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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Kona Club, Oakland, CA (bar)
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Kona Club, Oakland, CA (bar)
tikivixen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 724
From: Vallejo CA
Posted: 2006-03-03 4:21 pm   Permalink

That's beautiful, Quickiki!!!

I'm with Sven. And I'm happy to have any tiki bars at all. The huge discussions about differing details don't interest me much, because fundamentally the one thing I REALLY like in a bar or restaurant is finely-aged atmosphere, and a new bar by definition cannot have that. So if the decor's pretty and they serve decent drinks and I'm surrounded by good friends, I will by default be happy.

I do agree that the Kona needs a sign...PRONTO.

I drove by it last night and could see no sign of life. I finally peered at the door...it was slitted a little open...I could dimly see light peeking out...so I said to myself "ok, all's well."

But they literally looked closed. That CAN'T be good for business!! At least put a sandwich-board or a nice friendly Tiki outside.

Mugwise, those cheap Libbey products are pretty, darn it! I dig the glazes. I like what the Conga's got goin' on with their mugs and bowls. If they can do it, I'm sure anybody can. Heck, if Benihana can do it...

Interesting thread. And by the way. I explore a lot of online forums from time to time, and TC is BY FARRRRR the most civil of them all. It is actually troll-free, near as I can tell. Coming back here after time spent perusing, say,
www.femalefirst.co.uk, is like returning to sanity after an extended stay in Bedlam.

xox tikivixen






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crazy al
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 25, 2002
Posts: 1841
From: CA
Posted: 2006-03-03 8:53 pm   Permalink

'Lucky Tiki' Creator- Bobby Green's first fantastic success as a tavern owner was the Big Foot Lodge in the LA area.... not only did he get best new bar in the LA Weekly his first year out. .. he didn't have a sign for years.... and the place was packed for years... Although he finally put up signage, he never wanted to attract passers by, it seemed to be a success story for him.

word is, and as it happens, the local neighbors have gathered the torches and pitch-forks and are clamoring to the castle as we speek... bright bold signage is not on high priority for the Kona... Miss. Cravats is always at the door with something or other making the joys of tavern owning joyouse... signage will come I'm sure.... hey that was some sunset today...


 
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RevBambooBen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7445
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2006-03-03 9:03 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-03-03 16:21, tikivixen wrote:
That's beautiful, Quickiki!!!



I do agree that the Kona needs a sign...PRONTO.

I drove by it last night and could see no sign of life. I finally peered at the door...it was slitted a little open...I could dimly see light peeking out...so I said to myself "ok, all's well."

But they literally looked closed. That CAN'T be good for business!! At least put a sandwich-board or a nice friendly Tiki outside.




I got a call from the one and only Crazy Al last night around 7 pm while he was at the "Bar with No Sign" aka Kona Club ( and/or no mugs) and he said, " geeeeeez. It's filling up!!" Then I got another call with him and Doug doing their best Arrrrrrrrrrrrr's and it sounded packed! ( around 8:00)

Maybe it's a hidden secret. I don't know. Some things work like that.

Nice sign Quickie. Although, a little on the "new side of tiki." I'm sure ( if he get's a sign at all) he'll want it to be laid back and old school looking.

Remember. The Kona Club is " The lil'Hut off the beatin road. That the locals hang out and enjoy life after work.
Where the Hula dancers hang out after their gig. A place that is laid back. With no worries. Where a owner of 2 popular bars can go and chill out with the OHANA. And, watch a Sunset or Ponder about T-Vic-B burried up the street! "


It's all good. Trust me.


_________________


Bamboo Ben
Custom Tropical Decor
I build Tiki Rooms for you! Just ask around ;)
http://www.facebook.com/bambooben


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2006-03-04 06:41 am   Permalink

Have you checked out Doug's bar/billiard hall in downtown Berkeley? It's called Thalassa but you might never know that because there is no sign, and never has been a sign since it opened in the late 90s! There is only a neon martini glass in the window. It is a big success and it's always packed.

 
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RevBambooBen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7445
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2006-03-04 07:23 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-03-04 06:41, thejab wrote:
Have you checked out Doug's bar/billiard hall in downtown Berkeley? It's called Thalassa but you might never know that because there is no sign, and never has been a sign since it opened in the late 90s! There is only a neon martini glass in the window. It is a big success and it's always packed.



Ha!!!

Actually, Thalasa does have a sign. It's tucked behind the bar up on an old chalkboard.

And, who would ever think that a "Lodge" ( Mallard) would have Tahitian aka Tiki patios??

p.s. someone needs to take a pic and post it of that huge tiki at Thalasa. and that outrigger is a trip too! real deal or what?

