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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » JOHN-O's Zombie Road Trip...
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JOHN-O's Zombie Road Trip...
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-09 10:34 pm   Permalink

More Zombie action...

This time from the island paradise of Hawaii. You'll find Mai Tais on pretty much every drink menu in and around Waikiki, but no Zombies. The Mai Tai at the Halekulani was so good, I asked if they could do a Zombie (off the menu). They said sure !! It was a stiff classic Zombie.

"Broke Da Mouth".



 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-25 01:27 am   Permalink



"I'd like a Zombie, a Mai Tai, and 1 of your Painkillers"

"I'm JOHN-O from Tiki Central by the way, this is my first time here."

(Handing my credit card over)

Bartender: "Don't worry about it, the drinks are on me."



 
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Robb Hamel
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Joined: Mar 07, 2008
Posts: 1013
From: Ohio
Posted: 2010-11-25 3:02 pm   Permalink

This is THE way to do it!

 
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Chippy
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Joined: Jul 24, 2010
Posts: 282
From: Sunny Southern California
Posted: 2010-11-25 10:07 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the research John.

I cannot wait to get over to Tiki No and try it out, and now you have given me a great reason to swing by.



 
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Jungle Ginger
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Joined: Nov 12, 2010
Posts: 198
Posted: 2010-11-26 12:52 am   Permalink

So....

How were the drinks at Tiki No?


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-26 3:45 pm   Permalink

Well since this is a Zombie thread, let me comment on that drink.

It was a flavorful cocktail, both fruity with a nice sour aftertaste. It reminded me of the Zombie at Frankie's Tiki Room, which I really like as well. But like that drink, I really can't consider it a classic Zombie. It just didn't have the stiffness and complexity.

Talking to Josh, the person at Tiki No responsible for the drink recipes, he said they're still working on the right combination of price vs. mixology faithfulness. I'm sure we'll be seeing the drinks evolve there over time. Based on the people I saw there on Thanksgiving eve, Tiki No is trying to cater to more than just the Tikiphile rank and file (and from what I could see, is being successful in that endeavor).

Most of the best Zombies I sampled on my "Road Trip" were about $13. Tiki No's was $10. I told Josh that I'd be willing to pay more money for the best Tropical cocktail possible. If you feel the same way, please share that with him.

The decor and ambiance of Tiki No however is perfect !! This is another Bamboo Ben masterpiece. Consider this in the same league as Forbidden Island and Frankie's Tiki Room (and then some). Rather than just a faithful recreation of classic Tiki-style atmosphere, it seems to have updated the aesthetic for the 21st century.

This place isn't out-and-out competition to the Tonga Hut but rather a good complement to it. Now the lucky city of North Hollywood can claim the best of classic Tiki-style historic authenticity and the best of net new Tiki Revival.

Why oh why, though, couldn't Tiki No have opened in Venice ??

And if the theft of a Tiki bar's drink menus is a sign of success, all of Tiki No's original 60 drink menus have already left the building.


 
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kahalakruzer
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Joined: Jan 29, 2008
Posts: 309
From: Dana Point! California
Posted: 2010-11-26 7:55 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-26 15:45, JOHN-O wrote:

And if the theft of a Tiki bar's drink menus is a sign of success, all of Tiki No's original 60 drink menus have already left the building.


Seriously?!?! That's out of control...I didn't know there were so many menu collectors outside of the TC world.

By the way, great thread as usual, John-O. I'm always glad to see updates on all of your projects.
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-28 2:40 pm   Permalink

Wow, how long has the Puka Bar been around? Until last night I've never even been there. Whenever my car is that far south on the 405, it automatically navigates to Don the Beachcomber so the Puka Bar always get ignored. Sometimes I think there's TOO much Tiki in So CA, without enough Tikiphiles to adequately spread the love (and money) around.



Due to the lack of coverage here on TC, I always assumed the Puka Bar was TINO (Tiki In Name Only). The only comments that stick in my mind are "bad drinks" and "unsafe area". Walking into the place with low expectations, I was really pleasantly surprised. It's quite a large place and has a definite exotic Tiki vibe. Yes, there are a few sad Tikis but also a lot of great Poly-Pop decor done by artists like Crazy Al.

Tiki "Punk Rock" club was the atmosphere it evoked for me. An uninhibited place where you could feel free to let loose and have a great time (one guy was dancing with a cabbage on his head). I think the best thing about the Puka Bar was it had a nice stage area in the back for bands to perform. I saw the Ding Dong Devils there and they put on a GREAT show. The acoustics and sight lines were just so much better than a place like Don the Beachcomber's Dagger Bar.



Based on comments in TC, I expected this to be Long Beach ghetto. It's actually on a well lighted street surrounded by businesses like BofA. There was plenty of street parking nearby.

So HOW were those drinks? Well I was already pretty buzzed after meeting a friend at Tony's on the Pier (another post), but I did sample the Zombie for this thread. It wasn't a classic zombie, its fruit (very peachy) taste was the dominant flavor. Not great, but not that bad either. It was pleasant and drinkable. And how can you fault a place that uses Lemon Hart as an ingredient? (when they had it)...



I think with a few simple changes, this place could easily move up into the top tier of So Ca Tiki Revival. I'd definitely add it to anyone's Tiki Roadtrip, especially if a good band is playing.

I'm going to keep an eye on this place.


[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-11-28 14:45 ]


 
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congawa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2008
Posts: 357
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2010-11-29 11:04 am   Permalink

John-O: thanks for coming to Puka Bar on Saturday, and thanks for the Zombie you bought me! Now I feel like I'm an actual small part of your Zombie Road Trip! And re: the Puka Bar, they have done quite a bit to dress up the back "band" room, which used to be just a plain box room in comparison to the exquisite bar room and foyer. It's actually got a tikified sound booth, which is a step beyond most tiki establishments in this region.

