January 7, 2006

Tonga Hut Under New Management

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:33 pm
Tonga Hut in North Hollywood
Tonga Hut in North Hollywood

The Tonga Hut in North Hollywood was sold not too long ago; this week, the new management sent this message to Hanford Lemoore:

This is just a quick note to let you know that my partner and I just purchased the Tonga Hut in November 05 and we do intend to preserve the tiki vibe of the place.

We are not changing the name or the decor. We do intend to redecorate and replace the beer mirrors and neons with Polynesian art work (oil paintings, etc). And yes, we plan to fix the fountains. We cannot get it all done immediately, but we plan to work on restoring the place little by little.

The jukebox has been updated with a variety of music and there is one Martin Denny CD in rotation (more Exotica to come). The bartenders know how to make Mai Tais and we will be adding a handful of tropical drinks to the menu in the coming weeks.

It’s quite promising… certainly, it sounds like it could only be an improvement. Tonga Hut has a lot of potential, with an interesting bar and some great details that have managed somehow to survive buried underneath beer signs and electronic dart boards. Its location is in a sleepy section of the San Fernando Valley, and it relies on local repeat business from the neighborhood. It’s not likely to truly develop into something beyond a beer bar, but it’s great to hear that the new management is interested in paying tribute to the bar’s history.

12 Responses to “Tonga Hut Under New Management”

  1. Humu Kon Tiki » Tonga Hut Future Looks Promising Says:

    [...] Following up on my report from a month ago, things are looking bright indeed for the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood. The new management has been true to their stated intentions to “preserve the tiki vibe of the place.” This is the third owner in as many years, and they’ve only had the place since November, but positive changes have started already — the beer signs are gone, a map of Tonga has been restored, the tikis are still happily in place, and work is underway to get the fountains working again. Bartender Cyd, who has been there for nearly three years, says “it is so nice to finally have owners that care!” Work is taking me to Los Angeles this week, I’m hoping to pop my head in myself to see how things are coming along, and get some pictures. [...]

  2. Don Says:

    Dear new owner of the Tunga Hut,
    I thought you might enjoy my story.
    Don

    Bruce an I are a couple 60 year old Jazz musicians who have known one another for over 30 years.
    Saturday Bruce calld me on the phone to ask if I wanted to go and have a taste at the Tonga Hut. The Tonga hut is a neighberhood bar that has been at the same location for fifty years. Bruce especially likes going there because they have an old popcorn machine that pops the best popcorn, and boy does Bruce like his popcorn. We get over to the bar and orderd our usual refreshments and ask about the snacks. Tylor, the bar maid informs us that the popcorn maker hasn’t worked for six months.”Ah Shit” says Bruce. I asked Taylor if it would be alright if I took the popper home to fixed it and returned the unit in a few days at no charge. She told us that some guy already tried to fix it and couldn’t.Taylor and the other girl assured me that would be a big NO. After fininshing our third round we got up and walked down the narrow hallway out the back to the parking lot for a smoke. While commenting on Taylor’s unpainted reck that was parked by us, I said “hey Bruce lets steal the popcorn maching”. “Good idea” Bruce replied. After spending a munute talking over our plan on how we were going to do it I backed up my station wagon toards the back door,then we returned back to our empty bar stools. Bruce got up and walked to the corner of the bar complaining about his drink, while Taylor reminded Bruce that he wasn’t supposed to be standing in the bartender’s area. I turned around where the popcorn machine was located and made my way down the hall to the car carrying this forty pound baby. Cackling like a couple of teenagers Bruce and I headed to my place with our stolen property.
    The next day I got up thinking-maybe I bit off more than I could chew,not to mention that the cops may be paying me a visit. It wouldn’t be to hard for Taylor and her assistant to put two and two together. Since it was Sunday I decited to lock it in the trunk of my ’48 plymouth in case someone would be looking for the merchandise.
    Monday, thinking the coast was clear I decited to tackle the repair job on the greasey box. It didn’t take me long to fugure out the problem with the heating element although cleaning the grease off was the real job. After spending four or five hours on that antique I had it working like new. I placed the popper in a cardboard box and now it was time to make an invoice in photoshop. Cornel Corn I decited would be the name of the company that repaired the
    the machine with the Cornel’s slogan” IF IT WON’T POP DON’T BLOW YOUR TOP CAUSE WER’RE HOT ON YOUR POT”. Along with the Cornel’s slogan and address would be a list of repairs done to the unit with $.00 balance due.Tuesday I called Michael, who supplies cars for the movie business and ask him if he would deliver the popcorn machine to the Tonga Hut on Wednsday morning. “Sure, be glad to!”. Michael with the popper on a dolly dlivers it at 9:00 am supprising all the early boozers siting at the bar.”What’s in the box?” they all ask. Michael tells everone that
    he doesn’t know the contents and that he is only a delivery man working for Dexter Gordon delivery services and the box will have to be signed for. Taking out his paper work that I put together, the bartender is more than happy to oblige. Saturday night
    Bruce and I nervicely drive over to the Tonga
    Hut to see if the popcorn machine is up and running or will we have some explaining to do. Entering throught the back door down the hall we can’t believe our eyes. There it was, just like Christmas with the new bulb that Cernal Corn supplied. Everyone enjoying fresh popcorn in there little popcorn baskets. We sat up at the bar and Taylor took our order like allways. Bruce and I were a little shocked to think that we could be in the clear. Fifteen munutes had passed when Taylor said to me “look behind you Don” I looked and said to her “you got a new popcorn machine” “no” Taylor explaines “someone took it – fixed it and had it dilivered back here. Bruce and I looking supprised asked “when was it taken?” Taylor says “we didn’t know it was gone”.