Someone also needs to write a book on how to have successful bars with no signs, menus, etc.

Cheers!
_________________


Bamboo Ben
Custom Tropical Decor
I build Tiki Rooms for you! Just ask around ;)
http://www.facebook.com/bambooben


 
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cheeky half
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 22, 2002
Posts: 795
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-03-04 08:42 am   Permalink

I used to be a bartender at a neighborhood bar in NYC. It had no sign or menu. I met Mr cheeky half there, so in my experience very good things happen in bars without signs and menus.

cheeky half


 
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DuckTiki
Member

Joined: Mar 04, 2006
Posts: 1
Posted: 2006-03-04 3:35 pm   Permalink

Aloha From Doug at the Kona Club,

I have not looked at the tiki forums since I opened up but I had a quiet moment and Bruce Woodbury sent me an email to get a sign a link to this forum. Thanks for all the attention about the Kona Club, but let me tell a little bit about it.

I wanted to open a Tiki bar for the longest time. I have held a mystical image of the perfect Tiki bar since childhood. I have been to a lot of Tiki bars on the west coast and in Hawaii and all of the ones I went to did not hold up to my dream of the perfect Tiki bar. Although I was disappointed I still wanted one for my very own.

It took four years to find a great location for the bar. The reality is that no one wants a bar in their backyard so it is almost impossible to open a new one; all you can do is wait until an old bar goes up for sale and jump at the chance to buy it. The old Kings X was on the short list of possible locations. (The Hut on College Ave. was number #1 Congratulations to the Conga on a great location!).

Ok I was lucky to get the X. Now how do you create a bar out of a dream and make it work? Like a lot of you I wanted a place with waterfalls, smokin' volcanos, strong drinks in tiki mugs, scorpion bowls, skull mugs and the like. The walls would be adorned with vintage artwork and there would be exotic music flowing and nightly Hula dancing. Tons of Polynesian "eye candy" would be everywhere and every morning would bring on a heavy hangover from one too many sweet strong libations. Oh oh reality..

The first thing I realized is it is hard to make a real full scale "Tiki-la" - no place is as good as my dream bar but I gotta try. It costs over 10,000 a month just for rent, insurance and utilities. I have my own personal art collection and I know the folks at Oceanic Arts. Luckily I was given the name of Bamboo Ben. We met we saw the same dream and started to build. Ben enlisted the mighty artistic ability of Crazy Al. We worked together for 6 weeks straight starting at 9:00 in the morning and finishing by 1:00 to have quick shot at Thlassa before doing it again. It was fun to create as we went along in the build out no blue prints, no plans just an honest creative effort as we discovered what the Kona would look like. Much thanks to their friends and families for allowing them to disappear for 6 weeks.

We finished and the walls look great all I needed to do was fill 16 bartending slots, hire a day manager, get a juke box, train 14 bartenders, get the product to sell. And make a new logo, custom tiki mug, outdoor sign, matches, napkins, swizzle sticks, post cards, drink menu. I tried to find someone to do the sign and logo just right. I am on my third artist and we have nearly finalized a look that I am happy with. I think that some of you have heard of Sam Gambino; he has been working hard on it and has created something that looks great. Some day, Hawaii Time, (Thanks Ben) we are going to have all that stuff.

About Tiki mugs and a busy bar. First any thing nit nailed down in a bar will be stolen. I had an Easter Island head at the Mallard that was buried 3 feet down and had 100 ponds of concrete to weigh it down and it was stolen. One of the great things about a intimate bar or restaurant is that with a low volume of sales the staff can watch everything and everyone, but in a busy bar you don't know who your friends friends are and if you leave something unattended for minute you may find your own hat on someone else's head. So we will only sell drinks in tiki mugs if you buy the mug. I have asked Crazy Al to dream up a mug for us. If all goes well we will have a new mug every year or so and retire the old ones. I hope that Holden will produce them for us. If you guys want to drink out of tiki mugs you can bring in your own we will put your name on it and leave it on the shelve behind the bar (space is limited) then you can drink out of the best tiki mug you want.

About the sign. Yes it would be helpful to have I sign. For the past 8 years I have heard the same thing about Thalassa. I do think that all of you are right about businesses needing signs every other business I see has one so their must be something to it. Kona Club will have one someday, I don't like seeing Kings X outside every time I go to work, but if I take it down I have to apply for new sign permit and I don't like to deal with the City or "the Man"

About the outside looking closed. I think its fun. I have always been a shorts & Aloha shirt kind of guy. Although I love to look at well dressed beautiful people I am always attracted to what is going on inside them. It is the same thing for my bars. I just want to attract people who want to simply enjoy the moment and don't need to be in the coolest hip spot around. If black windows are a reason not to go into a bar thats cool with me. That being said there is a neon "tiki bar open" sign on the way.

