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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Balinese Room, Galveston, TX (restaurant)
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Balinese Room, Galveston, TX (restaurant)
Formikahini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 1513
From: Houston, Texotica
Posted: 2006-12-29 11:17 am   Permalink

Name:Balinese Room
Type:restaurant
Street:2107 Seawall (21st St. at the beach)
City:Galveston
State:TX
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:(409) 762-9696
Status: as of Hurricane Ike - No longer operational (see pics below)

Description:
The Balinese Room, located at the end of a looong pier over Galveston waters, has had many periods in its history.

1.) It was a grand casino/restaurant/bar/supper club from 1941-1957. You can read its story on their website (and see scads of photos in the History section), but suffice it to say that when you have the likes of Sinatra, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, George Burns & Gracie Allen, Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, Jayne Mansfield, Gene Autry, Howard Hughes, and Diamond Jim West frequenting the stage and/or casino floors, you're talking a BIG DEAL. One of the many origin-of-the-Margarita stories holds that Balinese head bartender Santos Cruz invented it for Peggy Lee in 1948. Stories abound of Galveston County Sheriff Frank Biaggne's being on the take and telling the casino when the Texas Rangers were planning a raid. By the time the Rangers got to the end of the long breezeway, the tables were dumped off the balconies or (more likely) folded and hidden away.

Asked why his men never raided the place, Biagge told the legislative reform committee (before being booted out of office), that he never raided the Balinese casino because the place was a private club, he wasn't a member and he couldn't get in.

My favorite story is of the band's launching into "The Eyes of Texas" when the cops moved in, thus impeding their entrance substantially; we Texans will always stand to sing the national song of Texas, natch The story goes that the new sheriff did not play ball, and thus a final raid closed The Balinese Room until:

2.) It was re-opened as a supper club from 1965-1985.

3. ) After almost two decades of neglect, Houston lawyer Scott Arnold recently bought the Balinese and re-furbished it to its former glory. Its stage is a thing of bamboo beauty and the room is filled with tall copper and neon palm trees. Tikis are minimal but present; I counted 3 on my last visit. Tropical murals adorn the walls. I have only been there by day and have not had the opportunity to sample the bar's work. At the seawall (the street entrance), there is a store selling typical beach/tropical wares, plus there's a nice display of photos from the club's illustrious history. Local cover bands are the featured entertainment now. Not exactly Sinatra, but if it will keep the place open, I'm not going to complain. Openly.

One more cool point:
Just as they did with the best little whorehouse in Texas ("La Grange"), local boys ZZ Top wrote a song about this spot: "Balinese" (1973)

Note: there was a thread on here long ago about the Balinese, But "Search" seems unable to pull it up.

http://www.balineseroom.net
balineseroom@sbcglobal.net

[ This Message was edited by: Formikahini 2006-12-29 11:26 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Formikahini 2011-03-19 15:00 ]


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Sabina
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 08, 2002
Posts: 372
From: The Lounge of the Seven Pleasures!
Posted: 2008-09-13 1:20 pm   Permalink

The Balinese Room fell to IKE's furry last night.

The South Seas Showroom (a.k.a. The Balinese Ballroom) sounds like a total loss.

Here are two news stories about the destruction;

Balinese Room, Galveston Landmark, Destroyed

Landmark Texas nightclub destroyed by Ike's surge

And the home page of the Balinese Room, with lots of historical information. Plenty of historical galleries to explore.
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Jeff Central
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1700
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2008-09-14 05:37 am   Permalink

Sad.

Thanks for the update Sabina!!

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff


 
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tikiyaki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2723
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2008-09-14 4:24 pm   Permalink

One of my favoruite ZZ Top songs "Balinese" is about the place...yes, I like ZZ Top.

This is very sad, as this place was legendary.

Another Tiki Landmark disappears.


 
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oaktiki
Member

Joined: May 28, 2005
Posts: 4
Posted: 2008-09-14 10:02 pm   Permalink







 
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Formikahini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 1513
From: Houston, Texotica
Posted: 2008-09-16 12:15 pm   Permalink

Can you hear my heart breaking from here
SO glad I saw it.....

Addendum:
I heard the Swiss manager of the Balinese interviewed on the radio. She was digging through the wreckage looking for any salvageable parts. I wanted to be doing the same. I was envious.

Is that really really wrong?

[ This Message was edited by: Formikahini 2008-09-18 15:22 ]


 
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GulfCoastGasser
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 07, 2008
Posts: 16
Posted: 2008-09-18 9:29 pm   Permalink

The great Tiki gods just were not content with the lack of tiki bars in Texas.

 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2026
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2008-09-19 11:16 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-09-16 12:15, Formikahini wrote:
I heard the Swiss manager of the Balinese interviewed on the radio. She was digging through the wreckage looking for any salvageable parts. I wanted to be doing the same. I was envious.

Is that really really wrong?




Wrong?

Wrong?!?!

It is MANDATORY BEHAVIOR!


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5321
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2008-09-19 11:22 am   Permalink

Lots of people were doing the same from the radio show. Wanting to take a literal piece of the place home.

 
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bongofury
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 1560
From: Ventura County
Posted: 2010-12-31 2:32 pm   Permalink

After looking at the web link history, this LP seems to fill in some missing time about a mid sixties rebuild of the location. This one sided lp is narrated by radio commentator Fred Nahas. He talks about the opening night festivities (May 21 1966) honoring Phil Harris & Alice Faye for their help with the Variety Boys Club of Galveston Texas. The rebuild was financed by oilman Johnny Mitchell. The history of the room is discussed........The Balinese Room , "where you can get any kind of drink you had ever heard of. From a Bloody Mary to a Zombie with with six kinds of Rum"



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11605
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-12-31 3:20 pm   Permalink

Wow! Can you say "architectural rendering" !? Yummy! - glad there is some evidence of it left.

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5152
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-01-01 10:48 pm   Permalink

Bongo,

That sounds like an interesting album, is there any music or just the narrative?

Here is the color version of the rending that is on the album cover.





DC

[ This Message was edited by: Dustycajun 2011-01-08 06:29 ]


 
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bongofury
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 1560
From: Ventura County
Posted: 2011-01-08 08:09 am   Permalink

DC...nice color rendering. LP is narrative with orchestration behind part of it.

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5152
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-03-18 8:33 pm   Permalink

A matchbook from the Balinese Room . Does anybody have photos of the interior?





DC


 
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Koitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2007
Posts: 249
From: Austin
Posted: 2018-04-06 11:48 pm   Permalink

https://gala.thebryanmuseum.org/balinese-room
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