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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Dug's West Indies, Carson City, NV (restaurant)
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Dug's West Indies, Carson City, NV (restaurant)
Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2007-10-30 9:54 pm   Permalink

Name:Dug's West Indies
Type:restaurant
Street:3439 North Carson Street
City:Carson City
State:NV
Zip:89701
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
\"On the Million Dollar Mile. Home of the Original Blue Mai Tai. The Best of Polynesian Drinks. Chinese/American Dining till Midnight. Old Ships Anchors and Hatchboards Identify This Unique Establishment. Visit Our Shark Infested Men's Room.\"









 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2007-10-30 9:57 pm   Permalink

It's always fun discovering a tiki bar I've never heard of before. I bought this postcard at a garage sale this weekend. Has anyone ever heard of this old tiki joint in the middle of Carson City, Nevada? Is there even the remote possiblity that any part of it might still exist?


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Paipo
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Joined: Jun 22, 2006
Posts: 1886
From: Aotearoa / NZ
Posted: 2007-10-31 03:27 am   Permalink

I had some time to kill and had a dig for Dug. The more I dug, the more I found, and it was all very interesting so I kept going. Captain Dug Picking sounds like a classic character - an archetypal sailor/beachcomber/tiki entrepreneur:



Quote:
Welcome to the best little decanter collection in Alamo Collective
Oakland Tribune, Aug 25, 2007 by Joan Morris

SAM TULLIS is the first to admit that his collection is not what you'd call run-of-the-mill.

While others find joy in endlessly collecting stamps or coins, china dolls or figurines, stuffed bears or even doorknobs, Tullis' collection is limited, finite and provocative.

Tullis, who lives in Alamo, collects brothel decanters made by Captain Dug. The miniature decanters, which when originally sold contained the Captain's "famous" blue mai tai mix, celebrate the legal brothels of Nevada. Each features winsome, curvy figures of women, a map locating the brothel and little doubt about what profession the decanters depict.

Grinning, Tullis tries to explain his attraction for the small, cork-stoppered bottles. There is a beauty to them, Tullis says. And then there's the Wild West romanticism of the world's oldest profession.

"The brothel aspect intrigues me," says Tullis, who has his collection displayed in a built-in wall unit. "We go hunting in Wyoming and as we drive through Nevada, you can hear them on the CBs, trying to talk the truckers into stopping."

While he finds each decanter attractive in its detail and design, he is more drawn by the hunt for the rare, unique bottles.

The decanters were made from 1976 to 2000 by Dug Picking, a sailor turned Nevada restaurateur. Picking was born in Estonia, but began traveling the world on the high seas at a young age. In 1954, Picking settled in Nevada, where he worked in restaurants, bars and casinos. In the late 1960s, he opened his own place, Dug's West Indies in Carson City, specializing in Polynesian Chinese cuisine.

His first two decanters, made in 1974 and 1975, featured nautical themes and were sold at his restaurant. The following year, the owner of the nearby Moonlight Ranch brothel asked him to make one for the ranch.

The decanters were so popular, other brothels began asking to have their establishments immortalized by Captain Dug. He eventually made 47 brothel decanters and a few unrelated bottles. The numbers produced, however, were small. Some had as a few as 700; others as many as 1,500.

The designs and the limited numbers have combined to make the decanters rare and, in recent months, extremely valuable. A bottle in mint condition recently sold for $700.



Brothel decanter with mai tai mix label:

Full brothel decanter collection
here - the guy who runs this site also sells on ebay where he mentions that "Captain Dug recently passed away in February 2007, just shy of 82 years old." He seems to be in the know and may have more info to share?

Here are the two nautical decanters from Dug's West Indies. Seems odd that many of the brothel decanters contained Mai Tai mix, but Dug's ships were filled with bourbon

Dug's West Indies Clipper Decanter and box:




Dug's Outrigger Decanter:



More decanter info:
Quote:
Dug's West Indies Decanter Collection. There were only two styles commissioned as seen in this lot. Both in original box. The first is of a schooner 6 x 8 inches. The second is of an sail-powered outrigger with a man and a woman on board. 6 x 6 inches. Both have on the reverse "On Carson City's Million Dollar Mile, Doug's West Indies, Home of the Original Blue Mai Tai, Polynesian - American - Cantonese Cuisine, 3439 North Carson Street, Carson City, Nevada, Largest Collection of Authentic Maritime Antiques in Nevada, First (Second) of a Series of Limited Editions, 1974 (1975)." Both are full with Cyrus Noble Whiskey and the seals are unbroken.