About a drink menu. Oh man we so need one ASAP. It too is on the way. Interesting to note. TC'ers that like a certain type of tropical libation. The ones that have come in like their drinks sour and strong. I live in Hawaii part time and I am always in search of the perfect Mai-Tai. My tastes are different than my other friends and what I like is not always what they like it does not mean either one of us is wrong its just that I hate anchovies on pizza. I think the POG in a martini glass was made with pomegranate juice, Pearl pomegranate Vodka and other fruit juices. It is drink that one of the bartenders made up and it has been on of the most popular or our "house" drinks. Its ok not to like it (I hate Tequila). I am sure that the bartender would have made something else. We are having fun making up new drinks and will have a drink menu with nice words and graphics some day. If you want to give us your favorite recipe we might and it to menu (Thanks for The-Jab's knockout punch.) If any one requests it I make a mean drink with Passion, Orange and Guava juice. It gets a great response by the third one at my house parties.

Bartenders, I wish I could clone Robin at the Mallard for the Kona club. There are a lot of great bartenders that work at the other bars and someday there Mojo will rub off on the new staff. But in the meantime I hope that all the Bartenders are friendly and treat you like family. I can teach them how to make good drinks but it hard to teach people how to be genuinely nice and friendly. To all of you TC'ers let me know if someone is not nice to you, that is something I can't have.

Some things I can't help. For many of you these are the bad things at the bar. First a TV yes I have one, old surf movies, Gidget, Gilligan's island, etc. at night. We have a variety of music. about 25% of the music is Hawaiian or Polynesian, throw in a few Reggae albums and soon to be on new release Martin Denny and you have the mood selection. I don't think I can take Eminem so if he is on there I will take it off. The problem is that most folks don't know or like island music or exotica. So I gotta pay the bills and the Music will vary.

I will be working on the place as best I can and it will get new stuff. If you want to make changes to the place I am super open to suggestions. JUst write down what you think and give it the bar tender. I will get them. I wish everything was done so I could be in Hawaii surfing but there is time enough in the meantime enjoy the life and don't forget about watching sunsets.

Mahalo
Doug


 
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crazy al
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 25, 2002
Posts: 1841
From: CA
Posted: 2006-03-04 4:10 pm   Permalink

something was very wrong Thurs night.... i never puked.... is that something i should work on or the bar owner?????

 
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purple jade
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 19, 2003
Posts: 1450
From: New Orleans
Posted: 2006-03-04 4:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-03-04 15:35, DuckTiki wrote:
I do think that all of you are right about businesses needing signs every other business I see has one so their must be something to it.




Really nice post, Doug.
I'm a theatre rat, what do you say to wish a new bar well...break a mug?

_________________
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"Here am I, your special island
Come to me, come to me"

[ This Message was edited by: purple jade 2006-03-04 16:19 ]


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Robertiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 11, 2006
Posts: 179
Posted: 2006-03-05 12:09 pm   Permalink

Wow, Doug.

Thanks for taking the time to address the issues brought up on this forum.

I think it can accurately be said, that we all want you to succeed, and I think everyone here is in 100% agreement, that your place is damn straight gorgeous.

I hear you about the theft of objects that aren't locked down. I had a pet lock broken in my bathroom (POUR bar and bistro) and toilet paper stolen. Sheesh, I can't imagine the pain one would feel to have artistic tiki artifacts taken.

On the mug issue, I happen to like what NYC's Otto's Shrunken Head does. On their menu, it reads, "all drinks are served in plastic cups...unless you buy a mug for $6. You can keep the mug or return it for a refund."

One of my employees suggested a "left shoe policy" where a patron, upon ordering a scorpion bowl must leave a shoe which is strung up with a pulley system. Not sure how the health Dept feels about shoe-less patrons though.

Anyway, good luck on getting all the bugs out, and next time I'm in the bay area, I will stop by again.

Robertiki



 
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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1770
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2006-03-05 12:54 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-03-04 15:35, DuckTiki wrote:
If you guys want to drink out of tiki mugs you can bring in your own we will put your name on it and leave it on the shelve behind the bar



... and wait for somebody to steal it! Awwww, just kiddin. I think it's an excellent idea. It really gives people the sense of having some ownership in the bar, like it's not just your bar their visiting, but their bar too.

Doug, we are all rooting for you. Break a mug indeed.



