Break out the rum. L.A.'s most famous tiki bar, Tiki-Ti, turns half-a-century old this week, and they're throwing a four-day party to celebrate.
Founded on April 28th, 1961 by Ray Buhen, the bar is something of an anachronism amid the city's slick cocktail haunts, a panoply of seashells, old license plates, fake flowers and tiki memorabilia filling every square inch of space behind the bar. With only 12 stools and a handful of tables, the Tiki-Ti is a true hole-in-the-wall. But the bartenders — that would be Ray's son and grandsons — can still make any of the 86 drinks on the menu, including the hands-down favorite, Ray's Mistake.
“I can't believe it's going to be 50 years,” muses Mike Buhen Sr. “I helped my dad along with a few other guys, but he decorated all of it. The bamboo, the cork, everything. And 50 years down the road, we're still here.”
To commemorate the milestone, the Tiki-Ti will host four days of raffles and drink specials, beginning this Wednesday and continuing through Saturday. The big party is on Thursday, the actual anniversary. There's a champagne toast around 8:30 p.m., and the Flatiron Truck will be parked outside, giving away coconut cupcakes to the first 300 people. The bartenders will be raffling off prizes like hats, t-shirts and bar memorabilia, and every night this week, the Tiki-Ti's Thursday rum punch will be available for $5 a cup.
One more thing: For the first time in its history, the Tiki-Ti has a tiki mug. Designed by Sven Kirsten, it's available for $30 while supplies last. (Buhen currently only has 200 mugs but expects more to arrive in May.)
Asked what he foresees for the Tiki-Ti's next 50 years, Buhen says, “I don't know. I'll leave that to my sons.”
When: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m., Wednesday, April 27th – Saturday, April 30th
Note: Cash only.