Joined: May 16, 2008
From: Dogtown, USA
|Posted: 2012-10-31 8:50 pm  Permalink|
Another "unloved" Tiki bar...
So think of a LA Tiki bar that's tiny, owner operated, permits smoking, and is open on a limited basis, what comes to mind? The Tiki-Ti right?
Well how about the Hale Hawaii bar in Torrance?
Unlike the Tiki-Ti however, this place gets little Tikiphile attention, probably because it's hardly ever open. The operating hours are Mon-Fri from 4pm until... well, whenever the owner feels like closing which is sometimes as early as 10pm.
Even the Bigbro found himself locked out when he and Miss Kauai of 1998 tried to gain entry during the filming of a (pre-BOT !!) Tiki documentary...
"Tiki bar, Tiki bar, let me in !!"...
"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin"
Now while this place isn't exactly the Mai Kai, it's not without its unique Tiki qualities, For one thing it's one of the few (only?) remaining examples of the strip mall Tiki bar !! (Lava Lounge RIP)
What a great concept, park your car once and you can get a haircut, visit the chiropractor, have a passport photo taken, and then enjoy a couple of Mai Tais all in a single visit.
And how was that Mai Tai? Well although it was Hawaiian-style it was a stiff and well balanced cocktail, not too sweet. No Zombies though but I do understand they have a pretty kick-ass Scorpion bowl. One must possess a high degree of Tiki self-confidence however, to sip a faux seashell drink amongst the bar's beer swilling football fan regulars.
That's actually another unique thing about the Hale Hawaii, it's a strip mall Tiki SPORTS bar. Now while that concept might be horrifying to Tiki purists, I thought the place still vibed more of a scruffy mid-century authenticity than many of our net new Tiki joints like the Disney Trader Sam's or some of the more recent Trader Vic's.
If anything Tiki fans should pay a visit just to be So Cal vintage Tiki bar completists, but remember if you don't want to disappoint your beauty pageant date, call first to make sure they're open !!