Noting a new Trader Vic's downtown and Luau in Beverly Hills, De-Lab, a group of design professionals that deals strictly with happenings east of LaBrea, is predicting a resurgence of all things Tiki in L.A., and by george, we hope they are right. Nothing is simultaneously cooler/lamer than the loud Hawaiian shirts, Polynesian death masks, and colorful, killer drinks that this sub-culture spawned.
Our Pacific lands were once dotted with pu-pu platter-serving palapas, but today only the most famous names have survived from that golden age, like the still-standing, though surgically altered Trader Vic's in Beverly Hills and a new Don the Beachcomber down in Huntington Beach. Our favorite, Silverlake's Tiki Ti, has kept the party alive with crazy drinks and crazier guests, though most of us are so wasted upon leaving, that we need serious recovery time before joining their island bacchanal again.
De-Lab is linking up with Popsicles for Everyone's TikiTown, USA project to remind L.A. that our tiki torch still burns brightly. On July 23rd, a three-stop Tiki-Trek will take visitors on a circuit to see where Tiki culture is still burning brightly.
Here's the agenda from DeLab, guests are invited to join at any of the stops, just respond to the group's Facebook:
Join us in Rosemead at a well-preserved gem of the Tiki era, Bahooka, where there are over 100 aquariums and any drink can be served flaming. Tiki scholar Mirta Viviane Gilson will school us on Tiki history and Kyla Fullenwider will fill us in on the rest of the events planned for Tikitown USA. We can order Polynesian-inspired grub and, to help you recover from your drive, everyone gets one free Mai Tai!
Bahooka, 4501 Rosemead Blvd. Rosemead, CA 91770
We'll drive a few blocks away to Kona Kai Apartments, an amazing example of the Tiki buildings that are found in high concentration in this neighborhood. A resident will let us inside this apartment complex to show us some of the original details, and what was changed during the 1988 renovations.
Kona Kai, 6415 Rosemead Blvd.San Gabriel, CA 91775
Then we'll head west and have a nightcap with anyone who couldn't make it out to Rosemead at the Tiki Ti, the Silver Lake Tiki institution. Hear more about the Tiki Ti's unique connection to LA's Tiki culture while you have a Ray's Mistake (but if you have more than one, we recommend taking public transportation home).
Tiki Ti, 4427 Sunset Blvd.Los Angeles, CA 90027