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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Tonga Lei, Malibu, CA (restaurant)
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Tonga Lei, Malibu, CA (restaurant)
puamana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 291
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2005-01-21 11:15 am   Permalink

Name:Tonga Lei
Type:restaurant
Street:22878 Pacific Coast Highway
City:Malibu
State:CA
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
Below are 3 views of the Tonga Lei, from a jumbo postcard recently found:











 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2005-01-22 01:02 am   Permalink

Fantastic, Puamana!

I've only seen the outside view before. I love the tapa-patterned booths and the giant Maori-style tiki. Thanks much for posting these. I think I may scour the Malibu garage sales and thrift stores looking for that volcano bowl.

Sabu


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11088
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2005-01-24 8:04 pm   Permalink

That's great, I always liked comparing how close the exterior was to the Menu rendering.

Looks like their cocktails were not very good though, judging by the reaction of that Tiki to the Volcano bowl

In the menu, the drink illustrations are hand drawn, and there is a rendering of a bowl with three little PIGS holding it. I am assuming it was just a fantasy, since I never saw or heard of such a design...


 
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floratina
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 998
From: West Los Angeles
Posted: 2005-01-25 12:16 pm   Permalink

That place is so beautiful! I like the continuous hut/roof that extends over the booths. Great find.

 
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floratina
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 998
From: West Los Angeles
Posted: 2005-01-25 12:19 pm   Permalink

I wonder if the building has been torn down.

 
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Tiki Bird
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 25, 2003
Posts: 850
From: Cerritos, Ca.
Posted: 2005-01-25 12:37 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-01-22 01:02, Sabu The Coconut Boy wrote:

I think I may scour the Malibu garage sales and thrift stores looking for that volcano bowl.

Sabu



Very nice volcano bowl!


TBird.



 
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PiPhiRho
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 1013
From: Redondo Beach
Posted: 2005-01-25 2:05 pm   Permalink

I thought that the interior looked familiar. The address is the same as the Malibu Beach Inn, which is where the Malibu Don The Beachcomber was located.

http://www.malibubeachinn.com/

So, the Tonga Lei became Don The Beachcomber, which is now a hotel with no tiki. Yes, the old building was knocked down to put up the hotel.


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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3599
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-01-25 11:05 pm   Permalink

The 1983 movie "Losin' It" with Tom Cruise & Shelley Long is set in 1965 Los Angeles/Mexico, and has a role called "Tonga Lei doorman." I've never seen this movie... is it too much to hope that it may have at least some exterior shots of the real, actual Tonga Lei during its twilight years?

IMDB summary:

"Teen sex comedy set in 1965 which follows four Los Angeles school friends, Woody, Dave, Spider, Wendell and the series of misadventures they get into when they travel south of the border to Tijuana, Mexico for a night of cruisin', causing trouble, and to settle a pact to lose their virginity before the night is over, while a young woman, named Kathy, accompanies them for different reasons: to arrange a quick divorce from her husband."

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peacockangel
Member

Joined: Feb 22, 2005
Posts: 2
Posted: 2005-02-22 11:39 pm   Permalink



 
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peacockangel
Member

Joined: Feb 22, 2005
Posts: 2
Posted: 2005-02-22 11:51 pm   Permalink

I remember this restaurant very well indeed! It seems to me that the postcard showing the exterior of the building must have been taken sometime in the 60's, because I went there from about 1972 - 79. I remember first going when I was around 5 or 6 years old, and the exterior was slightly different. I recall two GIANT Easter Island tikis along with massive torches flanking the front entrance way, rather than the two flagpole tall torches on the postcard. Once you went inside there was a huge blacklite volcano/waterfall diorama with running water in the foyer where you waited to be sat. That blacklight was hell for anybody with lint on their clothes! To my young eyes the whole place was like taking a trip to Disneyland! Too bad it had to go! Glad I saw the postcard /pics...the interior shots hadn't changed, but I believe the exterior had been redone.

 
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Polynesiac
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jan 29, 2004
Posts: 2079
From: San Pedro, CA
Posted: 2008-10-08 10:14 pm   Permalink


1976 food menu followed by drink menu:



















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[ This Message was edited by: Polynesiac 2008-10-08 22:16 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11088
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-10-09 07:17 am   Permalink

There's that mysterious PIG Scorpion bowl again...probably remained just an illustration.

 
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Luckydesigns
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 15, 2002
Posts: 2162
From: Costa Mesa
Posted: 2008-10-10 1:31 pm   Permalink

Just a little side note... My Dad grew up in Malibu and parked cars at the Tonga Lei for work when he was young.
Any questions you guys have, I could definitely ask him.
Aloha.


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www.facebook.com/thehulagirls
www.thehulagirlsmusic.com



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11088
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-10-10 1:38 pm   Permalink

Yeah well then: DID they ever use that pig bowl for their Scorpions?

 
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Luckydesigns
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 15, 2002
Posts: 2162
From: Costa Mesa
Posted: 2008-10-13 10:02 am   Permalink

Hey Sven, been a long time...
I asked my Dad about that pig bowl and he said politely, "You really think I can remember that bowl?? I was outside parking cars most of the time." And when we WAS in there sneaking a drink, (he was about 17 at the time) he said that he definitely couldn't afford any of the 'expensive' drinks... He said that he was drinking vodka sodas and stuff. I showed him the pictures from TC though and he was reminiscing about the tikis and thatch booths... Pretty cool... Then, my Mom started talking about going to Don the Beachcomber's and drinking Zombies...
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www.facebook.com/thehulagirls
www.thehulagirlsmusic.com



 
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