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The Enabler

January 03, 2008

In college, the Enabler frequented a tiki bar that served gargantuan flaming scorpion bowls littered with tiny plastic monkeys to anyone holding a barely credible ID. During those halcyon years, the Enabler developed an obsession with alcohol and pineapple.

Sadly, sating pineapple-cocktail lust in L.A. is more difficult than pulling a sailor off of shore leave. Proper tiki bars are just that hard to come by (wither Trader Vic's, Lava Lounge, etc.).

That's why the Enabler was overjoyed to discover the Purple Orchid in El Segundo. The lounge is covered in split bamboo and boasts more tikis (glowing, neon, tall, short, squat) than a weathered deckhand has anchor tattoos. Even the restrooms are wallpapered with pages from the Book of Tiki. The punishingly sweet drinks (garnished with thick slices of fruit) come in Easter Island-style mugs or in fiery, Bacardi 151-soaked volcanoes.

The clientele is largely working-class with heavy representation from the neighboring oil refinery. When the bartender mistakenly gave the Enabler's credit card to a refinery worker named Bill, we knew just how to contact him, and he Fed-Exed the missing card back to us the next day. If that happened at the Green Door, Bill would be in Fiji by now. 221 Richmond St., El Segundo. (310) 322-5829

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-- theguide@latimes.com

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