 
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tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 2816
Posted: 2006-03-05 8:17 pm   Permalink

Doug you sound like a pro. Good luck, I know you will do well.

 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2006-03-25 2:14 pm   Permalink

They've made some welcome changes at the Kona Club. Some special tropical drinks are available. There are about a dozen or so, plus 2 bowl drinks. There is no printed drink menu yet but the bartenders will show you their recipe sheet. Included are the Knockout Punch by yours truly and Kick_the_reverb's Reverb Crash.

Now, here are my criticisms. Unfortunately, they altered some of the original recipes. I'm not sure if they did this to make them easier to make, or because they did tastings and liked them better. I was particalarly disappointed that they changed the recipes for the Blackbeard's Ghost (which didn't taste nearly as good as the real thing) and Don the Beachcomber's Zombie (which cannot be called a zombie at all because it's too weak). I plan on bringing the real recipes for these in next time so I can have them make them properly. I think if you want to offer a zombie then it better be strong and you should charge accordingly ($10 or more). My Knockout Punch recipe calls for passion fruit syrup but they have passion fruit juice so they should have increased the amount quite a bit. Also, I wish they were a little more careful with drink consistency: they should measure more carefully instead of eyeballing it, especially when adding small quantities of ingredients.

Enough of my drink complaints. All in all, the drink menu has some great drinks on it. Some of their own inventions look very tasty. They have far more rums now including Myers's Platinum in the well, Velvet Falernum, Trader Vic's and Fee Brothers orgeats, passion fruit and guava juices. I showed them how to make as close to a proper Mai Tai as possible, and they did a great tasting one with Appleton Estate, Orinoco rum (Rhum St. James has been ordered), Cointreau (no curacao still!), fresh lime, and orgeat. The house "Mai Tai" is still made with pineapple but with guava added so it's probably a tasty drink even if it's not a Mai Tai.

In addition, there is far more stuff on the walls now, mostly artworks, and all very appropriate for a classic tiki bar (in other words, sticking to Polynesia and not verging into caribbean or other themes). I think they added some hanging lamps - it seems like there were more this time.

And they put the new Martin Denny compilation on the jukebox.

WWJD? Go to the Kona again!


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2006-03-25 2:15 pm   Permalink

They've made some welcome changes at the Kona Club. Some special tropical drinks are available. There are about a dozen or so, plus 2 bowl drinks. There is no printed drink menu yet but the bartenders will show you their recipe sheet. Included are the Knockout Punch by yours truly and Kick_the_reverb's Reverb Crash.

Now, here are my criticisms. Unfortunately, they altered some of the original recipes. I'm not sure if they did this to make them easier to make, or because they did tastings and liked them better. I was particalarly disappointed that they changed the recipes for the Blackbeard's Ghost (which didn't taste nearly as good as the real thing) and Don the Beachcomber's Zombie (which cannot be called a zombie at all because it's too weak). I plan on bringing the real recipes for these in next time so I can have them make them properly. I think if you want to offer a zombie then it better be strong and you should charge accordingly ($10 or more). My Knockout Punch recipe calls for passion fruit syrup but they have passion fruit juice so they should have increased the amount quite a bit. Also, I wish they were a little more careful with drink consistency: they should measure more carefully instead of eyeballing it, especially when adding small quantities of ingredients.

Enough of my drink complaints. All in all, the drink menu has some great drinks on it. Some of their own inventions look very tasty. They have far more rums now including Myers's Platinum in the well, Velvet Falernum, Trader Vic's and Fee Brothers orgeats, passion fruit and guava juices. I showed them how to make as close to a proper Mai Tai as possible, and they did a great tasting one with Appleton Estate, Orinoco rum (Rhum St. James has been ordered), Cointreau (no curacao still!), fresh lime, and orgeat. The house "Mai Tai" is still made with pineapple but with guava added so it's probably a tasty drink even if it's not a Mai Tai.

In addition, there is far more stuff on the walls now, mostly artworks, and all very appropriate for a classic tiki bar (in other words, sticking to Polynesia and not verging into caribbean or other themes). I think they added some hanging lamps - it seems like there were more this time.

And they put the new Martin Denny compilation on the jukebox.

WWJD? Go to the Kona again!


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2006-03-25 2:23 pm   Permalink

One more observation: It has a great vibe. Last night the people there were friendly, the staff and clientele. Nobody was obnoxiously loud or rowdy. It had a lounge atmosphere, appropriately dark with the music just loud enough to hear but have an easy conversation without raising your voice. It was full (most of the tables and seats at the bar occupied), but the crowd thinned out fairly early.

Oh, and the bartender remembered my name. I always dig that.


 
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