The San Fernando Valley has many names. Some people refer to it as “the Valley.” Others may call it “North Hollywood.” The “No” in Tiki No is a reference to North Hollywood. The Valley has the oldest Tiki bar in So-Cal, which is the Tonga Hut. Now the Valley has the newest one with Tiki No. Visiting two great Tiki bars is totally worth the trip to North Hollywood!
Most artists use brushes and paint to create their art, but Brian Rechenmacher does it differently. He uses his computer! Taking full advantage of the technology that we have today, Brian creates Tiki and Disney themed “paintings” that are truly stunning and very cool. On top of being a digital Tiki artist, Brian has spent time behind the bar mixing Tiki cocktails at Trader Sam’s at Disneyland and Forbidden Island in Alameda, CA. Sometimes, Brian takes off the Aloha shirt and slips on a shirt and tie to make craft cocktails at Five Points in San Jose.
I had a chance to ask Brian a couple questions…
The late ’80s/early ’90s was a great time for music and no, I’m not talking about grunge! There started to be a renewed interest in music from the Mid-Century, music like jazz, swing, exotica, surf, and lounge. It was mostly punk and alternative types that re-discovered all this great music and leather jackets and boots were replaced with suits and skinny ties.
Russell Scheidelman is one of these punks that got turned on to this great music from the ’60s and went head-on into the Seattle lounge scene. Russell is one sharped-dressed man who channels Andy Warhol and John Steed from the Avengers.
“Looking for a dime and found a quarter…”
This line is from the song “Something From Nothing” by the Foo Fighters and I keep thinking about the line as I write this post.
The Tonga Hut is a Tiki bar that turned into a dive bar, then turned into a Tiki bar again. It’s the oldest Tiki bar in Los Angeles, opening for business in 1958. Tiki was very popular back in the ’50s, but by the time the late ’60s rolled around, people had moved on to other things like polyester pants and underpowered automobiles.
Every journey starts with a first step, but sometimes you may forget when and where that first step might have been. When it comes to the living the Tiki lifestyle, it usually starts by walking into your first Tiki bar. Then you hit another. Then you buy a Tiki mug. Then you buy another, etc.
I can remember my first Tiki bar. It was Hula Hula in Seattle, WA…
The year was 2006. In theory, Hula Hula should’ve been my first step in the Tiki world, but actually, it wasn’t. My first step was at an amusement park in Pennsylvania called Knoebels Grove…
There is power in a name.
Hey Gang! I’m excited to announce that I did a guest blog post over at Acan Review! They do reviews of all types of cocktails and spirits. They asked if I would like to contribute, I said Hell Yes!
My post is about how the make a Planter’s Punch using the Jamaican recipe.
Click here to check it out! –Ray
It seems like most people I meet who love Tiki also love Mid-Century modern. Why is that? Well, I have a theory.