12808 Victory Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91606
Hours: Monday—Sunday, 4pm-2am
Type of Bar: Tiki
What to Drink: DB Punch or the Rhumboogie
Why You Should Go: Oldest existing (original) Tiki bar in
the LA area, great décor, killer drinks, and the Loyal Order
of the Drooling Bastard.
There are tiki bars and then there are tiki bars. And then there is the Tonga Hut!
The Tonga Hut is located at 12808 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood, CA. What makes this place so fantastic is the fact that it is the oldest surviving tiki bar in the LA area. Two brothers founded this joint in 1958 after they were inspired by a trip to Tonga.
When it opened, the Tonga Hut joined hundreds of other tiki bars and restaraunts making their appearance across the country. But this one is different in two respects. First, it opened in what would have been the vortex of the surfing and tiki culture in the late 1950's. And second, because it's just about the only one that survived so long.
As we found, it has a loyal and extensive following. In fact when we announced that we'd just made the video of it, one of our Twitter followers remarked "COOL! It still exists?"
Owned and lovingly restored by Jeremy Fleener, guitarist for SX-10 (and formerly for Cyprus Hill) who fell in love with the Tonga Hut the first time he visited it back in the 90's. He finally bought it in 2008 and has spent just about every waking moment polishing it up and turning it back into its previous self.
And he's doing it right. The decor is some of the best understated tiki we've seen, the drinks are heavy on the alcohol, the people are fun and the place is simply amazing. Put the Tonga Hut on your short list!