I’ve been prepping for a trip to Walt Disney World in a week — too early to check out Trader Sam’s at the Poly, but oh well — and my weekly blogging schedule has suffered as a result. However, I’ve still been active over in the social media realm (Facebook, Twitter and fledgling Instagram account) so if you’d like to get a daily dose of tiki you can like/follow accordingly.
In case you missed it, here are some of the notable goings-on in tiki I’ve been posting about:
TIKI ROOM TREASURES
Lots of vintage Disneyland memorabilia — including an original bird from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room — are going up for auction this month. You can go see the items in person at the Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks from February 7-27. I’ll be checking it out this weekend and hope to blog about it soon thereafter.
Cafe Rustica and its upstairs tiki bar, Conga Lounge, announced it is closing this month. The last day of service will be February 21. The Bay Area has a wealth of great tiki bars, but it’s still sad to see a good one go.
Danny a.k.a. Tiki Diablo has designed a new mug for the Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles. They posted some preview photos over on the bar’s Facebook page. Look for it in March. He also created a unique tribute mug for the Royal Hawaiian Estates in Palm Springs. (Local pick up only at the moment.)
MY KIND OF TOWN
Which cocktail at Trader Vic’s Chicago was served with a floating gardenia? This “Ask Geoffrey” segment on Chicago Tonight answered that question — and happened to include one of my photos of the ill-fated Trader Vic’s Chicago reboot.
Eater highlighted a few tiki bars during its Classics Week: Tonga Room in San Francisco, Bali Hai in San Diego and The Alibi in Portland. El Segundo’s Purple Orchid was also just named Best Tiki Dive on Thrillist’s list of the 24 Essential LA Dive Bars.
I usually would say it’s too early to be thinking about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but this is a special case. The Tiki-Ti has just released their second signature tiki mug, a festive little number designed by Derek Yaniger and produced by Tiki Farm. “Kahuna Kalikimaka” has a silver jingle bell on his Santa cap, a red and green gift and “Tiki Ti” embossed on the back. The beard and expression remind me of Kon-Tiki.
Around 500 of these mugs were produced — they cost $25 each and are only available at the Tiki-Ti (and surely eBay eventually). However the Buhens are about to close up shop for their holiday break, so Saturday night is your last chance to get one until they re-open the bar on December 12.
UPDATE: Kahuna Kalikimaka mugs are now available for shipping. Check out the Tiki-Ti’s Facebook page for details.
Our First Trip to the Tiki-Ti
Holiday Drinks & Decor at Trader Sam’s
Tiki Wonderland at the Tonga Hut
A cocktail craze has been going on around the country and I don’t think it’s by complete coincidence that there’s another tiki revival going on too.
GQ magazine just published a list of the 25 Best Cocktail Bars in America, and while the majority of them seem to be of the nouveau speakeasy type where you might find bartenders in jaunty vests, they also included the Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles at #11. (Only three selections were from Southern California—the others were Cole’s/Varnish and The Edison—so that’s significant in itself.)
Kevin Sintumuang writes: “The menu lists fifty-two rum drinks, most of them potent and delicious. The best include mysterious homemade syrups far better than the high-fructose nonsense that gave tiki drinks a bad name. There are also two beers available. Literally two cans—one cold, one warm. They cost $20 each.”
Kudos to the Tiki-Ti, a much more fitting honor than last year’s spot on Details magazine’s Best Dive Bars in America round-up.
Another shout-out goes to Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, which topped their auxiliary list of the Best Spirit-Specific Cocktail Bars for having “the country’s best rum selection.”