In 2022, there will be a telephone booth in Tonga Hat in Palm Springs. Instead of a self-supporting Superman changing clothes, old-fashioned telephone booths in bars and restaurants are set up directly on the walls of the joints, like a permanent, immovable monument.You will be allowed to think that it is only part of the mid-century affection found in almost every Tiki bar, and yes, it is. absolutely Some of them. But more importantly, the phone booth is a passageway to the mysteries and mysteries of the entire Tiki experience. It’s not a phone booth, but a hidden portal to the forgotten world, the entrance to the secret room of Tonga Hat.

Passing through the other wall of the phone booth, you’ll travel back in time to the peak era of post-war Tiki bars. Kevin Murphy, owner of both Palm Springston Tongahat and the original bar in North Hollywood, is a secret room with chocks and artifacts recovered from the myriad Tiki bars scattered throughout California’s nightlife in the 1940s and 1970s. I decorated it. At the bar, which is already fully engaged in the classic Tiki experience, its secret room is ne plus ultra. This is a beautiful distillation of what Don Beach and Trader Vic’s were aiming for when they first opened the bar in the 1930s.



It’s not just about going to the Tiki bar and drinking. You go to Tiki Bar and escape from the mundane and confused world where we all have to struggle every day in our lives. Los Angeles has fled to the original Tonga hat since 1958. The Palm Springs Tonga Hat has been around since 2013 and has no years, but no details. Climbing the stairs makes you feel like you’re back in the past. And as a town Tiki bar almost entirely devoted to leisure, Palm Springs Tonga Hat has its own spirit. It’s like a vacation from vacation.

Palm Springs is a simple town. You go there to relax and have fun or hang out in the pool. Most places worth visiting are on Palm Canyon Drive, or within a block or two in either direction. Tonga Hat is right next to the main drug, which is a sign of Tiki’s splendor, surrounded by a variety of popular bars and restaurants. Despite a serious dedication to the theme, it is a flexible space open to the whims and desires of any audience. The night I was there, I saw guests playing board games over beer and non-tiki cocktails. The Tiki soundtrack gradually gave way to a disco playlist suitable for the last bachelorette party on the balcony.

But if you’re a Tiki traditionalist, don’t worry. Tonga Hat takes its work seriously with the themes and decorations you expect from a top-notch Tiki bar. The cocktail list is full of classics such as Mai Tai and zombies, but there’s also an original deep bench, some of which can stand side by side with your old favorite cocktails. Bermuda Dunes was my favorite. It is (of course) a mixture of rum and a very important additive of citrus, almonds, and all-spices, giving a little kick through the sweet burns of rum. If you swing by the hut, make sure it’s on your drink list.


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Tonga Hat also decisively checks the major Tiki boxes that many of today’s bars avoid. It serves food and its menu is not only full of classic Chinese restaurant classics, but also some dishes inspired by Hawaiian cuisine. Yes, you can order egg rolls and dumplings, but you can also enjoy cala pork in the form of a convenient slider. You can also get several different spam dishes. Unfortunately there is no spam musubi, but Loco Moco puts spam patties on top of steamed rice. You can also order two spam sliders, along with some spicy spices and french fries sprinkled with Sriracha mayonnaise. I tore some of those sliders while lowering my first Maitai and flushed the french fries with Bermuda Dunes.

Tonga hats have completely nailed the basics of a great Tiki bar, but don’t expect anything too extravagant. It’s not one of the ultra-Disney Tiki bars like Tiki Tatsu-Ya in Austin, Golden Tiki in Las Vegas, or Disney trader Sam’s. Ordering a particular cocktail will not cause the lights to quiver or the room to shake.Me Love As such, I also love bars that are well designed and confident enough to forget about flashy tricks. And while those places all have their own secrets, there is no private party room that looks like a pirate ship cargo store hidden behind a fake phone booth. That is the promise of the Tonga hat.



Senior Editor Garrett Martin writes about video games, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in the way of him.He is also on twitter @grmartin..