Palm Springs: Why I Love The Tonga Hut

Palm Springs: Why I Love The Tonga Hut

Los Angeles’ oldest surviving tiki establishment, the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood, was established in 1958. I haven’t been there. I’m not sure if that makes me a bad tikiphile, a bad Valley girl, or both.

The Tonga Hut does, however, have a sister location in Palm Springs. And if I lived closer, I’d be drinking mocktails there every week.

Put simply, I love this place. The staff are clearly passionate about tiki, it’s family-friendly (since THPS has a dining room with no age requirement), glass cases in the dining room display artifacts from Palm Springs’ shuttered tiki establishments of yesteryear, and if you want a booze-free drink for any reason, they’ll make something for you. This isn’t a “true vintage” tiki hideaway (it opened in 2014), but it looks and feels like one.

The music is good – exotica, surf, and early rock and roll. (After 10pm, beware of disco.)

I wish I could live here. You probably will, too.

This rock wall greets you as you enter.

Resin chunk lamps, weathered wood, and a beautiful island girl on black velvet.

There is a secret room! The staff are very proud of it, and will show you if you ask to see it (assuming it’s not in use).

Someone put a LOT of time, effort, and money into making the coolest hidden room I’ve ever seen.

Now THIS is a ceiling.

Another angle on the secret room.

Past the secret room, there is a smoking patio. I really hope this isn’t real Witco…I’ve seen what smoke does to carved wood.

Nautical artifacts in the secret room.

I’m dying to make a diving helmet into a lamp.

I happened to have my camera out when someone got a Scorpion bowl.

Here’s something you don’t see every day: the bar back cupboards have sliding resin-chunk doors!

Bottoms up!

I will be back – as often as possible.

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