Here in “The Valley” we already have the Tonga Hut, and the Tiki-Ti is just over the hill, but it was still very exciting to hear that a new tiki bar was opening last month in North Hollywood: Tiki No (as in NoHo).
There were initially rumors that maybe it was a reincarnation of the Lucky Tiki (the defunct Mission Hills bar that was also my first tiki bar visit). But no, apparently the space used to be a low-key lounge called Match, and the owners decided to turn it tiki!
And they hired the right beachbum for the job: Bamboo Ben. The decor is topnotch, with pufferfish lights, bamboo-lined walls, and thatch rooves over the bar and booths. I especially liked the shipping containers hanging from the ceiling, kind of gave it the feeling of an island trading post.
A lot of patrons, including us, started off by asking the bartender what she recommended. When she replied, “Sup,” this was almost always responded to with a “Huh?” The menu revealed that the Sup ($11) is their very tasty version of a Painkiller. (It’s kind of like a Piña Colada, but it doesn’t sound as silly to order.)
On the left is the All-Black ($15), made with dark rum, blackberry juice and kiwi purée. I was a little put off by the texture and spice flavors, but I’d give this one another shot though since it seems to be a favorite with others.
She also told us how nobody believes her that the Raging Bull ($10), a nightcap of Scotch, milk and honey, is actually pretty good. Mr. Hockey decided to live dangerously and order it, and we had to agree. The interwebs say this has been a popular drink over the years for folks with ulcers and, according to Esquire, Dizzy Gillespie.
These tiki cocktails can add up, so for the cost-conscious the Mai Tai is always $5, and there’s happy hour on weekdays from 4-7 p.m. I believe their mugs were also available to keep for an extra $2 — they said they didn’t have any plans yet for signature designs.
There’s plenty of things to look at behind the bar (Chinese dragon…pig with a jaunty cap…) but they also have a couple vintage-style televisions that were showing “The Magnificent Seven” when we were there. We dug the eclectic music, ranging from Fats Domino and Elvis to Bob Dylan to The Bird and the Bee.
I hear there’s DJs on Fridays and Saturdays, though I prefer the more chill vibe of an off-night. There’s a covered patio where smokers can congregate; it’s not tiki but the Edison-esque pendant lights are a neat touch.
Overall I think Tiki No is an excellent addition to the So Cal tiki scene. Like Frankie’s Tiki Room in Vegas, it really nails the feeling of pseudo-Polynesian escapism. And when I want to introduce folks to the wonderful world of tiki, I might just start taking them here.
4657 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91602