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Tonga Hut: A Nightlife Oasis in North Hollywood

Bahooka is gone but there are still spots to get your fix of tiki drinks

The Place
Though Tonga Hut is not L.A.’s most famous tiki bar, it is the oldest, and this month the watering hole celebrates its 55th birthday. Forget the run-down strip on which it’s located; inside, the joint has been restored into a midcentury tropical haven, with a fire pit and vintage moai fountain.

The People
Barflies (most of them friendly) mingle with tiki buffs and thirsty souls seeking a casual neighborhood spot. Polynesian-themed cocktails—the Old Skool Zombie is lethally strong—are stirred every day, but Hawaiian-shirt wearers gather on Sundays for informal meet-ups and occasional art shows. The newest drink, the bright blue Rufus, honors the fishy mascot at the recently departed Rosemead restaurant Bahooka.

The Payoff
Settle into a thatch-roofed vinyl booth and savor your safe landing on this lost island of retro kitsch.

Valley High: 12808 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood. 818-769-0708 or tongahut.com