Even if it's reborn as part of the newly-imagined Clifton's, many still mourned when aquarium-filled Bahooka tiki bar in Rosemead closed its doors recently. But in NoHo, the Tonga Hut will be celebrating its 55th birthday this year -- and appropriately for such an exotic craze, the phenomenon began right here in California.
Facebook/Purple Orchid Smokin' at the Purple Orchid
Ernest Gantt was just back from his travels in the South Pacific and couldn't get the memory of palm trees, nubile women and exotic carvings out of his head -- so he opened a bar called Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood in 1934. Trader Vic's opened in Oakland a few years later and many imitators followed across the country, as World War Two brought military tales of faraway islands back to these shores.
Times have changed, but there are still plenty of places you can throw on a Hawaiian shirt and feel right at home. Turn the page for our five favorite tiki bars here in Los Angeles.More »