“Alohaland” Beckons at Don the Beachcomber

Retro-historian Charles Phoenix takes a trip to the Huntington Beach bar.

ALOHALAND: We here in California frequently looking longingly to the west, or southwest, rather, across the waves, wishing for a day we could be watching surfers from some Maui beach or hanging out on the Big Island while sipping something from a pineapple while thinking about possibly hiking up a volcano. It's a tempting dream, even for people who live on or within a few minutes of a beach here in the Golden State, because there's nothing quite like Hawaii and its myriad marvelous qualities. It's a beauty that Californians began to be extremely enamored with around the middle of the last century when bars and restaurants celebrating the islands, complete with grassy-thatch-y touches and nightly hula presentations, sprung up around Southern California.

FEW SPOTS REMAIN... from that vintage era, but Don the Beachcomber of Huntington Beach is a favorite. The restaurant that was formerly Sam's Seafood, and is in quite the historic structure, now serves up Don the Beachcomber's strong Mai Tais and that Pacific-retro vibe that once flourished in low-lit taverns across the land. Charles Phoenix, that slide-stupendous chronicler of our mid-century trends, is a known scholar of this slice of Hawaii-meets-California history, and will pay a visit to Don the Beachcomber to celebrate Alohaland.

SATURDAY, MARCH 28... is the date, which means it just may be warm enough to go stick your tootsies in the ocean, which is pretty close to the PCH-based hangout, ahead of the presentation, which will include live music, a hula presentation, and more. Heck you could stick your tootsies in now, and longingly gaze over the waves to the west-southwest, and dream of visiting the islands. But will you remember to don a lei around your neck for Alohaland? Here's betting that people get into the sartorial and sip-worthy spirit of the day. (Sip-worthy indeed -- those Mai Tais live up to the legend.) Tickets for Alohaland are $49, plus a service fee, and that first Mai Tai is "on us," says the site.

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