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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Tonga Hut, North Hollywood, CA (bar)
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Tonga Hut, North Hollywood, CA (bar)
Futura Girl
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2002
Posts: 933
Posted: 2003-07-27 3:43 pm   Permalink

Name:Tonga Hut
Type:bar
Street:12808 Victory Blvd.
City:North Hollywood
State:CA
Zip:91606
country:USA
Phone:818-769-0708
Status:operational

Description:
The Tonga Hut is a small neighborhood bar that has been around since c.1959 The interior has changed little over the years. There are several large tikis on site and inside there are 2 waterfalls (however neither is currently working). The bar recently changed ownership. The new owner is curious to learn more about the tiki bar phenomenon. So please visit there and order a drink and encourage them to bring in exotic music and expand their tropical drink selection.

Tonga Hut is on the south side of Victory just east of Coldwater Canyon in the San Fernando Valley.


[ This Message was edited by: Futura Girl on 2003-07-27 15:45 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy on 2003-07-28 12:03 ]


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3813
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2003-07-28 10:09 pm   Permalink

The Tonga Hut has a wonderfully large tiki on the outside and two large tikis on the inside (somewhat Easter Island style).

It also has some fake tropical decor and features inexpensive ($5.50 mai-tais).

I believe it is the only other classic tiki bar in the City of Los Angeles, other than the beloved TIKI-TI.

However, unlike Tiki-Ti, there is no scene, although it does have a loyal and very friendly group of regulars (some of whom appeared to be older than the bar).

The bar has great potential, but could use a little freshening up and a lot of airing out (Smoker's welcome, but my request if cigars were allowable met with a less than welcome reception).




 
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mriddle
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 06, 2003
Posts: 119
From: The Valley, like totally!
Posted: 2003-09-15 3:06 pm   Permalink

My wife and I went to the Tonga Hut after looking up a web list of Tiki bars in the LA area. We are now Tonga Hut regulars and most people know us by name. Our first impression was ho-hum. However, after just a few minutes, we came to love this little "locals" bar. The decor is definately original late 50's early 60's Tiki and I mean original. It looks as if the origianl interior has servived from it's opening days. As posted earlier, this is definately not a "Scene" Tiki bar. It is a locals hang out. Most regulars are in their 40's or older. My wife and I are in our late 20's and we love it. If you are looking for an "LA - See & Be Seen" place, this is not it. However, if you are looking to have a quiet drink with very friendly working-class locals where you can actually hear eachother, this is the place. They even have Chet Baker & Billy Holiday in the jukebox. Believe me, it will grow on you!

[ This Message was edited by: mriddle on 2003-09-15 15:07 ]


 
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OceaOtica
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 29, 2003
Posts: 909
From: near Atlanta, Georgia
Posted: 2003-10-13 12:11 am   Permalink

hey mriddle,
i stepped into the tonga hut the first time at the beginning of this year, after passing by it for about 5 years. i brought a coworker with me who was not particularly into tiki. he thought it was interesting, and more interesting when i explained some of the back history. unfortunately, the bartender on that evening did not know how to make a polynesian drink. i didnt try to order anything fancy, just a mai tai to test the waters, but to no avail. we ordered beers and relaxed. it is definitely worth checking out the bar for the old decorations, some things unique to that bar that i have never seen anywhere else.
are they serving tropical drinks now?
let me know when you guys go, maybe i can meet you there some time.


 
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mriddle
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 06, 2003
Posts: 119
From: The Valley, like totally!
Posted: 2003-10-22 09:47 am   Permalink

Tikitanked,
Yeah, It really does depend on the bartender there. I really wish they would play up the "tropical" aspect a little more. After all, they have quite a stock of flavored liquors behind the bar. I would imagine if more people came in and asked for torpical drinks, they would start making them. I must admit I'm not towing the Tiki line when I go-- I usually get Vodka&Cran. I was planning on going this Friday night (OCt 24th) but saddly, I have to go to San Diego on business. My wife and I are planning on going next Sat. Nov. 1


 
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OceaOtica
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 29, 2003
Posts: 909
From: near Atlanta, Georgia
Posted: 2004-01-19 11:11 pm   Permalink

this trip to the Tonga Hut yeilded some photos and information. i asked the bartender, adelle, if she thought taking photos would be okay, to which she promptly replied no. she did, however, call the owner and leave a message asking permission. while waiting for a return answer, i ordered a beer and asked adelle if she could tell me about the bars history. her reply was that she did not know much about it. as she said this she was scanning the bar seats because there was one woman that did; she happened to be sitting next to me. the woman, i would put her in her 70's, indulged my questioning, though it was hard to hear what she had to say. i also never caught her name. she had been going to the bar since 1961.
two brothers had opened the bar in 1958. the place was usually packed and they served exotic tropical drinks in tiki mugs and bowls. from what i could gather, the brothers sold it in the 1990's. one brother moved to hawaii, where he lived out the rest of his life. the other brother remained here and passed away about two years ago. i think she said one of the brother's daughter sold it. it was being run by one of the former bartenders who sold it a few years ago. the current owner has been running it as a locals bar, and has sold it. in fact there was a declaration on the door about the sale. in one month the Tonga Hut will change hands again. i asked if adelle or the woman knew if the new buyers intended to keep it the same, and both ladies seemed to think that was there intent.
at that point adelle asked a guy at the bar about shooting photos, and he said it was alright as long as i did not shoot the patrons. it seemed odd that he could give the permission, but adelle said he was a former bartender and that if he sais it was okay, it was okay.
so here is my attempt to document the Tonga Hut, without being able to shoot any good wide shots of the bar.




