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Rufus the fish at the Bahooka Tiki Bar

Bahooka was a Tiki bar and restaurant in Rosemead, California.[1] The Bahooka was well known for its many fish tanks,[2] one of which held a famous and frequently photographed pacu fish named Rufus.[3][4][5] The bar was also known for serving over 60 different kinds of Tiki drinks,[6] including their Jolly Roger Bowl[7] and flaming drinks such as the Flaming Honey Bowl and their eponymous Bahooka Bowl.[2][8] The Bahooka served Polynesian fare such as teriyaki chicken breast and their signature "Exotic Ribs".[7][9][2]


Bahooka was founded in 1967 in West Covina, California[10] and expanded to a second location at 4501 Rosemead Boulevard [7] in 1976 after losing its lease.[11] This allowed the Rosemead location to expand its dining area, adding a new room as well as more custom wooden/fiberglass aquariums, which then exceeded over 100 aquariums, many over 100 gallons in capacity.[12] Tiki mug producers Tiki Farm created a 40th Anniversary mug for the bar.[13] The Rosemead Bahooka closed in March 2013.[14]

In popular culture[edit]

Rufus who was known for eating carrots[15][11] and for having appeared with Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.[14] Rufus, planned at one time to be transferred to another restaurant in Glendale, will remain at the current site in the new restaurant.[16]


  1. ^ "Tiki Paradises". Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Nikki Batalis (June 25, 2008). "A little piece of tiki heaven". The Orange County Register.
  3. ^ "Tiki Paradise Bahook To Be Reborn". Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Tiki Fish retires". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Bahooka Is Bust". Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  6. ^ Peter Dills (June 10, 2010). "World Famous Flaming Bowls at Bahooka's". The Pasadena Independent. p. 9.
  7. ^ a b c Jonathan Gold (1 December 2000). Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles. St. Martin's Press. pp. 17–8. ISBN 978-0-312-27634-8.
  8. ^ "Flaming Honey Bowl". Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  9. ^ "bahooka ribs and grog". Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  10. ^ Frank C. Girardot (February 15, 2013). "Rosemead landmark Bahooka to close". Pasadena Star-News.
  11. ^ a b Cindy Arora (April 5, 2003). "Bahooka bottles its popular dressing". San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
  12. ^ "Carl Strohmeyer; Aquarium Biography".
  13. ^ "Bahook 40th Anniversary Mug". Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  14. ^ a b Frank Shyong (February 17, 2014). "Rufus' tale has a hook; A long-closed Rosemead restaurant must decide what to do with its iconic 37-year-old pacu fish". Los Angeles Times (Home ed.). p. A1.
  15. ^ "Rufus eating carrots at The Bahooka". Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  16. ^ Rabe, John. "New owners see light; Rufus the carrot-eating pacu to stay at former Bahooka". February 18, 2014. KPCC. Retrieved February 24, 2014.

Coordinates: 34°05′15″N 118°04′25″W / 34.0874°N 118.0736°W / 34.0874; -118.0736