Tonga Hut

★★★★☆

About Tonga Hut

Hours
Daily, 4pm - 2am

Food

Food
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There are many great reasons to visit the Tonga Hut. I'll get to those a bit later, but want to first focus on one of the bar's greatest assets: Kelly.

Kelly is a mixologist/bartender that only (seems) to work the weekend "happy hour" shifts of 4p - 8p. But, in those few hours, she makes some of the **best cocktails I've had in Los Angeles.**

This is not something I say lightly. I won't throw just any swill down my throat and can make a wide range of cocktails for myself at home... without the bother or cost of heading out to a bar.

If I'm going out, I expect something amazing and Kelly delivers. She uses high-quality spirits and ingredients, scientifically-accurate ratios and she taste-tests her drinks before sending them out (just like any proper bartender should).

But all of that just means that she's a solid bartender. Her real magic comes from her original cocktails.

There's a special menu at the bar, only when she is bartending, that has about 20+ of Kelly's drinks. It's difficult to put into words just what makes her drinks so spectacular -- but those of us who have had them cannot stop talking about them with our other imbibing friends.

The drinks have exotic flavors and some of them can be quite potent. But, you never get the sense that you're having an overly-boozey drink nor do you get that "syrupy" taste that usually gives tiki drinks a bad name.

There's simply something very unique & deliciously amazing with Kelly's cocktails. I cannot recommend them enough.
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As for the Tonga Hut itself...
I've been visiting the Tonga Hut since the mid-90's and it's a bar that has seen its share of ups & downs. About 8-10 years ago though, it had a bit of a revival as it went from general "dive bar" back to its roots as a tiki (polynesian/tropical drink) bar.

It's kind of tucked away in a less congested part of North Hollywood; but its semi-remoteness makes it that much better.

Their cocktail menu includes some drinks that are house specialties, a selection of well-made classic tiki/tropical drinks and, of course, all the regular stuff you'd find at a bar.

The bar itself is decked out with some pretty cool (and entertainingly kitchsy) tiki design. There are a couple massive tiki statues (inside and out) that you need to have your photo taken next to. You just do. Don't ask why. You'll just be very happy to have a photo of yourself with a giant tiki at some point in your life.

The space is on the small-side, but has a number of booths, stools at the bar and space for standing. On occasion, I've seen them squeeze live bands into what looks to have once been a dance floor. So, the place is not overly-tiny -- it would just be nice if it was bigger.

There's usually a great mix of people at the Tonga Hut; a pretty diverse & interesting crowd and I can only recall having solidly enjoyable times here.

It's a kickback bar that you should visit sometime soon -- either for Kelly's great cocktails or just a great place to come & do some drinking any night of the week.

2
★★★★☆

There are many great reasons to visit the Tonga Hut. I'll get to those a bit later, but want to first focus on one of the bar's greatest assets: Kelly.

Kelly is a mixologist/bartender that only (seems) to work the weekend "happy hour" shifts of 4p - 8p. But, in those few hours, she makes some of the **best cocktails I've had in Los Angeles.**

This is not something I say lightly. I won't throw just any swill down my throat and can make a wide range of cocktails for myself at home... without the bother or cost of heading out to a bar.

If I'm going out, I expect something amazing and Kelly delivers. She uses high-quality spirits and ingredients, scientifically-accurate ratios and she taste-tests her drinks before sending them out (just like any proper bartender should).

But all of that just means that she's a solid bartender. Her real magic comes from her original cocktails.

There's a special menu at the bar, only when she is bartending, that has about 20+ of Kelly's drinks. It's difficult to put into words just what makes her drinks so spectacular -- but those of us who have had them cannot stop talking about them with our other imbibing friends.

The drinks have exotic flavors and some of them can be quite potent. But, you never get the sense that you're having an overly-boozey drink nor do you get that "syrupy" taste that usually gives tiki drinks a bad name.

There's simply something very unique & deliciously amazing with Kelly's cocktails. I cannot recommend them enough.
------
As for the Tonga Hut itself...
I've been visiting the Tonga Hut since the mid-90's and it's a bar that has seen its share of ups & downs. About 8-10 years ago though, it had a bit of a revival as it went from general "dive bar" back to its roots as a tiki (polynesian/tropical drink) bar.

