Tiki time in Southern California
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.