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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Yee Mee Loo, Los Angeles, CA (bar)
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Yee Mee Loo, Los Angeles, CA (bar)
scispy
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 28, 2005
Posts: 33
From: LA/Texas
Posted: 2006-12-18 5:33 pm   Permalink

Name:yee mei lious or hee mee liou
Type:bar
Street:Inbetween Alameda and Broadway
City:los angeles
State:CA
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
I would like information on Yee Mei Loos in downtown LA, Chinatown to be exact. It was a downstairs basement polynesian bar/chinese restaurant. They had the most wonderfully intoxicating drinks, I did alot of underage drinking there and was talking about it with my friend the other day. They had great pu puu platters too. The last time I was there was in the mid 80's. If anyone has been there please share details as mine are pretty fuzzy. Thanks



[ Edited by: Humuhumu - corrected the name of the location in the subject line - 2009-04-01 09:00 ]


 
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TIKIBOSKO
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Posts: 323
Posted: 2006-12-20 5:09 pm   Permalink

The correct spelling is Yee Mee Loo and the “lounge” area was known as “Kwan Yin Temple”. The cocktail bar area was a dark dive-ish place we would frequent down in Chinatown back in the 80’s. To my friends and I it was home of the mysterious “blue drink” I recall thinking they tasted really great but I have a feeling if I gave it a try now it wouldn’t be so great an experience. They had an old antique Chinese style thing for the back bar (I assume this was the Temple in Kwan Yin?). Everything behind the bar looked like it had started leaning in an earthquake and stopped, we’d sit there transfixed looking at this portal to the orient, all the lamps, booze bottles and the setting before us.

Below is their amazing matchbook art with right to left captioned cartoon, there was always some debate whether this was intentional or a Chinese translation problem?

Interestingly the main portion of the back bar decor was saved and has a new lease on life behind the bar of a (new) uninspiring restaurant down in Glendale. But looking at it in it’s current environment is kind of sad, (I would never have recognized it) it painfully lacks without the cool depth of the original locale, all that layering with everything stained in nicotine, a dark bar room in Chinatown. The place is on Brand (I think), although I haven’t been there in a few years maybe it’s gone by now too?

My very best alohas,

Bosko






 
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scispy
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 28, 2005
Posts: 33
From: LA/Texas
Posted: 2009-03-28 8:35 pm   Permalink

Thanks so much for the update! I didn't realize anyone had responded to my inquiry... I do remember doing alot of underage drinking there though. Lots of fun times...Hope that bar is still in it's current home.
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Tom Slick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 26, 2005
Posts: 1092
From: The Beaches of South Bay, SoCal
Posted: 2009-03-29 5:01 pm   Permalink

Bosko is like Johnny Cash....He's been everywhere, man!

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-29 7:56 pm   Permalink

It hurts me to see posts with images that have disappeared, so here is the classic matchbook Bosko mentions:




Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the interior, it was at a time when one did not take such photos -partly because one believed these cool places would be around forever! The restaurant in Glendale that took over the Kwan Yin Temple (the backbar of the Yee Mee Loo) is gone now too, even though their cocktail menu was originally put together by Ted Haigh aka Dr.Cocktail. We do not know what happened to the Kwan Yin Temple.

But something else from the Yee Mee Loo lived on:


Just a couple of blocks up from the Tiki Ti up Sunset Blvd, the ingeniously authentic yet NEW Chinese styled Good Luck Bar...



hired the Yee Mee Loo's skinny old Chinese owner/bartender Richard (see match book interior above) to be its mixologist,



I had many a shot of my personal favorite, his Chinese Rose Whiskey, poured by him.

Last not least worthy a mention is the fact that their expertly designed retro matchbook is the work of no other than forefather of Urban archeology, now Taschen LA head editor, graphic designer Jim Heimann (note signature on back)







[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2010-09-15 23:49 ]


 
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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3618
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2009-03-29 8:10 pm   Permalink

So much good stuff!

A) I adore Bosko. I am always tickled by the casual way he pokes his head into a thread that seems like a totally hopeless reach for info, drops some condensed knowledge of the quality that only "I was there" can impart, and then drifts off back to whatever he was doing (in my head, when he pops into these threads, I imagine him leaning through a doorway, saying his piece without setting down his chisels, and leaving a smattering of wood chips in his wake). Bosko, I love you, and I thank you.

B) Sven, thanks oodles for the back story on the Good Luck matchbook! It's the treasure of my matchbook collection. I enjoy it more than the others precisely because it's modern. It's too easy for us to accept cruddy modern-day attempts at "retro style" with "ah, those were the days, they just can't do that kind of great quality anymore." It's not true, great quality can and does still occur, and the Good Luck's matchbook is a perfect little pocket-size reminder of that.


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hiltiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 10, 2004
Posts: 3099
From: Reseda, calif.
Posted: 2009-03-30 7:10 pm   Permalink

Good Luck has a well designed swizzle stick also.




 
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scispy
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 28, 2005
Posts: 33
From: LA/Texas
Posted: 2009-03-30 8:40 pm   Permalink

Cool pics of the old Yee Mee match cover! I love the quip "Where you going pa?"
Seems like something Number One Son would ask Charlie Chan.....
The Good luck cover and swizzle stick are awesome too.
Haven't been there since it opened I'll have to swing by one of these days and grab me some of those souveniers.
Thanks for posting!


 
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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5812
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2009-03-31 12:42 pm   Permalink

I went there in 87. Classic dive bar with no windows and burning incense.
You could get high just from the atmosphere.
They had a clock that ran backwards.
The Tidybowl was famous because nobody had a blue drink back then.
I would not dare to eat the food there.

(These are not my photos)




photos are by Ron Resnick

This is the Yee Mee Loo bar that was bought and transferred to a place called the Cinnabar in Glendale.


To keep the memory alive, they served the Yee Mee Loo (meaning "blue drink") Tidybowl. I don't know the ingredints. Probably a Blue Hawaiian,



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-01 08:25 am   Permalink

Good digging, Unga: Exterior, interior, AND the Kwan Yin Temple - now this thread is pretty complete!

 
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TIKIBOSKO
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Posts: 323
Posted: 2009-04-17 2:07 pm   Permalink

Hello all and wow, when I posted a here couple of years ago I thought I’d inadvertently killed another thread and I totally forgot about this until I just stumbled across it.

Humuhumu thank you so so much but you have a very romantic view of my life (aside from wood chips in my wake) my climbing out of the hammock like Pa Kettle would be much closer to reality.
Tom I have been most everywhere with in a 100 mile radius.
Sven great job, I was unaware my photo links had died.
Unga amazing pictures and I too wouldn’t dare to try the food.

Bosko


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2689
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-09-15 10:14 pm   Permalink

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/183563


[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-09-15 22:15 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-09-15 11:55 pm   Permalink

Oh yes, it's the way of things.
I am glad they apparently used images from this thread at the funeral service, very moving. If our work here can serve such a noble purpose, it is the greatest pay off.


 
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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2571
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2011-12-27 8:27 pm   Permalink

I saw and borrowed these pictures from Vintage Los Angeles on Facebook.






 
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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1286
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2012-02-26 07:45 am   Permalink

Well, you have to admit that the site looks MUCH better now than it did before.



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