6 Tiki Bars in L.A. with All the Good-Time Vibes
What’s not to love about a tiki bar? They give you an excuse to put on a flowered print shirt, order an elaborate concoction that begs to be Instagrammed and break the ice with other patrons in a wonderfully kitsch paradise. These establishments all over SoCal range from date-night perfect to divey girls’ night out. Here’s a neighborhood rundown of the city’s best.
This new nightspot gives you 360-degree tiki feels: It’s got a menu of small bites including Hawaiian-style fried chicken and kung pao ribs, handcrafted drinks that elevate the traditional South Seas classics (such as a mai tai with two types of rum and laced with fresh lime, macadamia nut liqueur and vanilla demerara) and an interior decor that manages to read classy castaway—comfy couches, beautiful wicker and rattan and lush wallpaper and tile treatments.
6611 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323-848-4475 or lonohollywood.com
North Hollywood: Tonga Hut
Los Angeles’s oldest continually operating tiki bar (since 1958!), this spot is worth going to for its cluttered, authentic feel (so many carved wooden plaques), its cool neighborhood crowd and its eclectic jukebox (hello, New York Dolls). Oh, and the more than 80 tropical drinks including the classic Trader Vic’s-style mai tai garnished with fresh pineapple and mint.
12808 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood; tongahut.com
DTLA: The Pacific Seas
Upstairs at the Clifton’s Cafeteria, enter this hidden space through a mirrored door and suddenly you’re in a small room wallpapered with a giant world map. Walk a little farther and you’re in an expanse with rattan chairs, palapa-top bars and a handsome wooden speedboat-cum-DJ booth poking out from the bar into the center of the room. Order the four-person Scorpion bowl, presented volcano-style with flaming 151-proof rum. And while you’re at it, get a pork platter and enjoy the Polynesian dancers on Friday and Saturday nights.
648 S. Broadway, DTLA; 213-627-1673 or cliftonsla.com/pacific-seas
North Hollywood: Tiki No
Sometimes you’re in the mood for an unpretentious little place…OK, a dive bar. When it’s a dive bar with tiki decor, strong drinks bedecked with orchids (mmm, Frozen Blue Hawaiian) and a Wednesday karaoke party where you’re encouraged to be shameless, it’s so much the better.
4657 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; 818-766-0116 or tikinola.com
Los Feliz: Good Luck Bar
This hipster nightspot’s dark interiors, lit by red swag lanterns and hung with carved wooden screens, might conjure ideas of 19th-century Chinese opium dens, but the bar menu tells another story. Order the house specialty, a Potent Potion, a confection of spiced rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, bitters and nutmeg. The big reveal? It’s served in a coconut.
1514 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; 323-666-3524 or goodluckbarla.com
Santa Barbara: Test Pilot Cocktails
You caught us: This spot isn’t in L.A., but we think it’s worth the trip. Sometimes this central Cali coastal town feels so…refined. Explore all that good taste by settling back into a Hawaiian lounge chair and ordering the house cocktail. It’s a crazy good mix of house rum, clove spice, fresh citrus and bitters, topped with an absinthe foam. And of course, it comes in a tall ceramic tiki gods mugs, so you really feel tropical.
211 Helena St., Santa Barbara; 805-845-2518 or testpilotcocktails.com