Your Tiki Road Map To Southern California

Jump in your Jeep and explore the land of Polynesian Pop
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America’s fascination with tropical drinks and the South Seas traces its roots back to bars in 1930s Hollywood. Today you can experience tiki culture in dozens of locations throughout Southern California. It would take a good strong dose of Kona coffee to hit all these ultra tikified locations in a weekend, but we present your tiki road map, a guide to the finest muu muus and pu pus from Santa Monica to San Diego just waiting for their close up on your Instagram. Get a bunch of friends in the car and plot a course that takes you on a journey through the best island fantasy worlds the golden state has to offer and explore every aspect of the tiki pop lifestyle, from Disneyland to stylish midcentury apartment buildings. Your pit stops will be dining and drinking spots including the latest versions of Trader Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber, bars that spread the style across the country. We end up at a glamorous luxury resort hotel which throws the biggest tiki party of the year every summer. Here are thirty-two spots for drinking, dancing…and sleeping it off.

The Galley

Our expedition starts at the beach. Santa Monica’s oldest restaurant is this nautical themed spot with a tiki bar.


Trader Vic’s

After a run of 50 years, Trader Vic’s at the Beverly Hilton downsized into a teensy lounge, but the tropical drinks are still flowing poolside.


The Coconut Club

This secret supper club mysteriously appears in unexpected locations to create one-night-only themed dining experiences with a theatrical Polynesian motif.


Tiki Bash at Descanso Gardens


The 150-acre garden is a lush place to get lost anytime, and especially before the “hula buffet dinner and classic cocktails” being served up this weekend.


Tiki No

Sink into a dimly lit booth with your honey and enjoy a Scorpion Bowl for two.


Kahuna Tiki

The only spot on our list that specializes in sushi also has a secret cave for you to explore.


Tonga Hut

 

The oldest tiki bar in L.A. was restored in recent years and added a second location in Palm Springs.

 


Damon’s

Steaks on the plates, fish in the tanks, and tropical drinks at the bar have been the signature of Damon’s since 1937.


Tiki Ti

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Get to the teensy tiny Tiki Ti in Los Feliz early to avoid waiting in line  for a seat.


Sanford’s Foothill Fountains

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#tiki#cement#cocktail

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Concerned about wood rot? Pick up an indestructible concrete idol that will probably outlive you, your tiki bar, and your entire house.


Exotical

The largest purveyor of Aloha shirts I’ve ever seen is Exotical, where mom, dad, and babies can all pick up matching resort wear.


Oceanic Arts

Robert E. Van Oosting and LeRoy Schmaltz are living legends of tiki. Their incredible decor warehouse has outfitted restaurants, theme parks, and home bars for generations.

Tiki Beach Festival at Alfredo’s Beach Club

This weekend’s fest offers hula dancing, tiki carving, and the beach itself. Celebrate on the sand.



Tiki Apartments

In a land of dingbat apartments, these are probably the most stylish of all. The mosaic and neon provide the perfect background for your self portrait on the way to Tiki Oasis.


Purple Orchid

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A petite gem hidden in a sleepy downtown across the street from Old Town Music Hall, home of silent movies, organ concerts, and follow-the-bouncing-ball singalongs.


Fry’s Electronics

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A trip to Fry’s can be an encounter with sci-fi aliens or the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland, but the Manhattan Beach store is a tiki wonderland with bamboo, tropical fish, and giant Moai sculptures mixed among the electronics.


Trader Sam’s

Nestled in the gardens of the Disneyland Hotel is this densely packed and interactive tribute to the heyday of the tiki lounge created by Walt Disney Imagineering.


Tangaroa Terrace

This tropical snack shack attached to Trader Sam’s is named after the Tahitian Terrace, a long-gone restaurant at Disneyland.


Adventureland Suite at the Disneyland Hotel

A group of pricey but luxe theme rooms at the Disneyland Hotel pay tribute to pirates, the Big Thunder Railroad, and princesses, but this one is dedicated to the spirit of adventure.


Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Walt Disney’s masterpiece is a 15-minute electronic serenade from the South Seas.


Benson’s Tropical Sea Imports

Bamboo fencing
Bamboo fencing

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Bamboo, thatch, and all the fixins you need to build your home tiki bar are available at this warehouse store.


Billy’s at the Beach

What Billy’s lacks in outlandish decor it makes up for in nightly live music from the islands.


Don the Beachcomber

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Pit stop at #donthebeachcomber on the way to #tikioasis

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This sprawling wonderland began as Sam’s Seafood in 1937 and today operates as an outpost of Don the Beachcomber, the Hollywood restaurant that started the tiki craze more than 75 years ago.


The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove

More nautical than tiki, but it just feels right. Drop in at this seaside cafe nestled in a restored village of vintage tourist cabins or make a reservation and spend the night.


Tiki Boat

There’s still a little seaside funk left in Balboa so it’s the perfect place to depart on your excursion aboard the Tiki Boat. The little guys like being near the water.


Royal Hawaiian

This 1947 institution along the Coast Highway is set to reopen any day now.


Tiki Farm

Holden Westland single-handedly brought back the lost art of the tiki mug with his San Clemente factory. Visit his showroom and bring home a crate for your next party or have him create one of your own design.


Bamboo2U

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Get your #tiki on!

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Tiki tchotchkes to decorate your beach house or your neck.


Cat Eye Club

An homage to midcentury cocktail lounges that combines the modern and the primitive.


Trader Mort’s Liquor

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A mandatory photo (and rum) stop on your way to Tiki Oasis.


Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn

All the birds sing words and the flowers croon at this vintage hotel on Shelter Island.


Bali Hai

Mr. Bali Hai (Left) and “The Goof” are icons of planet tiki and the original mascots of this 60-year-old landmark.


Sunset Luaus at the Catamaran Hotel

Every Friday night during the summer you can enjoy the full-on Hawaiian experience and dig into a roast Kalua pig at this luxury resort.


Tiki Town Adventure Golf

Finally! The worlds of mini golf and tiki have been combined to create this magnificent sports emporium. Putt a hole-in-one into the volcano and win a free Dole Whip.


Tiki Oasis at the Crowne Plaza Hotel

You have arrived! Revel in the sights, sounds, and culture of your 1960s Polynesian fantasy with 3000 new like-minded friends.


 

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