(Walking in a) Tiki Wonderland at the Tonga Hut

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Maybe you’ve already started taking down the holiday decorations, but I just have to sneak one more festive post in. (I guess my new year’s resolution should be to be more timely with my blogging…)

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Last month, the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood hosted their annual Tiki Wonderland event with tiki vendors, art, tunes and tacos.

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Mr. Hockey was a good sport and accompanied me, and I think he’s glad he did because the art show introduced him to Krampus. He loves the idea of this scary beast that kidnaps the naughty children at Christmas.

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Tonga Hut had some new merchandise available at their booth, including a T-shirt collaboration ($20) with Vintage Roadside and signature rum barrel mugs produced by Tiki Farm in two glazes ($20).

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Meanwhile, Trader Pup’s Outpost had these neat tapa-style print stockings with shell necklace details ($16). I picked up the red and green ones to hang under my Bamboo Ben outrigger mug shelf in our tiki room.

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Polynesiac Jim makes awesome tiki ornaments (featured in last year’s Tiki Holiday Gift Guide). One of this year’s new designs was based on the “tiki babies” that come down from the Tangaroa tree at Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room. I also loved these Kon-Tiki pirate pendants!

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When Bahooka closed last year, they sold some of the decor during their final days but there was still a lot left. A tiki fan named Steve made a deal with the new owners to purchase all the remaining barrel lamps, plastic parrots and other things. He has a thread on Tiki Central where people can contact him about buying some of these Bahooka artifacts. I talked with him quite a bit and he seems like a real stand-up dude.

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I spent most of the time browsing the wares in the parking lot, but we did duck inside the bar so I could sample the Tonga Hut Rum Barrel ($12), a recent addition to the cocktail menu made with Montanya and Demerara rums, juices, homemade falernum and pimento dram. It was smooth and a little spicy and — as advertised — “everything a tiki drink should be.”

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Related Posts:
Tiki Wonderland 2010 at Tonga Hut
Saying Goodbye to Bahooka
Reviews of Tiki Bars in Los Angeles

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Giveaway + Tonga Hut’s 55th Anniversary Celebration

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Last Sunday the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood celebrated its 55th anniversary with an art show, live music and the debut of new merch, including t-shirts, Mai Tai glasses and tiki mugs. (They also took this opportunity to announce that Tonga Hut will open a new location in Palm Springs!

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Since one of the mugs was designed by Shag — and limited to 155 — a considerable line for the merch table had already formed when we arrived a little after the noon start time.

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Shag’s elongated design ($85) is inspired by the tiki near the entrance to the bar, while the open-edition Drooling Bastard mug ($60, included a drink) pays tribute to the fountain inside.

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The art show is always a highlight at these special events at the Tonga Hut. This one included submissions from Doug Horne, Eric October, Philippe Tilikete and other creative folks.

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The bands Casino 66 and Creepxotica performed inside while the parking lot behind the bar featured a bunch of tiki and vintage vendors.

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Deadhead Rum had set up a thatched hut booth that showed off custom decorated “tsantsa” (shrunken head) bottles of their rum. They were also offering free samples of their rum and tequila.

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Just one of the many neat things for sale were these Pyrates of Lana Pua bottles. Each was decorated with a combination of shells, nautical charms and authentic African trading beads.

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I was also enamored with these bejeweled bracelets from Amy, co-owner of the Tonga Hut. I couldn’t resist getting this one…(As if I needed more Enchanted Tiki Room stuff, right? Oh well.)

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Meanwhile, Eric October had designed a print for the Tonga Hut — and Drooling Bastard buttons to boot — and Tiki Val turned the fabric into shirts and other wearable art. (They had also done the same for Bahooka when it closed.)

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The first 200 people at the event received a goodie bag filled with Tonga Hut swizzles, coasters, matchbooks, stickers and bookmark with Shag’s mug design on one side and the recipe for Tonga Hut’s Hawaiian Eye on the other.

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Mr. Hockey has graciously donated his swag bag to be awarded to one lucky reader! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post with a happy birthday message for the Tonga Hut. (Bonus entries can be earned by liking The Tiki Chick on Facebook or following me on Twitter — just leave a comment letting me you’ve done so.) I’ll randomly choose a winner by Tuesday, August 6. (Comments have to be approved on this blog, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t appear right away.)

Related Posts:
Reviews of Tiki Bars in Los Angeles
Tiki Bob Art Show at Tonga Hut
Tonga Hut’s Halloween Art Show

Tiki Bob Art Show at the Tonga Hut

Last Sunday, the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood hosted an art show that paid tribute to Tiki Bob, which is considered to be the first mass-produced tiki mug. It was the signature logo for Tiki Bob’s in San Francisco, which was infamous for boosting lunchtime business with lingerie fashion shows. (Photo by third-i-photo)

Kelly Reilly created three special cocktails for the occasion. Pictured is the Tiki Bob, which seemed to be quite popular, especially when people started noticing that it was finished off with a rum float…

Tiki Bob’s smiley visage inspired a slew of new ceramics, including OceaOtica‘s Zombie Bobs (upper left) and Ernie’s Blue Bob and Cutesy Bob (middle) and my personal favorite, Minimalist Bob (upper right).

Eric October made this diorama of the exterior of the restaurant, with a detachable mug serving as the Tiki Bob column that still stands at that location today. (It’s less than a mile away from the Tonga Room.)

I’d been impressed by MP‘s pirate-themed art at the Halloween Tonga Hut show, and he did it again with this “Suffering Bob” painted clay clasting in an awesome vintage frame.

This time the skull and crossbones — which is sort of a second cousin to tiki style, what with all the rum and tropical environs associated with it — was represented in this piece from Jake.

And Taboo Island was offering these vintage-style Tiki Bob signs. Most of the art sold very quickly, but there are still some pieces available for purchase in this Tiki Central thread.