Five great tiki bars to transport you
Trader Vic's. The Beverly Hilton's secret weapon for nearly 50 years, this posh restaurant and bar is famous for its potent Mai Tai ($9.75) and the fascinating crowd it attracts. 9876 Wilshire Blvd.; 310/276-6345.
Purple Orchid. Puffer-fish light fixtures hang from the ceiling and locals shoot pool in the back of this neighborhood bar. Its namesake signature drink is a mix of vodka, honey, lime, and raspberry ($6). 221 Richmond St.; 310/322-5829.
Tiki-Ti. The South Pacific approaches Silver Lake at this tiny spot run by father and son Mike and Mike Buhen. Despite a meager 12 stools at the bar, the Mikes serve more than 80 varieties of tropical drinks, 50 rum-based. Cash only. Closed Mon-Tue. 4427 Sunset Blvd.; 323/669-9381.
Bali Hai Restaurant. Over-the-top South Pacific decor, a stunning view of downtown, and the Volcano Pupu Platter make the Bali Hai a tiki classic. The smallish bar sits inside a semicircular restaurant . 2230 Shelter Island Dr.; 619/222-1181.
Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge. In the heart of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, the trendy establishment features carved totems, glassblown fish, and a 48-ounce (no ice) Mondo Martiki serving four for a hefty $35. 801 Fifth Ave.; 619/233-1183.