    THE END
    ps. if it ok with you I wouldn’t want Taylor to know my little secret.

  3. Humu Kon Tiki » Blog Archive » Popcorn Vigilante Hits Tonga Hut, Confesses on Humu Kon Tiki Says:

    [...] “Don” left a comment yesterday on an earlier post I had made about the Tonga Hut coming under new management. Don has quite a tale to tell: Dear new owner of the Tunga Hut, I thought you might enjoy my story. Don [...]

  4. Thelonious Monk Says:

    I havn’t been in the Tonga Hut in a few years up until last week. What the hell happened. Folks- this bar was allways a perfect turd. This new owner is blasting bad rock and roll on everyone in the place. What’s with the bouncer that stands three feet behind you and acts like he is cia or something. Not to mention the new owner that sits there all night at the bar telling everyone that he is a musician. Right!
    The real Tonga Hut is gone folks. Everyone knows that you can not polish a turd.

  5. loner j Says:

    Aye – whot’s the Hut coming too. We used to have a pay phone here – it’s gone, used to have cable TV, – it’s gone – used to have two TV’s – the larger one is gone – used to open at 6 am – now it’s 4:30, regulars used to be allowed to stay until closing – now it’s 7 pm and yer outa there. Used to have Monday night football, now it’s jeapordy. Used to have Dodger dogs when in season – no more. Think I’ll pack up and return to her majestys service in grand olde England. And I’m taking me buddy Kevin with me. You blokes won’t have me to kick around any more. J.

  6. loner j Says:

    Your right loner J. Better bring a couple quarters and your own T.P. next time you visit. Were headed for pay toilets.

  7. julie Says:

    The Bartender that works the weekends I must admit was a bad choice. I have not seen a bartender lately that is raped so tight. He has absolutely no personality. My guess is that he doesn’t steal. If you want to know what type of person belongs behind the bar -email me and I will tell you. What happened to the popcorn? You have to pay for it now. How rude. The new owner has done some nice things. Got the fountain working finely and lost some of that crap on the walls. He really made a bad mistake with the cop that stands behind the drinkers. Getting rid of the local old hangers in an attempt to add some class to the place why would anyone hire some guy to stand behind you.

