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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki New Luau in Beverly Hills?
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New Luau in Beverly Hills?
jpmartdog
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2005
Posts: 650
From: Amesbury, Mass
Posted: 2008-10-25 4:19 pm   Permalink

c'mon you guys post some pics!!!!!!! or maybe... take some pics!

 
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gonegoannas
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 28, 2008
Posts: 53
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2008-10-25 7:17 pm   Permalink

Megan and I went last night to the opening. While it may not be "Tiki Ti Tiki" it definitely has a very nice, dare I say, classy tiki vibe. Exotica playing, decent cocktails, great food, and a beautiful interior. Bamboo Ben did a fantastic job! There were a few celebrities at the opening but none more important the our own Tobunga. We will definitely be going back for more.

Jeff






 
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tobunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 12, 2008
Posts: 1037
Posted: 2008-10-26 5:13 pm   Permalink

I dunno about being a celebrity, but Manuel and I went to the Luau on opening night. I brought my camera and took some pix.

I have to say, my first impression on walking in was "Wow!" A bamboo and thatch covered reception area/bar, blowfish lamps, framed tiki art, and Martin Denny playing over the sound system greeted us.(This is the first time I've actually heard exotica playing in any sort of tiki establishment that I didn't have to program into a juke box).



We were seated and immediately began gawking at the decor.
The dining room is not very large, giving it an intimate feel. I spotted Tiki-Ray's tiki, and also noted that there were Moai lamps draped with palm fronds.







Directly over our heads, and visible from the entire room, was Bamboo Ben's blowfish extravaganza...


There was also a few pieces of Oceanic art on the walls, including a large, framed tapa cloth.






We were excited to peruse the drink list, knowing of the origins of some of them. For the opening night, the Luau was serving complementary drinks: the Bo-Lo (served in a hollowed-out pineapple) and the Bahia (served in a whole shelled coconut). We tried both, as well as the Mai-Tai and the Pearl Diver. The Mai-Tai and the Pearl Diver were both very strong, and not on the sweet side. The rum had an aged-in-wood edge. They were easily the most expensive drinks I've ever had! ($14-$18)

I won't bore you with the details of getting vegetarian items from the menu, and I didn't note the prices on the meaty-meat dishes, other than that they were not cheap, sorry to not be of much help there.

The restrooms were up a flight of bamboo lined stairs. At the top was a small insanely-bamboo covered room: walls, doors, and ceiling. It was very cool!



We didn't spend much time in the bar, but I snapped a pic of the tiki painting and the lamps. I've heard them described as Turkish, but the seemed to be covered in a tapa cloth like material. Is this Tapa? In the environment, the seemed tapa to me, and I didn't think they weren't, but the references to the Turkish lamps makes me wonder.



So is it tiki enough? I saw at least 10 examples of Polynesian or Oceanic-inspired pieces in the dining room, most of them without having to move from my seat. And I've never seen more blowfish in one location! Besides the centerpiece in the dining room (containing 37 or 38 fish), there were three over the host station, and (I think) three over the bar. And Bamboo Ben's incredible work! The walls and ceiling were covered in bamboo. There were two support beams that were made to look like lashed together bamboo poles, tied up with rope.

Oh, and the music! Martin Denny playing almost the entire time we were there! That went a long way in setting the mood. As we sipped our Mai-Tais, "Quiet Village" wafted through the air, and it was great!

I know there is some concern about the Buddha imagery. It seems to be concentrated in two areas though: the back-lit cubicles and the big hands at the bar. I honestly didn't even notice the bar hands (but then, I was not in the bar very long). At one point, Denny's "The Left Arm of Buddha" (currently my obsessive favorite piece of his) played, and I couldn't help glancing over at the Buddha cubicle and picking out which were left hands.

The over all impression is a very nice, up-scale restaurant. A definite tiki bend, if not totally tiki. Certainly not at the level of the original Luau, as evidenced in the pix posted here by Sven, but still tiki, at least to me.

