Tonga Hut tiki lounge to open in Palm Springs in February

January 20th, 2014 | by Xochitl Pena | Comments

Tiki LoungeThe Tonga Hut has made a name for itself in North Hollywood as the oldest Tiki bar still operating in the Los Angeles area. It opened in 1958.

The purveyor of umbrella drinks hopes to make a name for itself locally when it opens a second location in downtown Palm Springs sometime in February at 254 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

Located above NYPD, a bar and pizza place and near several other watering holes, the Tonga Hut will add to the bevy of downtown spots to grab a cocktail.

“People mistake Tiki with anything tropical and bright colors. When you’re in the tiki community there is a dividing line with what is tiki and what is not. We are,” said Claudia Murphy, one of the partners of the Tonga Hut.

The establishment’s interior features carved tiki  gods and other design aspects that pay respect to the old Polynesian culture.  And each booth has a display case that features memorabilia from tiki places that came before like Don the Beachcomber, said Murphy.

Unlike its LA counterpart though, the Palm Springs location will serve Polynesian food.

The menu is still being finalized, but Murphy said it will feature for example, a Pu Pu Platter that is served with a flame coming out of the middle.

“When you come to the Tonga Hut you’re having an experience, not just a meal,” she said.

Fans of the LA location should be happy to know the same drink menu will carry over with a few additions, said Murphy.Tiki Lounge 1

It will include such classics as the Mai Tai, Blue Hawaiian and Dark and Stormy.  House specialties like the Old Skool Zombie, Voodoo Juice and Rhumboogie will also be served.  There are also seasonal drinks and bowls that serve up to four people.

“In the mixology world we’re known for using high quality ingredients and crafting really good drinks,” said Murphy.

The North Hollywood  location has what is called the Loyal Order of the Drooling Bastard, which is an exclusive club where inductees have to drink around 80 specialty drinks off the “Grog  Log” within a year.  People that achieve that goal receive a plaque commemorating their achievement and get $1 off premium cocktails for the rest of their lives.

Murphy said they will likely do a local version of that. Challenge seekers prepare.

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