Food & Drink

Every Tiki Bar in LA

Published On 08/05/2015 Published On 08/05/2015
Anne Fishbein/Courtesy of Damon's (edited)

The only thing better than a Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki room? A Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki... bar! So here's every single one of those that exists in LA.

Flickr/Sam Howzit

Tonga Hut

North Hollywood
Opened in 1958, this North Hollywood bar is the oldest operating Tiki bar in Los Angeles, and is still decorated with its original Polynesian fountains. Pro tip: if Syd’s working, release the Kraken the Dole Whip -- its signature pineapple drink.

Flickr/Leslie Kalohi

Tiki-Ti

Silver Lake
Fans of this ultra-tiny, crazy-lauded, family-owned Silver Lake spot justifiably freaked out when they thought that it was closing earlier this year, but thankfully it wasn't: it's still serving up its signature rum-laden Ray’s Mistake, as well as a mess of other super-strong drinks in its kitsch-filled digs.

Flickr/Sam Howzit

Purple Orchid

El Segundo
Got an hour-plus layover at LAX? Hit this hidden-away gem, which boasts all the Tiki standbys (on-fire Volcano Bowl!) as well as surf-rock shows by local favorites like the Insect Surfers.
 

Thomway Hale Hawaii Lounge

Torrance
This hidden Tiki dive from an actual Hawaiian in a strip mall in Torrance is so rarely open that if you're lucky enough to catch it on an open day, you may want to buy a lottery ticket. Once you’re in, though, you’re gonna want to get a for-two-people Scorpion Bowl -- it’s one of the best Tiki drinks in the city.

Flickr/Chris

Don The Beachcomber

Huntington Beach
The first Don The Beachcomber, located in Hollywood, was the original Los Angeles Tiki bar and the one that begat that mid-century Tiki revolution. It closed in 1985 and what's left of that legacy is this Huntington Beach location, which opened in 2005. It serves all of the original drinks (some of which are served in take-home mugs) and every month hosts the International Tiki Market Place (essentially, a Tiki swap meet).

Anne Fishbein/Courtesy of Damon's

Damon's Steak House

Glendale
Opened in Glendale in 1937, before moving to Brand Blvd in 1980, this classic steakhouse has fantastic Polynesian decor and a stand-alone bar that you can drink at without eating. Mondays are "Mai Tai Mondays" but if you go for one drink, try its trademark Chi Chi.

Tiki No

Tiki No

North Hollywood
The five-year-old Tiki No is bedecked with vintage TVs playing Gilligan’s Island, which would be kitschy in a bad way if -- like most Tiki culture -- it weren’t kitschy in a good way. Also? It's got a great drink called the Raging Bull -- a rare Tiki drink made with Scotch rather than rum.

Flickr/Chris

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar

Anaheim
Okay, it’s not officially in LA, but look: at some point, you’re going to go to Disneyland, and you’re gonna want to end up at this bar, which was designed by Disney Imagineering, which means when you order certain drinks, animatronics start singing or the bartenders simulate rain. Seriously.

Flickr/Bruce Evans

Old Tony's On The Pier

Redondo Beach
Old Tony’s tows the line between nautical theme and Tiki theme, but you won’t care while you’re sipping a Mai Tai on its upstairs deck at sunset. Promise.
 

Kahuna Tiki

North Hollywood
Another recently opened North Hollywood spot, this barstaurant boasts 15% off specials for locals on Thursday, a massive patio, and... a cave? Yup, a cave.

Caña Rum Bar

Caña Rum Bar

Downtown
Less themed than the rest of the bars on this list, this sorta-private club (you gotta pay $20 for a membership... which lasts a year... and is often waived) makes the grade for its upscale, fresh-ingredient takes on some of the original Tiki recipes.
 

Luau Larry's

Avalon
If you go to Catalina and don’t get your Wiki Wacked at Luau Larry's, you're doing it very, very wrong.