A few things though, make me not all together ceartain it wants to be tiki. From the LA times article:

"When asked why he decided to open a tiki bar in Beverly Hills' pricey Golden Triangle, the first thing [owner Andrew Hewitt] does is disavow the "T" word. "It's not tiki," he says emphatically. "I call it Polynesian panache."

And possibly more telling: As we were having dinner, a woman approched us and mentioned that our tiki shirts seemed appropriate atttire. She introduced herself as the designer, and asked us what we thought of the restaurant when we said we were into tiki. We said we we liked it, and she said that was good, considering she'd never been in a tiki establishment before, other than the original Luau (which must have been in her childhood). She seemed almost proud of her lack of tiki experience.

Oh, also, the logo on the business card and etched onto the glasses is the Buddha hand. Again, not tiki at all.

So anyway, that was our Luau encounter...




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[ This Message was edited by: tobunga 2008-10-26 18:05 ]


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Coco Joe
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 27, 2008
Posts: 721
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2008-10-26 5:21 pm   Permalink

thanks for a great post. Sorry for my half arse review

Let's all tie up Sven and get him there. There's a lot things that are hard to swallow but overall it's well worth checking out


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-10-26 5:49 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the exhaustive report. No need for bondage, I will go some day, incognito, and I sure hope they'll be playin' my song (Denny) then! Cause as I said before, nothing better than Exotica music to provide the glue to cement all the various elements of a Polynesian pop environment together into a whole. And the more of these elements surface (Tapa, PNG carvings, Moai lamps), the better I feel about the place. Let's just say then that maybe it is not only a homage to Steve Crane's Luau, but also to his exotic Ports of Call restaurants (even if not on purpose). Now, for the lava rock waterfalls and tropical foliage....

 
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RevBambooBen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7440
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2008-10-26 9:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-10-26 17:49, bigbrotiki wrote:
Thanks for the exhaustive report. No need for bondage, I will go some day, incognito, and I sure hope they'll be playin' my song (Denny) then! Cause as I said before, nothing better than Exotica music to provide the glue to cement all the various elements of a Polynesian pop environment together into a whole. And the more of these elements surface (Tapa, PNG carvings, Moai lamps), the better I feel about the place. Let's just say then that maybe it is not only a homage to Steve Crane's Luau, but also to his exotic Ports of Call restaurants (even if not on purpose). Now, for the lava rock waterfalls and tropical foliage....



Yo Sven,

I think it's time "you build you own dream bar".

It's 2009 and times have " CHANGED."

Stop complaining about all the " new" ones and,

go with the flow!!!

" ANY TIKI IS BETTER THAN NO TIKI!!!!!!!!!"

Think about it.



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Custom Tropical Decor
I build stuff for you!
Google search me and see!

[ This Message was edited by: RevBambooBen 2008-10-26 21:19 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-10-26 9:31 pm   Permalink

It is all about ones point of view, Ben. I would say because of your involvement, yours naturally is subjective. Nothing wrong with that. Another perspective is exemplified in how a friend of mine, a respected Tiki artist, puts it:

"What they are doing is slowly chopping down an ancient forest that we love and telling us they are actually saving it."

Happens in all walks of live, such is "progress".


 
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spy-tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 11, 2003
Posts: 731
From: glendale, ca
Posted: 2008-10-26 9:34 pm   Permalink

I'm wondering if I have any clothes with pockets big enough for one of those lamps! Hey, do they have their own swizzles?
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Coco Joe
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 27, 2008
Posts: 721
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2008-10-26 9:35 pm   Permalink

I suggest everyone vote no on prop 8 so Sven and Ben get together and have a love child/bar.

They could combine their names and it could be called trader ben's or even trader sven's.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-10-26 9:43 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-10-26 21:34, spy-tiki wrote:
I'm wondering if I have any clothes with pockets big enough for one of those lamps! Hey, do they have their own swizzles?



