Are your summer vacation plans taking you to Hawaii? If so, lucky you! Maybe your summer plans are taking you as far west as Los Angeles. If so, lucky you! I live in Los Angeles and as a Tour Guide I am always on the lookout for fun activities and adventures for myself and for referring to my guests. Recently I’ve been on a TIKI kick, and found myself at Trader Vic’s at LA Live by the Staples Center. I LOVED the Trader Vic’s in the Beverly Hilton (where I had my first and only Scorpion Bowl) but since it’s gone this one will have to do. I’ll admit the food and service were just ok, but the ambiance and décor never disappoints and my Mai Tai was sweet and fabulous. Did you know Mai Tai means “the very best” in Tahitian? Victor Bergeron, the original Trader Vic, brought his love of the islands to his restaurant in Oakland CA after extensive travel through the South Seas, inventing the Mai Tai in 1944. While in LA if you want to inject the spirit of the islands into your day, head to Trader Vic’s for a little tropical retreat.
A few other places in LA that might pique your Polynesian interest are The Purple Orchid in El Segundo, which is in close proximity to the LAX area hotels. It is most definitely a dive bar with pool tables and a jukebox, but their tiki drinks are potent and reasonably priced. If you find yourself in the now cool NoHo neighborhood (North Hollywood) there’s a place on Victory Boulevard called Tonga Hut Tiki Lounge that gets a solid 4 stars on YELP. Farther east, in fact east of the 101 on Sunset Boulevard, is the Tiki-Ti Cocktail Lounge that has a 4.5 star rating on YELP! It’s cash only so I’ll remember that when I visit. This is going to be the summer of Tiki for me!