Tiki-Ti is closed indefinitely -- but not forever, owner says

Tiki-Ti bar on Sunset is closed for 'restructuring and stuff,' owner says

The Tiki-Ti, a classic, family-run Polynesian-themed bar that has graced Sunset Boulevard for more than five decades, jolted its loyal clientele Wednesday afternoon.

“The Tiki-Ti is indefinitely closed,” it posted on its Facebook page. “We apologize for any inconvenience. We will keep you posted on when we plan to reopen. We thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Reached by phone, Mike Buhen, whose father, Ray, founded the bar in 1961, hurried to dispel the idea that the closure might be permanent.

“We will be opening up,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re taking some time, doing some restructuring and stuff.”

He declined to estimate when the bar might reopen or describe what changes are being made.

The tiny Los Feliz bar, which boasts 92 tropical drinks and only 12 stools, is usually open Wednesdays through Saturdays and jam-packed with regulars.

Drunken nights at the Tiki-Ti usually involve attempting to count the dozens of tiki mugs strewn around the bar while trying to keep the room from spinning. Practically every inch of the tiny lounge is covered with knickknacks of every variety, from dashboard Hawaiian girls with swinging hips to Lakers pins. It’s sensory overload at its finest. 

One hallmark of the bar is its long-reigning traditions. When an Uga Booga drink is ordered, the whole room bursts out in chants of “uga booga.” When a Blood & Sand is prepared, people know to yell “toro, toro, toro.” A board on the wall lists “patrons of rare character”: those who have transcended “regular” status and graduated into legends.

The Tiki-Ti has also been one of the few bars in California that still allow smoking indoors — it says that because it’s an owner-operated establishment with no employees, the state’s smoking ban does not apply.

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Times staff writers Jenn Harris and Noelle Carter contributed to this report.

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