With the recession hitting real close to home nowadays, plans like flying to Hawaii might be on the backburner. If jonesing for a trip like that has been reduced to drinking with your friends and “Hawaii Five-O” reruns, check out the Tonga Hut.

Located in the heart (or at least right ventricle) of the valley is your dose of Tiki culture mixed with strong drinks that I hope you can handle. If you blink, you might miss the Tonga Hut, which has proudly claimed stake at its locale for over 50 years.

“[The Tonga Hut] is a real bar. Not a bubblegum-fake-Hollywood bar,” co-owner Jeremy Fleener says.

For the last three years, Fleener and Ana Reyes have overseen the rejuvenation of the Hut from the seedy sports bar of the ’80s and ’90s into the laidback, dimly lit Hawaiian paradise it is now.

Don’t come here expecting flashy plasmas and an Internet jukebox. There’s a 15-inch television set and retro jukebox outfitted with hits from almost every decade of music. It’s about the drinks and conversation here.

If you’re the type of drinker who hates yelling at the person next to you to get their attention over the plastic music on the P.A., the Hut’s got you covered. Great music plays at levels where you don’t need a test for a hearing aid the next day.

From the Moai statue at the entrance to the fountains around the bar, this place screams “soul” and “character.”

Drinks are incredibly cheap. Everyday of the week there’s happy hour from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. with $2 domestic beer and $3 well drinks. The Tonga Hut is open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Make your liver and wallet happy at the same time and check out the Tonga Hut.

For more information, call (818) 769-0708 or visit tongahut.com.