It's kind of tucked away in a less congested part of North Hollywood; but its semi-remoteness makes it that much better.

Their cocktail menu includes some drinks that are house specialties, a selection of well-made classic tiki/tropical drinks and, of course, all the regular stuff you'd find at a bar.

The bar itself is decked out with some pretty cool (and entertainingly kitchsy) tiki design. There are a couple massive tiki statues (inside and out) that you need to have your photo taken next to. You just do. Don't ask why. You'll just be very happy to have a photo of yourself with a giant tiki at some point in your life.

The space is on the small-side, but has a number of booths, stools at the bar and space for standing. On occasion, I've seen them squeeze live bands into what looks to have once been a dance floor. So, the place is not overly-tiny -- it would just be nice if it was bigger.

There's usually a great mix of people at the Tonga Hut; a pretty diverse & interesting crowd and I can only recall having solidly enjoyable times here.

It's a kickback bar that you should visit sometime soon -- either for Kelly's great cocktails or just a great place to come & do some drinking any night of the week.

Pros: Kelly the bartender; amazing, properly made cocktails

Cons: Small-ish space

.

First let me say I am giving this place 4 stars because it has brought many a good night but last night....

Came to bar late last night, and Geez Luise when did Tonga become a haven for rude men? And when did the bartenders start giving evil eyes because you are having a good time in their establishment?

Lets take it back to the days when people were encouraged to dance, and play darts, and have "game-balls" and stay all night, lets bring it back to Trevor who is perhaps the best bartender in the valley, who remembers peoples names and who is genuinely happy to see you when you walk in the door.
Lets bring it back to when the regulars at this place were as different and oddly paired as Tonga is to a toy train station store.

What does a girl have to do to get a drink in this town?

2
★★★★☆

First let me say I am giving this place 4 stars because it has brought many a good night but last night....

Came to bar late last night, and Geez Luise when did Tonga become a haven for rude men? And when did the bartenders start giving evil eyes because you are having a good time in their establishment?

Lets take it back to the days when people were encouraged to dance, and play darts, and have "game-balls" and stay all night, lets bring it back to Trevor who is perhaps the best bartender in the valley, who remembers peoples names and who is genuinely happy to see you when you walk in the door.
Lets bring it back to when the regulars at this place were as different and oddly paired as Tonga is to a toy train station store.

What does a girl have to do to get a drink in this town?

.

Now it seems to be just a nest of nasty big eyed bimbos bartending on a nightly basis if thats your game be prepared to follow the rules..... over the top demands for a little haven in the valley that we all really used to enjoy going to for decades..... now comes in the new owner with no clue as to what we all loved and kept coming back to for decades. NO MORE TONGA HUT AS WE KNEW IT. It was our little haven. Now, you can't even blink without getting tossed out by a bouncer if the bartenderesss doesn't like you or if your talking to someone they want to solely monopolize.

Good Luck, SFV people - if you go in as a group looking for $1 PBR you are ok, if you go in solo -AND DROP A TON OF MONEY- lets say $30 - $50.00 be prepared to face bitter adversity just for sitting there!!!!!!!! Who wants to drop $50 in two hours and be treated like an infectious disease by whatever is behind the bar ??? Just for no reason other than they didn't know who you were and didn't give a hoot to find out, and/or didn't treat you with the respect you deserved for being a patron for a quarter or half a century and not even blinking to take your drink order- just skipping right to a new male customer for the bartendress to flirt with and plump up for more tip money !!! Not even concerned with my potential tip money, which i gave plenty of and still got no "doll eyes", no personal attention, no respect for sitting there and buying a drink there. They need to get their bartenders from a more realistic and professional arena or they need to inform them that the PAST REGULARS rule, even if the regulars were before their young times behind the bar. We were ALL behind the counters of THAT bar (the Tonga Hut) before them, and they need to take a look in the mirror as does the new owner. I can't wait to get 86'd for this current commentary, so that I can take the multi-voiced grievances along with mine to court to bounce the new owner into another orbit and to leave us as we were....very, very happy for many, many years til now. Did you hear that new owner? GET OUT OF OUR BAR or let us do our normal thing when we are there. Nothing out of the ordinary, for a bar.