You can gettem at Oceanic Arts. And do you think they know about swizzles? That's collector nerd knowledge.


 
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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2569
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2008-10-26 10:04 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-10-26 21:34, spy-tiki wrote:
Hey, do they have their own swizzles?



No swizzles just those twisted rattan type picks.



This picture was on the previous page, I'm surprised you didn't Spy it Spy-Tiki.


 
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Rum Balls
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Oct 04, 2004
Posts: 877
From: Portland, OR
Posted: 2008-10-27 07:45 am   Permalink

LA Times story from yesterday: http://www.latimes.com/features/lifestyle/la-ig-tiki26-2008oct26,0,288708.story

Be sure to also click on the "Photos: Tiki goes high end". Be warned, the 4th image may cause cause permanent eye damage! http://www.latimes.com/features/lifestyle/la-ig-1026-tiki26-pg,0,7355092.photogallery

[ This Message was edited by: Rum Balls 2008-10-27 07:45 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Rum Balls 2008-10-27 07:49 ]


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little lost tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Posts: 7568
From: Orange,CA-right near the Circle!
Posted: 2008-10-27 08:47 am   Permalink

Here's that eye-damaging pic for y'all!
YOIKS!
Reminds me of the 80's when all the high end stores were selling Boutique "Punk"..
EGADZ!!!!


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I'm on Facebook too! under my real name Ken Ruzic
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TIKI-RAY
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2003
Posts: 845
From: Alta Loma, California
Posted: 2008-10-27 09:31 am   Permalink

Dont sweat it Ben . You do "Custom" work and your motto is "I build stuff for you " . And that is what you did .A customer has a vision with money to back it and you create it . Thats what you get paid for and thats what keeps food on the table for your family . You are one of the lucky few who gets paid to do the stuff you love . And Ive seen you are gratefull for this .
I loved Disneyland as a kid and had great memories . I then took my kids there as they were growing up .I hadnt been there in 10 years but when I recently came back I was shocked by some of the strange things I saw. The Swiss Family Robinsons treehouse was now Tarzans treehouse . Tom Sawyers Island was now some sort of pirates island even though you had to paddle an indian canoe to get there. Or you could ride a paddlewheel river boat around the pirates paradise ( I still cant figure out how that ties together ) . And the Pirates of the Carribean ride should now be called the Johnny Depp ride . It didnt seem right but I had to make my peace with it . I couldnt get upset with the builders because they were getting paid by someone else to create something new . I still have the memories and Disney was just trying to build something to get the next generation to relate . My son is 17 and couldnt care less about a film called Swiss Family Robinson and how they whole family lived in a tree . What made me fell better is the things that did NOT change . Sure they threw in some new stuff but most of the park was still mine .
I dont drink anymore but the only time I hang out in bars is at these events . I love tikibars for the art as well and the escapeism it provides .But if someone didnt stand up and say "Damn the world, Im gonna create my own kind of bar " , we wouldnt even have tiki bars around . We would all be going to the purest form of western bars . They were called "Saloons " .And who wants to sit around drinking, playing cards , shooting off guns surrounded by dancehall girls and if we had enough gold nuggets in our pocket we could visit a hooker upstairs ? (What am i saying )?
Anyways Ben , you did a lot of high end work in there and created another steppingstone to the great tiki bars and restaraunts of our time . Maybe celebrities will start branching out more to the tiki circuit . After all , Johnny Depp did do a film at the Bahooka.


 
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Ojaitimo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 04, 2006
Posts: 1313
Posted: 2008-10-27 09:43 am   Permalink

The above picture is exactly the reason thatthe owner Andy Hewitt won't use the "T word" in refering to his new place to the Times reporter calling it "Polynesian panache". As long as they make crap like this, it will be tacky for most people. You can't blame him for wanting to distance himself from examples like this.
(Who is the model BTW? He looks familiar)


 
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