The Bootlegger Bar – Crystal Cove, CA

Crystal Cove beach

What to do when there’s a minimum 45-minute wait for lunch at The Beachcomber Cafe in Crystal Cove? Well, there is the beach, of course. Or, if you head towards that teal shack over there…

Prohibition exhibit

A Prohibition Exhibit! Considering I adore the Roaring Twenties as much if not slightly more than mid-century Polynesian Pop, these words were hot jazz music to my ears.

Prohibition bottles from Crystal Cove

The cottage features rotating exhibitions and this one illustrated the role of this little Orange County beach in The Noble Experiment. Apparently, Crystal Cove’s geography made it an ideal spot for rum runners to bring in booze by boat.

The Bootlegger Bar at The Beachcomber Crystal Cove

And so I love that The Bootlegger Bar adjacent to the Beachcomber pays tribute to this colorful history. If the pangs of hunger prove to great to bear, you can try to snag a seat and order from an abbreviated menu.

Vintage bottles and tiki mugs

I also like how vintage-looking Prohibition bottles were mixed among the tiki mugs. (Also, I think we could start playing a tiki version of “Where’s Waldo?” Except it would be “Where’s Mr. Bali Hai?”)

The Beachcomber Cafe's volcano bowl

Here’s a gander at the neat pirate mural on the back wall, and the Beachcomber’s custom-designed scorpion bowls from Tiki Farm.

Rain movie poster

At first I wasn’t sure how this gorgeous movie poster fit in. Looking it up later, I found that “Rain” was filmed in 1932 (with Joan Crawford depicting a wanton temptress) and set in the South Pacific, thus going along with the Prohibition era/pre-Tiki theme. (The Beachcomber’s web site says the film was “reportedly” shot at Crystal Cove, but Wikipedia claims it was Catalina Island.)

The Bootlegger Bar patio


House of Tiki – Costa Mesa, CA

House of Tiki in Costa MesaIt’s hard enough to run a business in this economy, let alone one that caters to this wacky subculture (rest assured I mean that in the most endearing way). And so September meant bidding aloha to the House of Tiki.

Hawaiiana at the House of Tiki

This family-run shop brought a slice of Hawaii into a World War II Quonset hut in Costa Mesa.

Retro Hawaii posters and tiki lamp

You may not be able to visit the brick and mortar (er, bamboo and corrugated steel) location anymore, but you can still browse their wares courtesy of their eBay store.

Green Shakatiki mug

I picked up one of their signature Shaka Tiki mugs—the green one in the upper left corner—which were sculpted by Crazy Al. On the right, you may recognize Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I. immortalized in mug form.

Shaved iceThe owners graciously served up shaved ice for the folks who came out. Mr. Baseball, who melts in the heat, was much appreciative.

Nice ride!

Tiki Treasures & Polynesian Pinups II

Tiki Treasures & Polynesian Pinups

Just a few months late on this one, but I wanted to post a few pics from this summer’s Tiki Treasures & Polynesian Pinups II event at Bahooka… I wish I knew how to do my hair rockabilly-style like these ladies.

Kimo on steel guitar

Sadly, we couldn’t stay too long to hear all the musicians lined up, but we did catch a set from Kimo on steel guitar.

Tiki torch mugs from Go Tiki

Several vendors and artists set up tables for their wares, Go Tiki among them. I love the cleverness of their tiki torch mugs, so realistic!

Nelson's Tiki Hut
Nelson’s Tiki Hut
also had some great stuff—I scored an awesome handmade tiki frame decorated with netting and tiny glass fish floats.

Nelson's Tiki Hut frames

Mine’s the one in the middle (photo from Nelson’s Tiki Hut). In keeping with our tiki/baseball mashup, I put in it a photo of Mr. Baseball and I on the field at Dodger Stadium a summer or so ago.

Bahooka's Gold Cup

I was sipping on a Gold Cup ($6.50), which is billed as “rum, sugar and a touch of almond flavor,” but I mostly recall it tasting like pineapple juice. I would get it again, but there are so many other drinks to try!

Lanterns at Bahooka