The Best Dive Bars in America – Tiki-Ti?

With all the dirty, sorta scary dive bars in LA to choose from, what is the Tiki-Ti doing on a list of The Best Dive Bars in America?

Rob Willey in Details magazine describes the venerable tiki bar thusly:

“Forget Trader Vic’s: A rum-soaked night at this violin shop turned tiki lounge is as close as you’ll get to the tropical-drinks craze that swept Hollywood from the thirties through the seventies. Marlon Brando drank here; Burt Reynolds too; but when the Polynesian fad went bust, founder Ray Buhen managed to keep rolling. Today the menu includes something like 90 concoctions—including Ray’s Mistake, a mixture of rum, passion fruit, and ‘super-secret flavor.'”

However, Willey seems to disqualify the Tiki-Ti from the dubious honor of being named a “best dive bar” in the very first line of his introduction: “Fancy, handcrafted cocktails have their place—and it sure as hell isn’t any of these watering holes.” Sure, I guess they’re not “fancy,” but there’s no doubt that they’re handcrafted!

Of course, half the fun of reading any kind of “best” list is in disagreeing with it.

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