Tiki Ti, the beloved Los Feliz tiki bar, has been giving us some anxiety in recent weeks. First they put up a sign saying they were closing "indefinitely." Then people started to fret that "indefinitely" meant "forever." Then it reopened. Hurrah!
But now comes the announcement that one of the bar's most famous attributes — that it is a smoking bar in a no-indoor-smoking city — is going away. Last night it was announced on Facebook:
Do Y'all remember the April fools joke we had a couple of years ago about no more smoking at the Tiki Ti? Yeah, well as of June 1, the Tiki Ti will be a non smoking bar, just like everyone else. No joke. You can still smoke outside, but this will be our last "indoor smoking" week at the Ti. Peace. Out. ::Drops mic::
Tiki Ti has long gotten away with allowing folks to smoke inside because the bar has no employees — it is run exclusively by the Buhen family. The law banning smoking is designed to protect employees from secondhand smoke.
Last year when I interviewed patriarch Mike Buhen for our 2014 People Issue, I asked him about rumors I'd heard that he himself wanted to ban smoking at the bar but felt he couldn't because it would disappoint patrons. At the time he denied the rumor, claimed he enjoyed smoking cigars both in and outside of his bar, and said there was no plan to stop smoking at the Ti.
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Either he's changed his mind, or they've decided to hire an employee. Either way, customer reactions in the comments on the Facebook post seem to be mainly positive.