Though “secret” tiki bar Pacific Seas opened in 2016 on the top floor of Clifton’s downtown, it’s based on one of the original LA Tiki establishments. The first Clifton’s restaurant opened on Olive Street in 1932, and after Don the Beachcomber became popular, was turned into a tropical oasis called the Pacific Seas in 1939, where you could eat while surrounded by 12 waterfalls, hourly lei-ings, live organ music, and neon palm trees. Though it closed in 1960, Clifton’s past Tiki glory lives on in the new Pacific Seas; the place is covered in hand-carved tikis, carefully selected artwork, and there’s even a full-sized speedboat right in the middle of the place. The atmosphere and history are worth the trip to Pacific Seas alone, but the drinks are pretty good, too. Try the Pacific Seas Daiquiri: Based on the original Cuban recipe of rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur, it’s a far cry from the frozen concoction that graces the happy hour menu at chain restaurants.
LA’s newest Tiki bar, Lono, opened in Hollywood in 2017, offering classics like the Mai Tai and Grass Skirt, exciting new twists on Tiki drinks, and a menu full of delicious food (think jackfruit sliders and steak rubbed with Kona coffee). The decor is more Hawaiian-tropical than Tiki, which still makes for a wonderful escape from the tourists at the Walk of Fame outside. Try their mysterious Curse of Lono (they won’t reveal their ingredients), or for a truly modern Tiki drink, get the Ring of Fire made with mezcal, aged cachaca, and togarashi spice. It’s all served at this hotspot on Hollywood Boulevard -- only streets away from the location of the original Don the Beachcomber.