3/08/2013 03:31:00 PM

A Last Look at Bahooka, Closing This Weekend After 46 Years

Aloha, Ruffus
Whether you've been to Rosemead's tiki-themed Bahooka a million times or never, it's sad news that it will serve its last Mai Tai after service on Sunday, March 10. The original Bahooka opened in West Covina in 1967 and moved to its current location in 1976. It's a crazy maze of a place, with booths stuffed into little nooks throughout, tons of fish, glass balls, tiki baubles and surfboards hanging in and from the rafters, and tropical fish tanks supplying both light and frivolity, including the restaurant mascot, a 36-year-old very photogenic fish named Ruffus. It's wacky and fun, especially when it comes to giant bowls of fruity boozy drinks - sometimes lit on fire - and sticky glazed ribs. And it's one of the last original tiki spots in the greater LA area.

But as what usually happens, ever since the news broke that Bahooka was closing, tiki-loving fans have descended on the place. We stopped in yesterday and somehow skirted the crowds long enough to grab a Tonight or Never, which is just another fruity gin concoction (we're convinced that no matter what you order now it's all coming out of the same pitcher of "fruit juice and booze"), but tasty. There were plenty of people waiting for tables, but after 4 PM the place was packed. Waits have been up to two hours, and if you follow them on Facebook, the owners will let you know that there are no more available for the evening. Today they announced that it's cash only from here on out, and they'll probably run out of food sometime today, but "the drinks will be flowing" throughout the weekend.

As for all the fish and tiki knickknacks and decor, they've already been selling stuff off. At the table in the lobby there were dusty plastic macaws, T-shirts, menus, glassware (everything is served in plastic cups now, even the flaming drinks!), toothpicks, cocktail umbrellas, prints and artwork for sale. We picked up a couple of old Asahi paper lanterns that are supposedly 46-years-old (why not?). Manager Darlene Fliegel told us that there will be a sale for the rest of the stuff, the bigger stuff, the week of March 17. "It will be like a big yard sale," she added.


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