And the Wrigley district (the area where it's located) has gotten better in recent years, though--while industrial and blue collar--it was never the "worst" part of Long Beach by a long shot. It was pretty quiet on Willow Saturday night (the nightclub up the street the Til-2 was where the rowdy crowd usually was, but I think that place got a bit cracked down upon).

Here's one of the many differences between the "Tiki" crowd and the "Buffett" crowd: the Buffetts are used to seeing music in squeaky-clean amphitheaters and beach bars, so this locale might be "scary." However, many Tiki-philes used to go to gigs at places like LA's Al's Bar and Jabberjaw (or equivalent clubs in SF's Mission or SOM, NY's Bowery, or whichever city you're located in, etc.) where the big parking decision for the night was whether you were going to pay the homeless guy $1 to "watch" your car. There's nobody on the street to even make you that offer outside the Puka Bar, and there's usually has plenty of street parking--and if you get there in the afternoon, you can probably have a beer with a longshoreman or two.

Caltiki Brent


 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2011-05-05 6:02 pm   Permalink

Here's an out-of-state Zombie review for...

The Hala Kahiki !!



"You mean that place in Ohio? Didn't it close down 10 years ago?" as a few So CA Tikiphiles commented to me recently. Nope, this is the HALA Kahiki just outside of Chicago, which has been going strong since 1966.

Not quite as well known as fellow mid-century icons like the Tiki-Ti or Mai Kai, it certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. This place has been on my Tiki to-do list for quite some time.

I happened to be in Chicago on business, and a small window of time opened up for me (and a co-worker) to visit. Taking a $65 taxi ride from downtown, we traveled 16 miles to what seemed like the middle of nowhere. The Indian cab driver was really curious why a couple of tourists would be traveling so far out of downtown. What kind of place did you say this was?, he asked. "A titty bar ??". No I answered, "A Tiki bar !!".

Walking through the Hala Kahiki's doors was like walking through a time portal back to the 1960's. The immediate vibe I felt was the dark and quiet reverence of a church.

A Tiki church !!

Actually it was more like the holy temple of Witco, as that signature dark wood and leopard print were in sight all throughout the building. In fact there was so much Witco, it almost seemed like it had to be reproductions for so much of it to be concentrated in one spot. It however was the real deal.

The mood was momentarily broken as I heard Abba's "Dancing Queen" begin to play over the sound system. I immediately made a bee line to the juke box and quickly searched for some Exotica selections. Nothing in that genre, but I did find an Alfred Apaka CD and a Hawaiian music comp that I quickly programmed.

OK, now it was time for a cocktail !! True to the theme of this thread, I started out with a Zombie. When I saw it wasn't being served in the requisite Collins glass, my expectations were lowered. After a few sips, my reaction was "This tastes like Kool-aid spiked with rum". After the Zombie, I sampled a Fog Cutter and then a Navy Grog. The mixology quality was all about the same.

So did the disappointing cocktails take away from my Hala Kahiki experience? I would say No. I think I would have been happy just drinking club soda with the Tiki "time machine" euphoria I was feeling. Much like the Bahooka in Rosemead, the cocktails were probably besides the point.

I've been to most of the original and revival Tiki bars in the West. Now while I love them all, none of them were close to the exotic frozen-in-time Tiki romanticism that I experienced at the Hala Kahiki. I like to think of So Ca (or even the entire state) as being the center of the Tiki universe, but after the Hala Kahiki, I was humbled.

Actually the fact that the Hala Kahiki sits 2,000 miles northeast of the Tiki-Ti, and 1,500 miles northwest of the Mai Kai, maybe IT'S really the center of Tiki culture in America.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11267
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2011-05-05 6:25 pm   Permalink

Haha, nothing changes at the Hala Kahiki: I got in trouble with them when I said something about the drink quality...in TIKI NEWS!
Nothing has changed - and that is a GOOD THING! It is indeed a time warp, how they have managed to keep everything in such good shape but so intact periodwise is truly awesome. And it is indeed on par with such Tiki temples as the Mai Kai and the Tonga Room:
The density of the decor, the way the WItco art works together with the bamboo, rattan and beaded curtains, weaving through the different rooms, is a show case of Polynesian pop par excellence.


 
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ErkNoLikeFire
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 07, 2010
Posts: 429
From: Michigan
Posted: 2011-05-07 9:54 pm   Permalink

Good work sir!!! The next time I'm in Chicago, I will have to stop by the Hala Kahiki.
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“The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass.” Martin Mull

"Rum is not drinking, it's surviving" Robert Shaw THE DEEP


 
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congawa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2008
Posts: 357
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2011-05-09 4:57 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the report on the Hala Kahiki John-O. Sounds like the "frozen in time" phrase could be applied to the jukebox as well--frozen in time to the disco era (when Dancing Queen came out).

Since the tropical drinks were not up to snuff, I'm wondering if you saw any Templeton Rye behind the bar (or sampled the same at any other watering holes while you were in the Templeton region)?

Caltiki Brent


 
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christiki295
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Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2011-05-09 9:23 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-09 22:34, JOHN-O wrote:
More Zombie action...

This time from the island paradise of Hawaii. You'll find Mai Tais on pretty much every drink menu in and around Waikiki, but no Zombies. The Mai Tai at the Halekulani was so good, I asked if they could do a Zombie (off the menu). They said sure !! It was a stiff classic Zombie.

"Broke Da Mouth".





One of the nicest hotels in Waikiki. Glad they are making righteous cocktails.


 
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Chuck Tatum is Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2011
Posts: 1674
From: Southern Cailifornia
Posted: 2011-05-12 11:28 pm   Permalink

So John-O, to date which place is the best? great thread, by the way.

 
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