Courtesy of The Beverly Hilton

Trader Vic’s Lounge

Beverly Hills
Alright, this poolside lounge may be a shell of its former self, but, hey, we’re promising you every Tiki bar in LA, and that means we couldn’t leave it off. Speaking of which: isn’t there an island’s nearby, too?

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Sean Johnson will always enjoy places where "all the birds sing words, and the flowers croon." Find him on Twitter and Instagram.

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1. Tonga Hut 12808 Victory Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91606 (Hollywood)

It's hard to think of tiki bars as a bygone fad when North Hollywood's Tonga Hut has been turning up the tiki since 1958. We're not talking just a plastic umbrella in your fruity drink or a few totem glasses (though you will see both): the cocktail bar looks like something between a retro knick-knack-littered living room and an Easter Island shipwreck. Just because the cocktails are kitsch doesn't mean they're an after-thought: the Hawaiian Eye mixes two rums with passion fruit puree, while the Coconaut Re-Entry is ignited with fire. This is the kind of corny that attracts patrons both young and old.

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2. Tiki-Ti 4427 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

Tiki-Ti is a great dive/cocktail bar doling out island-inspired libations and eats.

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3. Purple Orchid 221 Richmond St, El Segundo, CA 90245

The multi-bottle strong tropical pours, loads of salty locals, and attitude all just chant "dive bar" (ooga booga). The inexplicable Barbie dolls in the mouths of Tiki masks only add to the charm.

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4. Thomway Hale Hawaii Lounge 3144 Pacific Coast Hwy, Torrance, CA 90505 (Long Beach)

This Tiki bar is a total dive and hardly ever open - BUT it's from an actual Hawaiian and if you happen to be able to get in you're going to need to order a for-two-people Scorpion Bowl -- it’s one of the best Tiki drinks in the city.

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5. Don Beachcomber 16278 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt is often cited as the founding father of tiki. In fact, his original Don the Beachcomber bar in Hollywood became so successful that he legally changed his name to Donn Beach.

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6. Damon's 317 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203 (Glendale)

This classic steakhouse has fantastic Polynesian decor and a stand-alone bar-- and Mondays are "Mai Tai Mondays" (because, duh), so make sure to order their trademark Chi Chi cocktail.

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7. Tiki No 4657 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602 (Hollywood)

This North Hollywood spot certainly has the tiki theme down, with colorful (and tasty) cocktails, bamboo & straw decorations, and a friendly and festive atmosphere with live music.

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8. Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar 1150 W Magic Way, Anaheim, CA 92802

Thunder and mist fall from the ceiling. A nearby volcano spews magma into the bay outside the window. Though it's a Disneyland resort bar, Trader Sams is fully enchanted and full of island creations. Don’t freak out when the animatronic seats move!

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9. Old Tony's on the Pier 210 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277 (Redondo Beach)

Old Tony’s tows the line between nautical theme and Tiki theme, and there's nothing quite like sipping a Mai Tai on its upstairs deck at sunset. Promise.

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10. Kahuna Tiki 11026 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601 (Hollywood)

This Polynesian dinner spot offers Hawaiian eats, sushi, a huge patio, and a cave. Yes, a cave. Come by for fresh fish, Tiki drinks and some Aloha vibes.

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11. Caña Rum Bar at the Doheny 714 W Olympic, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

Formerly an ultra-exclusive, members-only mixology center, the Doheny's been transformed into an egalitarian rum bar, with a $20 annual membership fee, a re-designed, more-colorfully decorated white & blue interior w/ antique bird cages as lighting fixtures.

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12. Luau Larry's 509 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704

This Catalina Island institution since they've been offering terrific drinks and a menu loaded with tasty favorites like their burgers, seafood, and island specialties.

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13. Trader Vic's 714 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015 (Downtown)

The new, patioed Downtown outpost's a near-replica of the sadly-shuttered Beverly Hills original, with a party-friendly tiki interior rocking carved-wood doors and tribal fabrics from Tonga. Drinks follow the theme with Mai Tais, which were supposedly invented at Trader Vic's.

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