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If you could. . .
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 26, 2004
Posts: 43
From: oklahoma city, ok. .. again
Posted: 2007-05-29 8:12 pm   Permalink

Alright everyone, if you could travel back in time and attend any tiki establishment at any time, what year and which establishment would you travel back to??

(I need a more tiki name!)

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 1513
From: Houston, Texotica
Posted: 2007-05-29 8:26 pm   Permalink

Hmmm, probably the Beverly Hills TV's back in "the day".

I'd require seating in the Celebrity Room, natch, if my time travel wish were complete.
The table next to Frank's, please.

Of course, an early Donn Beach would be fun to have behind the bar at his first (very) little spot.

........Nah, Frank.

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 6161
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2007-05-29 9:24 pm   Permalink

I think the Bali Hai (San Diego) in its heyday. I was a youngster then, so wasn't able to take advantage of all the great food and drinks. That whole Treasure Island was hopping in Poly-Pop/Cocktail and it was just a wonderful place to be. I grew up in San Diego and do miss it....some day, may rob a bank and get back there. I had a 10-year HS Reunion at the Bali Hai and it was so much fun. It just feels comfy/home there to me.
"Oh waiter, another cocktail please!!!"

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2002
Posts: 1528
From: MD
Posted: 2007-05-29 9:38 pm   Permalink

Would you really need to ask? I'd want to be in Baltimore Maryland during the heyday of the Hawaiian Room at the Emerson Hotel. I would love to be there to take in the floor show, have a Headhunter in a take home mug, steal a menu, postcards and whatever ephemera they had lying around and most importantly take lots and lots of pictures. Being that it took me nearly 5 years to uncover a glimpse of its interior I'd document every square inch of the place for posterity!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 1513
From: Houston, Texotica
Posted: 2007-05-29 11:37 pm   Permalink

Ooh, ooh! wait!
A certain little spot in Fort Worth, about nineteen sixty beehive.

I'd be sure and get my photo snapped sipping out of a certain decapitated head drinking vessel and hold onto the photo, making sure to give a future author of tiki books a copy

And I'd make sure to grab a severed head or 5 on my way out the door, thus insuring my grandchildren's college education.....
"Zazz captivates felt."

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 23, 2006
Posts: 335
From: Houston, Texas
Posted: 2007-05-30 01:35 am   Permalink

I was fortunate to be able to visit some of the classic West Coast tiki places in their heydays...places like Trader Vic's Beverly Hills, and Don The Beachcomber's Hollywood, and Bali Hai and many others. I have my dad to thank for the very early days. He loved places like that, and my brother and I often got to tag along. I didn't really appreciate them for what they were back then. And even later visiting as a young adult, I was mainly interested in the quick effects that those "fruity tropical drinks" had on my dates.

Of all of them (that I really know about to date) that I never visited and wished I had...is Don The Beachcomber's at the International Marketplace in Waikiki. I did get to visit Vic's place upstairs there in later years...but never that Don's in it's heyday. I think that would have been great!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2007-05-30 02:14 am   Permalink

April 28, 1961 - The day that the Tiki Ti opened to the public. This is partly because I was born one week earlier, and I would love to go back and see what the world was like when I was born.

It would be interesting to see the original mugs used at the Tiki Ti that night, and perhaps I could persuade Ray Buhens to autograph one for me. It would be fun to order a drink that night directly from Ray himself, saying, with a sense of foreshadowing ..."Don't Make a Mistake, Ray"


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11594
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-05-30 02:50 am   Permalink

You had to ask! That's a good one. I am sorry, but I have a whole list:

In order of desirability (all in the early 60s, when these where really hopping):

1.) The Luau in Beverly Hills
2.) Ren Clark's Polynesian Village
(...and then I myself could take that headhunter mug photo of you, Alice, and make sure it's lit perfectly )
3.) The Lanai in San Mateo
4.) The original Kona Kai in Philadelphia
5.) Aloha Jhoe's in Palm Springs
6.) Tiki Gardens in Florida
7.) The original Kon Tiki (Ports) in Montreal, Chicago and Dallas
8.) Kapu Kai in Rancho Cucamonga
9.) Hawaiian Village in Tampa
10.) South Pacific in Hallandale
11.) Kon Tiki Hotel in Phoenix
12.) Zamboanga in L.A. (in the early 50s)
13.) Zombie Vilage in Oakland
14.) Hawaii Kai in N.Y.
15.) The Islander in Stockton
16.) Mauna Loa in Mexico City
17.) Makai Lounge at the Mar Vista Bowl
18.) Christian's Hut on Balboa Island
19.) The Beachcomber at the Mayfair Hotel, London
20.) ...and perhaps, just maybe, the pool at the Playboy Mansion in Chicago, ca. 1967

...and so on!