7ft moai inside just inside the door

rt side of bar lined with green booths

past booths, alcove area with this rocky surfaced tiki fountain

palm leaf


behind the bar, four level fountain that started from ceiling, unfortunately no longer running, spotted omc bowl to the right of cash register

this lined the top of the bar, much more impressive in person, this rim was circular and wavy, not rectangular

behind the bar, there are many old statues and tikis

this carving was on the door to the stock room
as i left, adelle asked me if next time i was going to order the "fufu" drinks. i told her i would be back for one. i definitely want to find out more, get the names, and talk to the old bartender.


[ This Message was edited by: tikitanked on 2004-01-19 23:24 ]


 
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mriddle
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 06, 2003
Posts: 119
From: The Valley, like totally!
Posted: 2004-01-21 10:46 am   Permalink

Ahhh, the Hut. I love that little place. The weekend bartender is name Carol and is very nice. She whipped up a Mai Tai on request fast. Unfortunately most people who go there don't order the "fu fu drinks". But the drinks and beer are cheap!!

 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3813
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2004-01-21 8:05 pm   Permalink

Glorioius photos! Wonderful photodocumentary.

Next time just start shooting - It's always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

The Tonga Hut has improved greatly since my last visit (although the average age of the customer has not changed). Let's hope the new owner drops somemore cash and continues the improvement.

I will have to go beyond Trader Vics & the Purple Orchid to add it to the rotation.


 
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Futura Girl
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2002
Posts: 933
Posted: 2004-01-28 01:13 am   Permalink

this is bad news that it has been sold again... the female owner i spoke to a few months back said she had been thinking about selling it to some guy who owned another business in the neighborhood and was itching to turn it into a sports bar or something worse... we need to get contact info for this new owner asap and do some research and make sure it was sold to a tiki friendly sole OR do some baptising and converting the heathen ASAP!

 
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OceaOtica
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 29, 2003
Posts: 909
From: near Atlanta, Georgia
Posted: 2004-01-28 11:55 am   Permalink

futura,
i had not spoken to the bartender who sais she thought the new owner would not change the bar. if this is not the case, ill make every effort with a few other tc folks to educate the new owner. north hollywood does not need another sports bar. if they plan to change the decor, i am sure that mriddle or humu or weirduncle or christiki295 or i will find the tikis a new home. the large ones inside are carved, there being a couple i did not photograph when i was there because the camera died.
sad news, hope that it is not the case.
_________________


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Tiki Bird
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 25, 2003
Posts: 850
From: Cerritos, Ca.
Posted: 2004-01-28 12:06 pm   Permalink

Tikitanked, thanks for the photos, me & the wife will check out this weekend.

 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3813
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2004-02-02 6:57 pm   Permalink

Horrific News.

At first, I was just horrified the map of Tonga had been removed in favor of very, very ordinary & lame "art." After all, its not likes the "Flower Bar."

However, this is much worse. I look forward to an update if anyone has any info.

(PS - Smoking is no longer permitted inside, maybe that is why almost all of the over 60 set seemed to have vanished).


 
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UtopianDreem
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 02, 2003
Posts: 293
From: LA County, CA
Posted: 2004-02-05 8:07 pm   Permalink

Here are a couple more photos from when TikiBird and I met up with Tikitanked last weekend.

Tiki just inside the door


Full-length shot of moai just inside the door (he has feet & hands!)


[ This Message was edited by: UtopianDreem on 2004-02-05 20:08 ]


 
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tikitortured
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 08, 2004
Posts: 332
From: Huntington Beach Ca.
Posted: 2004-05-14 11:14 am   Permalink

The Tonga Hut looks like if Moe from the Simpsons turned Moe's Tavern into a pseudo-tiki bar to drum up business. Maybe he would serve the "Flaming Moe". I do like the joint though, local yokels & all. It'd be a shame to see it turn into a...(shiver, shiver) sports bar!
(they'd probably give it a name like: El........or La.........or Mi.........)
I'm calling my congressman.



 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3813
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2004-08-05 7:09 pm   Permalink

The Tonga Hut has been sold (by the mother of a regular who must at least be 60 herself).

However, when I was there on Saturday, not many new changes were apparent, except the smaller coconut tikis have disappeared along with the namesake map of Tonga.

Nevertheless, there have been some improvements:

I received an umbrella in my $5.50 MaiTai.

Also, the guests actually seem to know what tiki is, as evidenced by one regular who announced my arrival with "it must be one of those tiki fans - look he's all tiki'd out wearing a Hawaiian shirt."

It no longer smells of stale cigarretes from 50 years ago (although I can not light up my cigar).

It still has the cheers quality. All the patrons were there before I arrived and, except for one arrival, they all remained there after I left.





 
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