Found another postcard on ebay with an interior shot, and going by the pic at the top of my post, a young Captain Dug?



An old-timer reminisces:

Quote:
Dug's West Indies, again on North Carson Street, was one of the best Polynesian restaurants you could ever hope to find. His exotic drinks were works of art (although he did short-pour the rum once in awhile) and his selections and quality were outstanding. As much as I'm a fan of John Ascuaga's, his Trader Dick's could never quite equal the consistency of Dug's West Indies.



There is also a newspaper clipping in the Nevada State Library and Archives on "Dug's Windjammer" at Carson City. Other than that, I found some old licensing board minutes that mentioned a couple of subsequent business names (1988-The Barn, 1991 Guadalajara De Noche) at the same address, but after that nothing more. Looks like the building might still be there?


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[ This Message was edited by: Paipo 2007-10-31 03:34 ]


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Polynesiac
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jan 29, 2004
Posts: 2079
From: San Pedro, CA
Posted: 2007-10-31 5:25 pm   Permalink

SAbu that place looks totally cool! from the picture of the outside, it would look like it would fall down in the first major wind storm!

Paipo - Great sleuthing! you really found a ton of cool information.

thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the read.
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YakRider
Member

Joined: Sep 15, 2012
Posts: 1
Posted: 2012-09-15 10:50 am   Permalink

Hey there,

It's a real "blast-from-the-past" seeing pictures of Dug's place and some of his inimitable creations.

I worked at Dug's... (Now that's funny. After over 30 years I instantly lapsed into calling it "Dug's" and not "The West Indies.) Anyway, I worked for Dug during my high school years, starting in the back as a busboy and then apprenticed to chef George Lim, perhaps the most cantankerous, short-fused man alive. He was also a chef whose creations were stuff of local legend. I would put him up against the kitchen at Trader Vic's anytime.

A few things that I remember...

Dug would address all adult males, "Governor".

He loved telling stories to the clientele, and I remember them bellying-up to the bar just to hear a good story. I never heard him repeat one. He did have a little fun with the tipsy, "know-it-all" clientele: he kept a bridge compass near the middle of the bar area and a nautical map behind the counter. He would bait and bet the uninitiated by telling him that Carson City was farther West than Los Angeles. (He explained to me later that, since Los Angeles is actually on the Pacific and Carson City is east of the Sierras, we create a spatial error. I know. I did it too!) After a few flabbergasting moments, out would come that map and the incredulous client would have to buy rounds or some such.

My experience with Dug was that his personality set the mood of the entire restaurant. He was equally cheerful with a restaurant full on a Summer's evening or on a sparse, snow-jammed Winter night. This may sound like a gush, but who would deny Dug a little hero-worship?

He said that he and Victor Bergeron went "way back," and told ever-growing, ever more embellished stories of their years of carousing and drinking their way around the Pacific Rim, and how he got the best of Victor sometimes and sometimes not.

I got to watch Dug earning his fame with his "Blue Mai Tai," from-scratch Pina Coladas, grogs and flourish drinks (he cheerfully did five and seven-layered Pousse cafes on-demand.) He didn't water-down or scrimp on anything for the guests. Nothing in the place was inexpensive, and, conversely, nothing was cheap. ...except for the endless tape loop of Hawaiian music that he had wafting through the place every night.

One thing that I found remarkable was that he did great business in spite of being in Casinoland (where good food and alcohol are extremely inexpensive), and the restaurant was out on the far edge of town.

George, Dug's cranky chef, could make magic with his huge fried prawns, perfectly cut and broiled New York Strips, broiled and buttered lobster on that side of the Sierras. His best-sellers were his Polynesian pork, sweet & sour shrimp, stir-frys and several other Polynesian/continental-influenced cuisine...but George could be volatile. He'd cuss like a street urchin from Hong Kong (which he was, as I discovered, during long hours in the kitchen with him.)

Dug sold the restaurant to a man named Heinz (and his wife Inga). He lost 1/2 of the kitchen staff the day that happened.
The place began to list to one side after that. Heinz was an active and surprisingly functional alcoholic and was drunk every time that I saw him, no matter what time or day it was. He definitely didn't have Dug's personality or drive.