Places I was fortunate to have been to, and would go again and again, but would now need a time machine to do so :

1.) Kahiki in Columbus
2.) Tahitian Lanai in Waikiki
3.) The Tikis in Lake Elsinore
4.) The Islands in San Diego
5.) Tiburon Tommy's near S.F.
6.) Trader Vic's San Francisco (on Cosmo Place), Chicago, and Portland
7.) Chin Tiki in Detroit (gone now or not?)

Some of the few precious places still in existence that truly FEEL like you stepped into a time machine:

1.) Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale
2.) Hala Kahiki in Chicago
3.) Tiki Ti in L.A.
4.) Tonga Room in S.F.
5.) Trader Vic's in Munich and Atlanta

Sorry for going nuts like this, but I really do wanna go to ALL.....however, I encourage you to continue with specific and individual phantasies like Vern's on this thread, that's very evocative.

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2007-05-30 03:56 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 08, 2004
Posts: 328
From: DC Metro Area (MD)
Posted: 2007-05-30 06:45 am   Permalink

-to go back to when I was living in Pittsburgh (pre-tiki interest) and make the journey to Columbus to see the KAHIKI. Seems such a legendary establishment for those of us on the Eastern side of the country.

-the other, since my home state is Pennsylvania, would be to see PubTiki and the Philadelphia KONA KAI back in the 1960s. My Mom said, "Oh yeah, I remember that places. That's where you went for a really fancy date - like the end of exams or something." Would be curious to see what it was like because the photos look phenomenal. The Kona Kai (in name only) that closed recently seemed like a third- (not even half!) -hearted attempt at cashing in on what was a familiar name.

-Another would have to be to see an original Don the Beachcomber establishment. The thrill of seeing our tiki interest in its inception would be hard to beat!

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The Gnomon
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1293
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-05-30 08:04 am   Permalink

It would be cool to go here...

...and get a predecessor of the Mai Tai served up by this guy...

...or maybe go someplace else and get trashed at the able hands of this guy...

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1368
From: 1st website dedicated to Tiki Gardens
Posted: 2007-05-30 08:11 am   Permalink

Well... Would I be obvious if I said Tiki Gardens? I'd go back to that day I went when I must have been around 3 or 4 and order my parents to take at least one photo!

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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2617
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2007-05-30 09:19 am   Permalink

I'm going to pick the original Don The Beachcomber's on McCadden Place the day Victor Bergeron came in for inspiration. Since I will already have a time machine a digital camera wouldn't be out of the question. So I'll take some pictures.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2004
Posts: 200
Posted: 2007-05-30 09:57 am   Permalink

Without a question Los Angeles, 1934 opening day: Don the Beachcombers

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2007-05-30 11:19 am   Permalink

I love this question! Thanks for posting it, it's been fun reading everyone's responses so far, and to ponder my own.

My first thought was the Mauna Loa in Detroit. They spent anywhere from $1.6 million to $21 million to build it in 1967 (I've seen both numbers) -- that would be anywhere from $1 billion to $126 billion in today's dollars... whatever the real figure is, they apparently went all out on it. And just a year later, it was closed, and not very much is known about it today. But when I really think about it -- maybe there's a good reason not much is known about it. Maybe it was actually kind of lame. So no, I think I'd want to keep that one in the world of fantasy, a sort of tiki valhalla.

Then my mind turns to the early years of Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood... that surely would be something to see (and taste!). But then, tiki really started to turn into something cool when all these places were trying to top each other. It would be fascinating to see that very early incarnation, but I'm more enchanted with how it eventurally developed into something bigger.

And then, as often happens, my mind turns to the Mai Kai... ah... the Mai Kai. Yes, I think I'd like to go back to the Mai Kai, when it was really hoppin'. When it was full of people out for a fine night on the town, dressed to he nines, with Johnny Carson at his regular table, and nary a t-shirted tourist in sight.

Of course the cool part is that the next best thing -- going to the Mai Kai today -- is still within anyone's reach, sans time machine.

I'm sure in a few hours I'll think of some other place in the past that I simply must go visit.


Critiki - Critiki News - Ooga-Mooga

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 07, 2003
Posts: 462
From: Portland
Posted: 2007-05-30 11:23 am   Permalink

Pantleys Pagan Hut, Depoe Bay Oregon.

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