Luau Larry's, Catalina Island

By Jeff Ballard

Luau Larry's, Catalina Island

One of the coolest located tiki bars is Luau Larry’s on Catalina Island, off the shore of Southern California. And it goes beyond just being a great location, it offers up a fun tiki themed environment inside to go with the awesomeness outside. After all if you are located on a cool island off the So Cal coast, you have to come up with a reason for people to come in! And they seemed to have nailed that!
So, yesterday our plan was, as always, to get to Catalina early in the morning. We'd get a couple dives in at the Casino Point Dive Park, then head over to Luau Larry’s while we wait for the fairy back to Newport Beach. So what happens, when the dive park is closed due to choppy seas? Well, you skip right to the tiki bar and hang out all day drinking! So, the good news is that I took notes while we were there. I may be relying on them heavily as I write this!
Drinks 4
Luau Larry’s is known for one thing - besides the cool location on the main beach in Avalon that is. And that is Wiki Wackers. Merely the mention of Luau Larry’s to anyone remotely familiar with the bar, evokes a “Get your wiki wacked” comment. The Wiki Wacker is very tasty and comes with either a straw hat or a bumper sticker that let’s people know you got your 'Wiki Wacked’ at Luau Larry’s.  They have a few other tiki-esque drinks on the menu as well. For our afternoon in ‘not so dry dock’ we sampled the Kona Ken and Scorpion, as well as the Oyster Shooters, before settling back on the Wiki Wackers. Oh, wait…I think we tried a Mexican Lolipop shooter. And possibly another shooter as well. Yea, I need to take better notes when drinking! 
Food 4
Traditional bar food fare. Tastes good and is a great complement to the drinks. I could go on, but really, this place is abut the cocktails! You know, and getting your Wiki Wacked! ;)
Decor 4
The best part of the decor at Luau Larry’s is the view out the window! That being said, when you turn your gaze inside the decor is fun. They have the grass and bamboo stylings, but they have some pretty nice wall paintings as well. Including one that has more than a passing tribute to Jimmy Buffet.
JImmhy Buffet tribute art at Luau Larry's
Music 3
While there are many styles of music you can play in a tiki bar and it will still work, standard classic rock, is probably the most uninspired of that lot. That being said it was cool hearing a few old school classics I hadn't heard in a while, But Bob Seger, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Led Zepplin do more to take me back to the Midwest, than they do the middle of an island beach paradise. Ah well, it was fun for a little while if not disorienting!
Swag 4 
While Luau Larry’s doesn’t have any tiki mugs they do have t-shirts and Wiki Wacker stickers. Oh yeah, and the straw hats. OK, not really sure why Huck Finn straw hats are ‘tiki’, but you know what, with enough Wiki Wackers, you really don’t care and you'll proudly wear them all the way back to Newport Beach! Or, so I hear. Not like I actually wore 5 hats all the way back to my car in Newport...
Vibe 4
The people were fun and friendly. And it wasn’t just because it was slow winter season weekend. The folks here are pretty cool. It is definitely the place that is hard to be be stuffy in. Great vibe!
Overall Luau Larry’s scores a 3.83. I love Luau Larry’s but it really is more of a fun party bar than a true authentic tiki. If you are in Catalina, you MUST hit this island staple. If you really want to hit an off the beaten path tiki bar that has a bit of a following, sure, drop the $60 each way to get over to Catalina and check out Luau Larry’s. I know I will be back once dive season opens back up again!


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