Like Dancing, Singing Along to Music Playing.... when appropriate. Do people go to a bar to hear music and have a good time? Am I confused here?

Am I over-reacting ? NO, i've been in there about 8 - 10 times in the past 3 months. No mercy for some of us past regulars. They only care about the new $1.00 PBR people or any "guy" who enters the premises. And OK, some of the girls were somewhat nice to me when i was in there but it was superficious and the other girl bartenders were downright nasty, discerning, and clueless as to how to have ladylike manners and had me removed by bouncers for talking to the person sitting next to me. Ooochhh. Get a backbone chick, there is conversations and i wasn't out of line.

Does it sound like i have a chip on my shoulder ? well, if i wasn't treated with such disrespect and indiginity time and time again, "just sitting there quietly or trying to respond to nearby conversations"..... i'd say lets video tape them to keep them on their polite toes. It's the only logical solution to prove either side's story.

1
★★☆☆☆

Now it seems to be just a nest of nasty big eyed bimbos bartending on a nightly basis if thats your game be prepared to follow the rules..... over the top demands for a little haven in the valley that we all really used to enjoy going to for decades..... now comes in the new owner with no clue as to what we all loved and kept coming back to for decades. NO MORE TONGA HUT AS WE KNEW IT. It was our little haven. Now, you can't even blink without getting tossed out by a bouncer if the bartenderesss doesn't like you or if your talking to someone they want to solely monopolize.

Good Luck, SFV people - if you go in as a group looking for $1 PBR you are ok, if you go in solo -AND DROP A TON OF MONEY- lets say $30 - $50.00 be prepared to face bitter adversity just for sitting there!!!!!!!! Who wants to drop $50 in two hours and be treated like an infectious disease by whatever is behind the bar ??? Just for no reason other than they didn't know who you were and didn't give a hoot to find out, and/or didn't treat you with the respect you deserved for being a patron for a quarter or half a century and not even blinking to take your drink order- just skipping right to a new male customer for the bartendress to flirt with and plump up for more tip money !!! Not even concerned with my potential tip money, which i gave plenty of and still got no "doll eyes", no personal attention, no respect for sitting there and buying a drink there. They need to get their bartenders from a more realistic and professional arena or they need to inform them that the PAST REGULARS rule, even if the regulars were before their young times behind the bar. We were ALL behind the counters of THAT bar (the Tonga Hut) before them, and they need to take a look in the mirror as does the new owner. I can't wait to get 86'd for this current commentary, so that I can take the multi-voiced grievances along with mine to court to bounce the new owner into another orbit and to leave us as we were....very, very happy for many, many years til now. Did you hear that new owner? GET OUT OF OUR BAR or let us do our normal thing when we are there. Nothing out of the ordinary, for a bar.

Like Dancing, Singing Along to Music Playing.... when appropriate. Do people go to a bar to hear music and have a good time? Am I confused here?

Am I over-reacting ? NO, i've been in there about 8 - 10 times in the past 3 months. No mercy for some of us past regulars. They only care about the new $1.00 PBR people or any "guy" who enters the premises. And OK, some of the girls were somewhat nice to me when i was in there but it was superficious and the other girl bartenders were downright nasty, discerning, and clueless as to how to have ladylike manners and had me removed by bouncers for talking to the person sitting next to me. Ooochhh. Get a backbone chick, there is conversations and i wasn't out of line.

Does it sound like i have a chip on my shoulder ? well, if i wasn't treated with such disrespect and indiginity time and time again, "just sitting there quietly or trying to respond to nearby conversations"..... i'd say lets video tape them to keep them on their polite toes. It's the only logical solution to prove either side's story.

Pros: at least they didn't tear the place down

Cons: they have no clue as to what it was

.

This is by far the best bar in the valley. It is also one of the original and last remaining tiki bars in the US. The decor is very cool and tropical with giant tikis in the corners and I hear that the drinks are strong and tasty.

