward630
                                            Hershey Bomar Jan 24, 2008 08:54 AM

                                            I took some shots inside Tiki Ti a while back:


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