I saw your note about "Dug's Windjammer." Unfortunately, that scheme never materialized. When he announced the sale of the restaurant, he said he was working hard to open a new restaurant, the Windjammer, on the other end of town. All of the staff promised that they would jump ship the moment he opened the new place. It didn't happen, and now, the only thing left is the little house that was behind the restaurant. And to me, that's sad.

I'm grateful for having the unique opportunity of knowing and working for Dug. and, by the way, I'd put him up against "The World's Most Interesting Man" anytime!

Yak (Donald)


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11126
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-09-16 02:30 am   Permalink

Thank you for adding to this thread, it is always great to get first-hand descriptions of people and places connected to the objects and paper ephemera shown on TC. Together with Paipo's research, we really have a unique slice of life here concerning a pretty interesting personality of Polynesian pop.

 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4718
Posted: 2012-09-16 08:38 am   Permalink

Loved reading this thread, Wendy

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4265
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-09-16 11:21 am   Permalink

YakRider,

Great info on Dug, thanks for sharing that. Here is a better scan of the postcard that Paipo posted.







Is that a young Dug behind the bar?



Or could it be Tofu Joe's dad???




I have one of the Outrigger Decanters.





Dug also made a promotional postcard for the decanter.






You just have to love the independent characters of Tiki's past.

DC


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11126
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-09-16 11:33 pm   Permalink

Haaa, that likeness is funny! Thanks for your expert zoom-ins AGAIN, DC. It made me notice that Dug had quite a collection of liquor decanters on his back bar shelves, he obviously was a collector of them first, and then got into designing them - very Tiki revival-like!

Themed liquor decanters are so much a symbol of the times of Tiki and its generation, there is a mind-boggling array of them out there. There used to be great liquor store in Las Vegas that used to carry them...now they are a thing of the past. They are such "bad taste", nobody's wife would allow them around the house! ...maybe I should do a book about them.

P.S.: Also just noticed, behind chef George on the left, an almost empty bottle of Dagger rum. Obviously an ingredient in the Blue Mai Tai. That Blue Mai Tai concept is a scary one, we don't even accept red ones!

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2012-09-16 23:40 ]


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4265
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2013-08-14 9:42 pm   Permalink

Astute observation Bigbro, Dug served Dagger Rum for the Blue Mai Tai!

I picked up a new postcard from Dug's with a wider view of the exterior.



Close up of the sign.



And another Tiki.




Now the back of the card is cool.



The note at the bottom states that the author of the postcard was a partner in the bar, with the car in the photo. How cool is that!




DC


 
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tikicoma
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 368
From: wakinekona
Posted: 2014-03-03 10:48 pm   Permalink

I picked up one of these a week ago...



It always makes me wonder how this stuff moves across the country to a small town for us to find. Dustycajun has at least one of everything so I thought I'd show that it's possible for others to find stuff . So I dug around a little and found this...



Dug's looks a bit abandoned, isn't that a tiki lying down in the snow?

aloha, tikicoma


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 975
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-03-04 08:14 am   Permalink

It's amazing where tropical-themed stuff settled - that's wild west silver mining country... Interior pics would be great, who knows if any exist?

The web site where that photo came from says there's a Burger King at that spot now.
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5034
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2014-03-04 09:12 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-08-14 21:42, Dustycajun wrote:
Astute observation Bigbro, Dug served Dagger Rum for the Blue Mai Tai!

I picked up a new postcard from Dug's with a wider view of the exterior.



Close up of the sign.



And another Tiki.




Now the back of the card is cool.



The note at the bottom states that the author of the postcard was a partner in the bar, with the car in the photo. How cool is that!




DC


Just reading this and can't believe the coincidence. How did you get a postcard sent by Inga???

<<Dug sold the restaurant to a man named Heinz (and his wife Inga). He lost 1/2 of the kitchen staff the day that happened.
The place began to list to one side after that. Heinz was an active and surprisingly functional alcoholic and was drunk every time that I saw him, no matter what time or day it was. He definitely didn't have Dug's personality or drive. >>
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Dr. Shocker
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 17, 2004
Posts: 371
From: Ventura
Posted: 2014-03-05 7:30 pm   Permalink

Burger King is down the block the little rock building is still there....

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4265
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2014-07-08 4:56 pm   Permalink

Picked up a little menu mailer from Dug's.

The front has the sailing ship that was represented one of his decanters.



The back has the tropical drink list.


And it opens up to the menu.



DC


 
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