Swabbie Tim and I heard rumors of an unexplored Tiki bar in Long Beach, and being born in LBC ourselves, we immediately departed LA and sailed south down the 5 freeway to check it out. We arrived at 4pm and were the first customers in. In fact, the bartender wasn’t ready with her prep and told us that nobody ever came in that early. She was clearly dealing with professionals. Initial impressions were that Puka was a nice dive, divided into 3 main areas: a large bar, a large lounge with a stage for bands, and a hallway/bathroom. The Tiki decor was very authentic and well integrated, and the music posters had a rockabilly-goth-punk-Ska-biker-Social Distortion vibe—in a word, Tiki.
In the foreground, my Mai Tai which I liked okay. In the background, Swabbie Tim’s Chi Chi which he says wasn’t nearly as good as the Tiki Ti’s or Damon’s. He then proceeded to down the whole thing.
2011 Update: After 5 years of Tiki drinks and copious local bands, the Puka Bar has closed its doors to become what I hear is now a bikini bar. Swabbie Chadd has offered to check it out and give a full report. Puka Bar RIP, 2006-2011.