September 9, 2005

Bahooka Ribs & Grog in Rosemead

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:41 pm
Bahooka in Rosemead - photo by Humuhumu
Bahooka in Rosemead

When I was a little girl, my brother and I could select any restaurant we wanted for our birthday, any restaurant, and without fail we chose… Sea Galley. Sea Galley was a nautical-themed chain restaurant, most famous at the time for their commercials advertising their crab legs. (“We’ve got crab legs! Sea Galley! We’ve got crab legs! Sea Galley!) Sea Galley was dark and felt very large and labyrinthine to my eight-year-old eyes — to me, Sea Galley was the very height of grown-up elegance. We got to sit in a booth surrounded by netting, fish floats and large ropes, and order kiddie cocktails, and every trip to the salad bar felt like an expedition. It was magical.

It makes me a little sad to think back on that and realize that sense of wonder is much harder to come by these days. That’s why Bahooka will always be special to me: it’s a nautical/tiki-themed restaurant that is so bizarre, so encrusted with details, so maze-like, that it manages to evoke that same sense of childlike awe.

Bahooka has been in Rosemead since 1976, and started before that in West Covina in 1967. Bahooka has two major gimmicks: fishtanks — there are more than one hundred fishtanks throughout the restaurant — and flame. The staff have fire, in the form of lemon extract-soaked croutons, and they’re not afraid to use it, on anything from Jet Pilots to coleslaw. The details at Bahooka never end. There are so many red plastic parrots attached to the ceiling, some lit, some not, that we’ve often debated whether it would even really be possible to count them all. I suppose some day we’ll have to at least attempt it.

Ookoo lady and Krustiki are longtime Bahooka fans, and on a recent visit they talked about Bahooka’s history with the bartender, Stacy. They’ve shared what they learned on Tiki Central, along with some great photos.

3 Responses to “Bahooka Ribs & Grog in Rosemead”

  1. MrBaliHai Says:

    Bahooka is another one of those places I lived a stone’s throw away from for years and never realized it was there until L.A. Bizarro came out.

    I also used to hang out at a roller rink in Whittier about a block from Oceanic Arts and never once noticed it.

  2. John Says:

    I use to go to Mt SAC with a guy who bartended at the Bahooka in West Covina. He wore a HUGE beard…short white guy. Anyone remember this guy? He always tried to get me to stop by for a drink. I should have.

  3. Beth Hart Says:

    It was great to read your Seagalley Story. There are 2 left. We own the one in Yakima, Wa. If you are ever in Yakima please stop in.


    Vist our website if you get time.

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About Humuhumu
Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

- Website Design and Programming

- A Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

- Tiki Mugs & More: Track & View Collections




Arkiva Tropika
Mimi Payne’s massive Polynesian Pop collection

Barefoot Bloggin’
A surfin’, ukein’, freewheelin’ monkey boy

Beachbum Berry
Author of Grog Log and Intoxica!, and one of my dearest drinkin’ buddies
Blog from the user interface designer extraordinaire

Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

Dumb Angel
A look at the 1960s Los Angeles mod, pop, surf, and music scene

Eye of the Goof
Pop culture with a tiki tinge

Forbidden Island
My Wednesday hangout, the Bay Area’s best tiki bar

Humuhumu’s Life in Photos
Pictures of my adventures
I build websites

Junkyard Clubhouse
Random interesting things from Humuhumu & Hanford Lemoore

Kevin Kidney
Kevin loves tiki, I love Kevin, you will too

Tiki links galore

Mai Tai Online
Montreal-based tiki ‘zine

Tiki Mug Collection Organizer

The Jab
Follow the way of the jab

Tiki Bar TV
Public Access meets Modern Drunkard

Tiki Central
Community forums

Tiki Magazine
Periodical publication covering the wide world of Tiki

Tiki Talk
Hot Lava’s Tiki Blog