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03
Apr
    The Tonga Hut, Hollywood, CA

There are tiki bars and then there are tiki bars. And then there is the Tonga Hut!IMG_1059

The Tonga Hut is located at 12808 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood, CA. What makes this place so fantastic is the fact that it is the oldest surviving tiki bar in the LA area. Two brothers founded this joint in 1958 after they were inspired by a trip to Tonga.

When it opened, the Tonga Hut joined hundreds of other tiki bars and restaraunts making their appearance across the country. But this one is different in two respects. First, it opened in what would have been the vortex of the surfing and tiki culture in the late 1950's. And second, because it's just about the only one that survived so long.

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15
Mar
    Longbranch Inn, Austin Texas

IMG_1428The Longbranch Inn in Austin, TX, was opened on 11th Street in 1935, almost 80 years ago and It's been supplying Austinites with good drink and hospitality since then.

It ran into some problems and was a bit run down at a couple points, but luckily it found owners who care about our historic bars, like Kevin Crutchfield, who restored her to her glory days.

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15
Mar
    Drunken History of Saint Patrick's Day

If there was ever a holiday to make the drunken historian smile, it’d be Saint Patrick’s Day!Saint Patrick Patron Saint of Whiskey!

Not because of the drunken debauchery that has come to define March 17th each year, but because of the history of the man behind the holiday, Saint Patrick himself.

We all know a little bit about his history. While a 16 year old living in Wales he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland. He escaped year later and entered the church. When he was ordained a bishop he was dispatched again, sometime early in the 5th century, back to Ireland to spread the Word of God to the tribes.

Within 200 years of his death he was recognized as the Patron Saint of Ireland and the Irish.

Now on to the ‘drunken’ part of the history.

Most often, St. Patrick is associated with Irish whiskey than anything else, mainly because the origins of whiskey as we know it reside in Ireland. Whiskey was distilled by monks in the 12th century in Ireland and then transported out of Ireland throughout the rest of the world.

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01
Mar
    Elixir Saloon, San Francisco CA

If you're looking for a historic place to drink in San Francisco, you've got to visit Elixir Saloon, on the corner of 16th Street and Guerrero.IMG_1158

There's been a bar at this corner since 1858, which alone speaks volumes about its history. The current bar was built in 1907 after the earthquake of 1906 leveled the original saloon.

The current owner is a bar aficionado, just like us. He spent a lot of time, sweat AND money fixing the place up to make it resemble what it must have looked like when San Fran was still a wild-west gold mining boom town.

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12
Feb
    The Frolic Room, Hollywood, CA

There isn't a lot of "original" in Hollywood. Sure they celebrate the throwback, IMG_0891with films like L.A. Confidential and others (which actually show a director's version of what actually happened there years before) but real, authentic Hollywood? Nah. It really doesn't exist anymore.

Well, that's what we thought anyway when we rolled into town. Turns out though, that on Hollywood Boulevard there's more "real" about five blocks east of Highland than all of the stuff they try to force down your throat at the Kodak Theater.

I'm talking about the Frolic Room, a throwback to at least 1930 when the connected theater, the Panteges, was built. The bar, officially made a bar in 1934 (as far as we know) started life as a hospitality lounge for the Pantages, and has therefore seen its share of Hollywood stars, sleaze, crime and tragedy. Enough to make it a Hollywood Landmark like its next-door neighbor (but because it's a bar and not a location for casting-couch calls that hasn't happened yet).

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