5
★★★★★

This is by far the best bar in the valley. It is also one of the original and last remaining tiki bars in the US. The decor is very cool and tropical with giant tikis in the corners and I hear that the drinks are strong and tasty.

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The Tonga Hut is a purdy rad place I hafta say... they have cheap well drinks and dollar PBR's as well as great drink specials. I mean it cant get any better? Or can it? The bartender Myria I think is her name was is Awesome! She made THE BEST bloody Mary's and Martini's EVER! She was alot of fun we enjoyed ourselves.

Thanks.

-Sarah

2
★★★★★

The Tonga Hut is a purdy rad place I hafta say... they have cheap well drinks and dollar PBR's as well as great drink specials. I mean it cant get any better? Or can it? The bartender Myria I think is her name was is Awesome! She made THE BEST bloody Mary's and Martini's EVER! She was alot of fun we enjoyed ourselves.

Thanks.

-Sarah

Pros: people, drinks

Cons: Uh there are none

.

I went to the Tonga hut the other night by accident. Well I had a BLAST! me and all my friends had an awesome time... I loved the bartenders and regulars that were there.. i am definitely going back..
Especially for that one tikki something drink The tender made me... man it was soo good! ... lmao.

2
★★★★★

I went to the Tonga hut the other night by accident. Well I had a BLAST! me and all my friends had an awesome time... I loved the bartenders and regulars that were there.. i am definitely going back..
Especially for that one tikki something drink The tender made me... man it was soo good! ... lmao.

Pros: Cheap beers and drinks

Cons: Isnt close enough to my house.. lol

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So I read all the reviews and had to go for myself. I had a great time and did not encounter the rude bartender. Maybe it was just a random thing that happened to the other reviewer because I've been back a handfull of times and always get great service. The girls bartenders are nice and the guy bartender (tues & sat nights) is cute. The new owners have done alot to make it more tiki-ish and give it a cool vibe. From what I understand everything from the staff to the lighting to the customers is a huge improvement over what this place used to be like. I dig it.

2
★★★★☆

So I read all the reviews and had to go for myself. I had a great time and did not encounter the rude bartender. Maybe it was just a random thing that happened to the other reviewer because I've been back a handfull of times and always get great service. The girls bartenders are nice and the guy bartender (tues & sat nights) is cute. The new owners have done alot to make it more tiki-ish and give it a cool vibe. From what I understand everything from the staff to the lighting to the customers is a huge improvement over what this place used to be like. I dig it.

Pros: nice bartenders, great prices, parking in back, neighborhoody

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I'd have to agree with the last review regarding the style of the Tonga Hut. I loved it... But... I also have to agree with the "Rude Bartender", I think it might have been the same one, except I went on a Thursday night I believe, there was a girl working that had pretty bad skin and dirty blonde hair who served us first and honestly looked like she was high or/and hung over... I've visited the spot before and enjoyed every aspect, but this time I was disappointed... I think that the tonga hut has a lot of potential and should really look out for the people that they are hiring, it's a tiki scene and they should respect themselves by hiring tiki enthusiast ( like me)... Nonetheless I wont be going there any time soon and will surely spread the word of this "Rude baretnder"......

1
★★☆☆☆

I'd have to agree with the last review regarding the style of the Tonga Hut. I loved it... But... I also have to agree with the "Rude Bartender", I think it might have been the same one, except I went on a Thursday night I believe, there was a girl working that had pretty bad skin and dirty blonde hair who served us first and honestly looked like she was high or/and hung over... I've visited the spot before and enjoyed every aspect, but this time I was disappointed... I think that the tonga hut has a lot of potential and should really look out for the people that they are hiring, it's a tiki scene and they should respect themselves by hiring tiki enthusiast ( like me)... Nonetheless I wont be going there any time soon and will surely spread the word of this "Rude baretnder"......

Pros: Tiki style awesome

Cons: rude bartender

.

I loved the style of the place... very cool. the only problem was the bartendet that spilled a drink on me and looked as if she had no idea what she was doing... So watch out for her... She has bad skin and dity blonde hair. Pretty rude...