    Last year my 8 year old gave 5 stars to a dumpy motel in Baha Mexico. I know why he did-because he loved the pool and the excitement on the street from our balcony. What does the Tonga Hut have to offer?

  8. Jack Says:

    By the way,what ever happened to Taylor anyway, I went into thr Tonga Hut, and couldn’t beleive the change. It certainly isn’t the same place that I had gone to for years gone by. Used to be friendly people in there. Not any more.
    Taylor used to have a helper name Brian that used to work like none I’d ever seen. I heard that the new owners of the bar told him not to come back because he didn’t belong there. Alot of people quit coming by when they let him go. Taylor and Brian used to be a great working team, and me and my girl friend used to come in and always have good chats with them. What ever Taylor told him to do, he was Johnny on the spot rigtht there in a moments notice for what ever she needed. She would call him “slave boy”, and he would call her “boss lady”. Oh well old Ace who started the place in 1959 and Darryl who had the place for many years are rolling in their graves if they knew what the beloved Tonga Hut turned into.

  9. Boobi Says:

    I agree the place sucks. I wish it was what I remember it to be way back when. I am from the neighborhood, and went in a couple of times since the new owners took over and trust me, it isn’t the same place that it used to be.

  10. Boobi Says:

    I agree the place sucks. I wish it was what I remember it to be way back when. I am from the neighborhood, and went in a couple of times since the new owners took over and trust me, it isn’t the same place that it used to be.

    All of the old crowd that used to hang out in there were from the neighborhood, and these idiot new “owners” 86′d all of the them and brought in all of their own people and made it into some scum dumb half assed wanna be place.

    By the way, Taylor and her helper Brian rocked that place. They were the greatest thing to watch. They really made you feel at home and welcome. Well anyway. I hear the old crowd is at The Scene on Saticoy and Fulton

  11. Boobi Says:

    I agree the place sucks. I wish it was what I remember it to be way back when. I am from the neighborhood, and went in a couple of times since the new owners took over and trust me, it isn’t the same place that it used to be.

    All of the old crowd that used to hang out in there were from the neighborhood, and these idiot new “owners” 86′d all of the them and brought in all of their own people and made it into some scum dumb half assed wanna be place.

    By the way, Taylor and her helper Brian rocked that place. They were the greatest thing to watch. They really made you feel at home and welcome. Well anyway. I hear the old crowd is at The Scene on Saticoy and Fulton.

  12. Cannonball Adderley Says:

    I have been going to the Tonga Hut back when Darryl had it. He would talk about the place when it was a jazz joint. That must have been great times.
    I do like what the new owner has done with the place. Getting the fountain working and cleaning up the joint with the right lighting is nice. I am glad to see the sports bar concept gone. I you wants sports ther are a million of them in town. I do agree with the person that made the comment about the jerk off that eyeballs everyone waiting to pounce and hoping to 86 your buns. When you want pizza you go to a place that looks like a pizza joint. The Tonga Hut is a fortys and fifties concept. What should be played there is music from that era.
    Goodman, Dorsey, Miles, Colrane, Fats, Lester,Basie, Ella and the pop stuff. Nothing wrong with some Tiki music thorwn in as well. There are thousands of hipsters in Los Angeles that would love to hang out in a cool place like the Tonga Hut. We are talking romance here . Get a friendly bartender that has some knowledge and some great stories.

Leave a Reply


Suggest an Item
About Humuhumu
Humuhumu
hello@humuhumu.com
http://www.humuhumu.com
Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

Humuhumu
- Website Design and Programming

Critiki
- A Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

Ooga-Mooga
- Tiki Mugs & More: Track & View Collections




Events

Categories

Links

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.hanfordlemoore.com
Blog from the user interface designer extraordinaire

Critiki
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

Humuhumu.com
I build websites

Junkyard Clubhouse
Random interesting things from Humuhumu & Hanford Lemoore

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

Konakai
Tiki links galore

Mai Tai Online
Montreal-based tiki ‘zine

Ooga-Mooga
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



Archives
Feeds