When the original Don's Beachcomber opened in 1933, Hollywood became the official birthplace of the Polynesian themed Tiki culture reflected in architecture, fashion and movies. Decorated with items that Donn Beach (aka Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt) scavenged from the ocean shores, the bar later known as Don the Beachcomber served “exotic” rum drinks with flair. The island escapism offered by his imaginative Tiki concept and its many imitators flourished for decades before nearly being killed off in the disco era.
Tiki's current resurgence owes a lot to the craft cocktail movement, which recognized the potential in the elaborate tropical concoctions made with house syrups and fresh juices. With a new generation of bartenders leading the way, the L.A. tiki scene is once again thriving, and nothing says summer more than a fancy fruit garnish and a little paper umbrella.