The drinks that we ordered from the male bartender were great! I believe we went in on a sunday evening...

Other then the spilt drink and rude bartender.... I liked it.

2
★★★★☆

I loved the style of the place... very cool. the only problem was the bartendet that spilled a drink on me and looked as if she had no idea what she was doing... So watch out for her... She has bad skin and dity blonde hair. Pretty rude...

The drinks that we ordered from the male bartender were great! I believe we went in on a sunday evening...

Other then the spilt drink and rude bartender.... I liked it.

.

I have to disagree with the last review because I'm a bartender there and I've heard a lot of reports which all agree that I'm hot!! AND a great bartender! And a true Tiki enthusiast, not just someone who happens to work at a Tiki bar. Yes, the place is old but that's part of it's charm! It's also in the process of being renovated so it gets better all the time. Come on down on Wednesday and Friday nights after 8 or Thursday and Saturday afternoons 4-8 and try my Tiki specialty, The Voodoo Juice or my signature martini, The Betty Page!

2
★★★★★

I have to disagree with the last review because I'm a bartender there and I've heard a lot of reports which all agree that I'm hot!! AND a great bartender! And a true Tiki enthusiast, not just someone who happens to work at a Tiki bar. Yes, the place is old but that's part of it's charm! It's also in the process of being renovated so it gets better all the time. Come on down on Wednesday and Friday nights after 8 or Thursday and Saturday afternoons 4-8 and try my Tiki specialty, The Voodoo Juice or my signature martini, The Betty Page!

Pros: reasonable prices, great atmosphere and jukebox

Cons: Can be quite during the week so bring lots of friends!

.

The venue seemed old and not very clean... I liked the tiki theme but have seen better. The crowd wasn't what I expected. Larger girls, the bartenders weren't very attractive, they all looked old and tried to hard to be friendly...

The music was interesting but not very dance-ish...

1
★★☆☆☆

The venue seemed old and not very clean... I liked the tiki theme but have seen better. The crowd wasn't what I expected. Larger girls, the bartenders weren't very attractive, they all looked old and tried to hard to be friendly...

The music was interesting but not very dance-ish...

Cons: bartenders not cute

.

It was Saturday Night...I went for a drink with a friend from out of town to check out the TIKI scene in the Valley. To my surprise there was a fun crowd, a DJ playing surf, exotica, rockabilly, lounge, and a llitle bit of punk. The crowd was mostly young and into tiki. I had one of the best Mai Tai's I'd ever had, and the bartender was real nice! The bartender said that the DJ comes every week on Saturdays and the rest of the time there is a good juke box to pick tunes. Now that this place is my local bar I will be there more often. This place is great for groups and partys because they have a bunch of booths and the decor is awesome. A beautiful fountain, tiki gods everywhere, with a relaxed tropical lounge vibe!!! Go and bring friends. We have to keep the cool tiki bars alive.

2
★★★★★

It was Saturday Night...I went for a drink with a friend from out of town to check out the TIKI scene in the Valley. To my surprise there was a fun crowd, a DJ playing surf, exotica, rockabilly, lounge, and a llitle bit of punk. The crowd was mostly young and into tiki. I had one of the best Mai Tai's I'd ever had, and the bartender was real nice! The bartender said that the DJ comes every week on Saturdays and the rest of the time there is a good juke box to pick tunes. Now that this place is my local bar I will be there more often. This place is great for groups and partys because they have a bunch of booths and the decor is awesome. A beautiful fountain, tiki gods everywhere, with a relaxed tropical lounge vibe!!! Go and bring friends. We have to keep the cool tiki bars alive.

Pros: Parking in back, Tropical Tiki Bar, Strong Drinks

Cons: No smoking inside, smoke out front...

.

Checked this place out last Thursday night. From what I was told there have been a lot of changes made. Beer signs have been replaced by polynesian style artwork, the jukebox actually has tiki and 60's lounge music along with newer stuff, they have a tropical drink menu and serve the drinks in tiki mugs. The bartender was nice and made an honest drink...and the prices are reasonable. Cheap happy hour specials go until 7pm. Overall, a very cool place, laidback. Its open all day but apparently the younger crowd comes in after 6pm.

