Joined: May 16, 2008
From: Dogtown, USA
|Posted: 2010-07-14 09:41 am  Permalink|
There is no ONE place that is best, you MUST visit all three.
This shows how Tiki-rich the LA/OC area is when it comes to historic old-school original classic Tiki-style authenticity. I would differentiate each place as follows:
1. Tiki-Ti - It's definitely one of the top 2 historically significant Tiki establishments still in operation. It's been carrying the torch since 1961. Please refer to Chapter 1 of Beachbum Berry's "Sipping Safari" to understand how Tiki-Ti has a direct link back to the roots of Tiki in the 1930's. Tiki-Ti is a small place so it's better to go Wed-Thu or early on Fri-Sat.
2. Don the Beachcomber - BTD is right, it provides the best overall experience as a bar, restaurant, and "Tiki Mecca" vibe. The Happy Hour there is unbelievable value with great Tropical drinks and tasty Poly-pop appetizers. I would say it's the West Coast version of the Mai-Kai except I've never been there (and Bora Boris would probably call me on it )
3. Tonga Hut - A neighborhood Tiki bar with a friendly locals' atmosphere. I would argue it's serving the best Tropical cocktails from 4pm-8pm on weekends. The net new Tiki Revival cocktails created by Kelly are some of my favorites. Tiki Central more or less takes over the place on Sunday afternoons/early evenings.
Also there's Purple Orchid (not too far from LAX) and Downtown LA Trader Vic's as post Mid-century Tiki examples.