Spotlight: Tiki Ti
Posted by Stephen Manning on Jul 17, 2012 - 11:58:50 AM
LOS FELIZ—There are few places in Los Angeles where you can
truly get away. No matter where you go, inevitably you will have to deal with
one of the downsides of living here: Traffic, hipsters, trash, overcrowded
scenes. But there are a few places where you can escape all of that and take a
little vacation for a few hours. Tiki Ti is one of them.
Ok, so you may not escape the crowding issue, the tiny Tiki
Ti Bar has just 12 barstools and a few tiny tables pushed up against the wall.
You may not escape all the hipsters either, but for the most part, at this
authentic Hawaii bar, you’ll experience a mix of the young and old, the hip and
the not-so-hip, all trying to take a break while sipping on a tropical drinks.
Make it through the line into the door, and the first thing
you’re stuck by is the amount of color and decoration. Colorful lights are
everywhere, and hanging from above the bar are countless decorations straight
from the islands (no the shrunken head is not real). Cigar smoke fills the
room, and your first thought when you see the small “Smoking Permitted” sign,
will probably be the same as my own “isn’t that illegal?” But I learned since
Tiki Ti is owner operated and they have no employees, they can pretty much do
whatever they want.
If you think you’re an expert on tropical drinks, you’re
wrong. Trust me. The menu has 92 drinks on it, none of which are labeled with
ingredients. As my eyes scanned through the odd names “Vicious Virgin”and “Puka
Puka”, a friend who had been there before read my mind and gave me the perfect
piece of advice for a newcomer “Just order something you don’t mind shouting
the name of!”
After deciding on something called “Hong Kong” I receive an
orange-brown drink that when I sip, takes me to a place of warm tropical breezes
and soft music. Looking around the bar I see drinks of various shades of green,
blue, pink. I look up and notice the hundreds of cards pinned to the wall,
signed with the names of the regulars that have frequented Tiki Ti over the
years since the bar opened in 1961. I briefly wonder what it takes to become a
regular at a bar that offers nearly 100 drinks.
Michael and Mike Buhen both stand behind the bar, they are
the sons of legendary mixologist Ray Buhen, who opened Tiki Ti. Carrying on
their father’s tradition of practicing the “Lost Art” of Exotic Cocktail
mixing, the two brothers are maintaining something very rare in LA: a momentary
vacation, a brief getaway from the modern problems that come with being a Los
Walking out of Tiki Ti, I half expected to step out onto a
dark beach in Hawaii, waves rolling in the distance. I was slightly
disappointed when I made it out onto the sidewalk of Hollywood Blvd instead,
and realized I would probably have to face LA traffic on my way home.
Tiki Ti is at 4427 Sunset
Blvd, Hollywood, CA. For more information visit: http://www.tiki-ti.com/pages
Serving Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills. Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Los Feliz, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Topanga, Canyon, Westwood & Hollywood Hills.