Hold onto your grog, everyone: Tiki Ti, at least as you currently know it, might be in serious trouble. The venerable tiki bar institution on Sunset Boulevard in Los Feliz splashed the internet yesterday afternoon with word of its "indefinite closure," and has since given very little in the way of an update.
Now, Tiki Ti is known in certain circles for being a bit unpredictable. The Buhen family (and Mike Buhen Sr. in particular) is notorious for being full of characters, and since they run the place themselves with no employees (that’s why you can smoke on site, apparently), it’s not uncommon for the bar to close up for weeks if everyone decided to take some time off. But usually there's an indication of when the bar will reopen, or where the family has jaunted off to. No such luck this time.
The Tiki Ti team remains tight-lipped about the unexpected shutter, though the LA Times was able to reach Mike Buhen, Sr. last night by phone for a quick chat. He says that the bar will come back at some point following a bit of "restructuring," but offers no timetable or further details on what might really be going down.
Of course, their loyal customer base has been very vocal in supporting them. Already, their Facebook page is overflowing with well-wishes from concerned friends of the bar, who just hope for the opportunity to grab one more drink sometime.
Any loss of L.A.'s venerable Tiki Ti would be hard to overstate, at least in terms of its specific genre. Tiki bar culture is highly cyclical in the U.S., and has of late been on something of an upswing. Tiki Ti has for generations been that gateway for younger drinkers in Los Feliz or Silver Lake or wherever, who want to down zombies and learn about the very specific tiki bar culture. Losing that would a serious blow to L.A.'s beach-drinking underbelly.
Hopefully the city will see TIki Ti back on its feet again in no time. After all, the tiny bar has weathered a lot since they opened in 1961, at just about the height of the tiki craze. In fact, Tiki Ti is just the second oldest remaining tiki bar in Los Angeles, outside of North Hollywood’s popular Tonga Hut, which opened in 1958.
UPDATE: Reached by phone, Buhen, Sr. says that he was surprised at the outpouring of worried messages but is very grateful for the support, and that Tiki Ti certainly isn't going anywhere. He considers the closure more of a cleaning house than anything ("we're going to fix some things inside the bar") and wants everyone to know that the family is fine and everyone's in good health.
The plan, as of now, is for Tiki Ti to reopen in two weeks or so.