It was a chilly January Thursday night in Los Angeles, but the inside of one of LA’s oldest tiki bar was toasty as it became packed with ladies and fans of Ladies Who Tiki.
Tiki Ti, nestled in the heart of Sunset Junction was opened in 1961 by classic tiki cocktail mixologist, Ray Buhen. The small bar adorned with ephemera from its opening days and tiki treasures from over the years is now run by Ray’s son and grandson, Mike and Michael Buhen. This father-son duo, along with family friend Greg Bansuelo, pilot the bar and pour some flavorful and potent concoctions such as the classic “Ray’s Mistake” and the rowdy crowd-pleaser, the Ooga-Booga. (Rowdy because everyone repeatedly yells “Ooga-Booga!” while the bartender keeps pouring in a heaping amount of Myers! It’s eighteen dollars for the drink but you’ll be quite happy if you’re looking for something to knock the sober right out of you.)
Tiki Ti was the home of the first official Los Angeles Ladies Who Tiki meetup event. Michelle Perez, founder of Ladies Who Tiki, carried in a large box of stickers and pins to giveaway to fans while she greeted everyone. The bar was packed with a line out the door on Tiki Ti’s otherwise quiet night. Everyone was dolled up in their favorite Polynesian garb and accouterments. New friends were made and an overall welcoming feeling was prevalent throughout the whole bar. Ruby Champagne, Miss Tiki Oasis 2018, was present and received the “okay” from Mike Buhen Sr. himself, to pose on the bar top for a photo op. (Apparently, this was unheard of! Guess the Ladies Who Tiki made a good impression.)
“I was super excited that this event was a huge success with a great turn out,” says Michelle Perez. “Seeing people interact with each other, taking photos, and exchanging info is always the best part of these meetups. It gives us ladies a chance to meet other like-minded women who all love tiki as much they do. There were a lot of people who had never been to Tiki Ti before and most simply hadn’t gone because they didn’t have someone to accompany them. This event gave them the opportunity and confidence to go to a bar by themselves. It can be intimidating putting yourself out there to meet new friends. With every event, I strive to create a safe space where people can feel comfortable networking with one another – and this last meet up at Tiki Ti, I truly feel that I accomplished that. Here’s to new friends and many more meetups in 2019!”
Please, stay tuned for the next meet up near you!
*Tiki Ti is in no way affiliated with Ladies Who Tiki LLC. Bar patrons were responsible for their own tabs. Founder Michelle Perez and her associates did not receive any profit from the bar at all.