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Tiki Central Forums » » Collecting Tiki » » Devil Reef Bar finds - anyone know more?
Devil Reef Bar finds - anyone know more?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 09, 2005
Posts: 462
From: UK
Posted: 2008-11-14 11:26 pm   Permalink

Here's the story so far, I live in the university town of Oxford and whilst visiting our new Tiki Bar - Kukui http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=30316&forum=2&17 I met an interesting American student. Howard [from the Miskatonic University in Arkham, MA] is studying in Oxford for a year and spotted me in all my usual tiki attire [shirt, bad hat and 70's slacks] and we got to talking about the whole tiki scene. Long story short, I swapped a couple of my mugs for a couple of old tiki items he'd got from his grandad. These items are in very poor condition, all that remains of the menu is the cover with drinks on the other side, is is very water damaged and seems burnt on one edge. The other item is a swizzle stick, in a semi transparent green plastic. Both are from Devil Reef, Innsmouth MA. Howard said that all he knew about them was that his grandfather was in law enforcement [american for police, I think ] and was involved in a breaking up a gang running a smuggling racketing on the eastern coast. Sounded all a bit far fetched but the items are unusual, can anyone help with more details? There seems to be some mugs used? Do the prices help date the bar? I've put bigger images online as links so you can read the drinks on the menu inner.




Devil Reef Bar Blog

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 14, 2002
Posts: 1290
From: Bangkok
Posted: 2008-11-15 04:02 am   Permalink

I think "Devils Reef" was one of the Cthul-HULA Bars that were popular back in the thirties early fifties, most of them shut in mysterious circumstances, generally the owners went mad. I think the swizzel features a carving by the notorious chisel slinger Papa Pickman ( Richard Upton Pickman 1908 - ?), whose carving are quite indescribable and are so detailed you'd swear they were carved from living models.

I think i have a image of the owner of the devils reef kicking around somewhere I'll post it up later.



[ This Message was edited by: atomictonytiki 2008-11-15 04:04 ]

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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2617
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2008-11-15 04:57 am   Permalink

I think that American student was the Devil and by trading with him he now owns your soul. Oh well, I guess things could be worse at least you didn't get bit by a werewolf.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2005
Posts: 870
From: Lowell, Mass
Posted: 2008-11-15 05:45 am   Permalink

This is from Wikipedia Innsmouth


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11594
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-11-15 06:31 am   Permalink

Haaaaaa, good one! You would have needed to hand-ink the font to make that story fly! You Brits are just going Tiki-crazy over there! Love the swizzle. Congrats on another great concept.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3683
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2008-11-15 06:53 am   Permalink

I was going to write that the cover tiki is totally Tikiracers style of painting. The mugs in the menu are too modern looking. The burned parts of the menu's edge shouldn't still be there. And the swizzle is computer generated looking a bit.

Great story and I like the Devil name. The funny thing is, even though I had doubts, I still would have believed you.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 05, 2003
Posts: 1194
From: Texas Tikiland
Posted: 2008-11-15 07:18 am   Permalink

Love that Tang, tikiracer! Awesome style!!

Can;t wait to hear about yet another tiki bar opening in your neck of the world!!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2002
Posts: 488
From: The fly-over states
Posted: 2008-11-15 08:48 am   Permalink

Well now this is just bizarre! I HAVE that exact same menu. Mine is not burned, but it does have blood stains on it. I got it from a friend while we were out one weekend snipe hunting in the woods. Sadly, he died (horrible accident that very same weekend, I'd rather not get into the details) so I never got the story of how he acquired the menu. I thought it would be one of those unsolved mystery restaurants. Now we know.
Check out Tiki Quest at
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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 11, 2006
Posts: 919
From: Eastern Shores of Western Civilization
Posted: 2008-11-15 9:21 pm   Permalink

Wow! That’s quite a tale, tikiracer…

Recently, I was travelling through New England and lunched at Kowloon with a Navy shipmate of mine. He’s a knowledgeable antiquarian from Ipswich and for nearly 20 years, keenly aware of my expeditions and collecting obsessions. His nautical lineage runs deep too, beginning with a very great granddad that was an old sea captain and gold trader of the South Seas.

Anyways, my cuz Wally brought along a small wooden chest. Just bits larger than a cigar box, a briny teakwood perhaps, with heavily barnacled but ornate whitish-gold metal bands and lock plates. Upon opening this chest, a nauseous fishy odour choked the air. Luckily we had been seated into a back corner of the restaurant and the waiter exclaimed, “Enjoy the Thai Grill platter, squid veeery fresh today!”

Laughing maniacally, we sifted through glass beads and baubles of very grotesque and almost repulsive design. Jewelry with striking and puzzlingly untraditional designs - some simply geometrical, and some plainly marine - the patterns all hinted of remote secrets and unimaginable abysses in time and space, and the monotonously aquatic nature of the reliefs became almost sinister.

Lastly, three photographs lay quietly upon the crusty purple velvet-lined bottom of this deep and salty box. (1) a group of oddly-shaped swimmers on a reef, silhouetted by a pale moon, (2) a picture postcard of The Gilman House, and (3) a photo of an unusual face mug.

He picked up the mug photo and waved it at me…

I then realized he’d brought his sea chest of curiosities merely to taunt, “Have you ever seen anything like this one before?” During this description I had kept a tight rein on my emotions, but my face must have betrayed my mounting fears. I asked, “Do you have this mug?” He looked concerned, and paused in his unwrapping to study my countenance. I motioned to him to continue, which he did with renewed signs of reluctance. “I may know someone who does…” he gloated, but not here. Vague legends of bad luck clustered around them, and my great-grandmother's French governess had said these vessels ought not to be used in New England, though it would be quite safe to drink from them in Europe.

It was good talk story with braddah W, but damn him for ever showing me this photograph!

Do you think this came from Devil Reef or perhaps, just a tea cup from Gilman House?

Viva Kate!


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 09, 2005
Posts: 462
From: UK
Posted: 2009-01-12 3:10 pm   Permalink

Thanks for all the new evidence from everyone. I'll add this to my file.

Did unearth this photo, that appear to be a member of staff at the bar...

Check out some more info at the marketplace

Devil Reef Bar Blog

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 09, 2005
Posts: 462
From: UK
Posted: 2009-02-15 1:38 pm   Permalink

Been doing some more digging on the Devil Reef lead.

Found this portrait in an Arkham thrift store, the paper label on the back says "Devil Reef Bar - Owner Marsh"

Looks like they used the same system, as Don, for keeping recipes safe - secret syrup mixes. Not sure of all the ingredients in this one...


Devil Reef Bar Blog

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