2
★★★★☆

Checked this place out last Thursday night. From what I was told there have been a lot of changes made. Beer signs have been replaced by polynesian style artwork, the jukebox actually has tiki and 60's lounge music along with newer stuff, they have a tropical drink menu and serve the drinks in tiki mugs. The bartender was nice and made an honest drink...and the prices are reasonable. Cheap happy hour specials go until 7pm. Overall, a very cool place, laidback. Its open all day but apparently the younger crowd comes in after 6pm.

Pros: inexpensive, diverse jukebox, good parking

.

This little bar has quite the atmosphere. Checked it out on New Year's for a few pre-party drinks and found to my surprise a cool spot with great prices. They had a dj spinning on turntables and great music. The regulars were cool, just a laid back kind of place. No shorting the customer either on alcohol, drinks are served just right. I will be visiting again.

2
★★★★☆

This little bar has quite the atmosphere. Checked it out on New Year's for a few pre-party drinks and found to my surprise a cool spot with great prices. They had a dj spinning on turntables and great music. The regulars were cool, just a laid back kind of place. No shorting the customer either on alcohol, drinks are served just right. I will be visiting again.

Pros: plenty of parking, inexpensive, unpretentious

.

They have new owners who are really making this little dive bar - into quite the hidden hot spot of the valley. The Tonga Hut has reasonably prices, strong drinks and great bartenders. Absolutely loved the tiki decor with a bamboo-ridged drop ceiling... not the mention the 9 foot tiki-god made of stone. From what I heard, the new owners are slowly restoring the Tonga Hut back to some of its original glory.

2
★★★★★

They have new owners who are really making this little dive bar - into quite the hidden hot spot of the valley. The Tonga Hut has reasonably prices, strong drinks and great bartenders. Absolutely loved the tiki decor with a bamboo-ridged drop ceiling... not the mention the 9 foot tiki-god made of stone. From what I heard, the new owners are slowly restoring the Tonga Hut back to some of its original glory.

Pros: Strong Drinks, Friendly Bartenders, Prices

.

Tonga Hut is absolutely divine. I moved to the valley from NYC in April and I've been looking for a place like this. Smoking ok; a cute, nice bartender who buys rounds; a jukebox featuring Toto and a parquet dance floor; tiki gods and bamboo torches and climbing ivy and bowling trophies. Cheap, strong drinks; cold beer; interesting local crowd; and a PRISTINE ladies room which also had a surprisingly AVANT GARDE art exhibition hanging in it. Lucky for me my good pal Julie found the listing for Tonga Hut on citysearch. When we read bethwells review for it, with an atmosphere rating of 1 and a description of the patrons as "chain-smokers and career drunks", we knew we had to check it out. And I'm very happy we did.

2
★★★★★

Tonga Hut is absolutely divine. I moved to the valley from NYC in April and I've been looking for a place like this. Smoking ok; a cute, nice bartender who buys rounds; a jukebox featuring Toto and a parquet dance floor; tiki gods and bamboo torches and climbing ivy and bowling trophies. Cheap, strong drinks; cold beer; interesting local crowd; and a PRISTINE ladies room which also had a surprisingly AVANT GARDE art exhibition hanging in it. Lucky for me my good pal Julie found the listing for Tonga Hut on citysearch. When we read bethwells review for it, with an atmosphere rating of 1 and a description of the patrons as "chain-smokers and career drunks", we knew we had to check it out. And I'm very happy we did.

Pros: altoids tins, fun jukebox, friendly drunks

Cons: kicked us out early

.

Looking for that cool scene in the valley, look somewhere else. Aside from the tiki god in front, there is little to keep you at this hole. The career-drunks and chain-smokers have taken over this watering hole and turned it into something nasty.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Looking for that cool scene in the valley, look somewhere else. Aside from the tiki god in front, there is little to keep you at this hole. The career-drunks and chain-smokers have taken over this watering hole and turned it into something nasty.

Cons: Chain Smokers, Digital Dart Board, No A/C

 

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