Tiki-Ti is a small building in Silver Lake, with a big heart and a big fan base and I finally paid a visit. The last few summers I have made a goal to get more “tiki” and enjoy a few tropical cocktails during the hot months. Although we Angelenos are treated to year-round good weather, there’s just something about summer that screams “tiki”. I have a friend, Paula, who is just as obsessed with the Tiki theme as I am, and back in June we purchased tickets to a very special evening, “Alohaland” presented by none other than Charles Phoenix. The event was held at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach complete with hula dancers, Mai Tai cocktails and of course a retro-inspired slide show. Paula and I recently decided we couldn’t let the end of summer go by without another Tiki experience. We headed east one Thursday night and brought ourselves to the Tiki-Ti, officially in the Silver Lake neighborhood on Sunset Boulevard. We got super lucky and found street parking right in front!
Upon walking in, we were surprised at the size of the place, although everything we read about the place brought this to light. There are only 12 barstools and a handful of small tables…but 94 drinks on the menu! There was also a prominently displayed sign calling out Cash Only, which also was no surprise based on our prior research. We initially chose a table for two and began perusing the menu but then a beautiful blue drink caught our eye up at the bar. We moved closer and asked the gentlemen what he was drinking. Found out it was a Blue Hawaiian and that it was 3 times stronger than the other drinks at Tiki-Ti. Um, no thanks. But by then we were part of the friendly bar crowd and decided to belly up and enjoy the group conversation with our cocktails. Our server was a very cordial young man named Mark who we learned is a grandson of founder and master mixologist Ray Buhen.
You can see our drinks here; mine was called Ray’s Mistake (the tall one and the bar’s most popular drink) named after the entrepreneur who started this establishment back in 1961. There is not a food menu (that we were offered) though we did notice small bowls of snack mix. If you are there at just the right time (you would be lucky) the local Tamale Man will come in and offer homemade tamales for $3 each. Some of the best tamales we’ve ever had. Some of the most delicious Tiki drinks too! Found out that on Wednesday evenings Ray’s Mistake is available for $6 (half price) from 4 (opening hour) to 9pm. Meet you at the Tiki-Ti in Silver Lake!
By Trish Procetto