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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki The Tropics, Beverly Hills, CA (restaurant)
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The Tropics, Beverly Hills, CA (restaurant)
Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-05-31 11:19 am   Permalink

Name:The Tropics
Type:restaurant
Street:421 N. Rodeo Drive
City:Beverly Hills
State:CA
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
The Tropics was opened by Harry "Sugie" Sugarman in Beverly Hills in 1936. This was one of the earliest of the Pre-Polynesian Pop power houses that catered to the motion picture industry. The Tropics was purchased by Steven Crane and turned into the Luau in 1953, what a history.

I have the classic fold-out menu mailer with the three monkeys. There are several versions of this one.













I have also seen other items from The Tropics:

A souvenir photo with a nice view of the interior





A menu from the Chinese Buddha Room.




This is a cool advertising hand bill.



A close-up of the bamboo bar.




The bar looks similar to the first bar at the Luau, as scene in this postcard I have.



Here is an early photo of the exterior of the building after it became the Luau in 1953.



My understanding is that Sugarman opened a second Tropics in Hollywood.

DC



[ This Message was edited by: Dustycajun 2010-05-31 15:46 ]


 
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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2568
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2010-05-31 11:33 am   Permalink

The other Tropics was at Sunset and Vine but I believe these places were more monkey and less Tiki if any. It later became an Ah Fong's.








 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-05-31 12:12 pm   Permalink

Thanks BB. I found an article in LA magazine that talked about the second Tropics in Hollywood..





He also started the Hollywood Walk of Fame, cool.

Sugarman sold The Tropics in Hollywood to Harry Arnheim. I have a matchbook from this era.





DC


 
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1961surf
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2007
Posts: 1917
From: Newport Beach, Ca .
Posted: 2010-05-31 1:41 pm   Permalink

Great post DC ..thanks.

 
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Tiki Shaker
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 706
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2010-05-31 6:31 pm   Permalink

Here 's the other link where we touched on the other Tropics.

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=30851&forum=1



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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-06-01 12:23 pm   Permalink

Tiki Shaker, thanks for posting that link. I remember that thread now and had no idea back then that the Tropics on Vine was actually Sugie's second one.

As for the Vine location, I am still somewhat confused about the time line. It looks like the same building was Sugie's Tropics, then Arnheim's Tropics, then Tom Brenemans', and finally Ah Fongs.

Here is an old postcard showing a night-time scene of the original Sugie's Tropics. You can see the bowling alley next door.





Sugie sold the Tropics to Harry Arnheim in the mid 1940's.

Here is the photo of the Tropics that Bora Boris posted - it looks different now, maybe the Arnheim era.



Here is the interior postcard from the Harry Arnheim's Tropics.





Arnheim must have sold the place to Tom Breneman. Here is a postcard I have showing the interior of Breneman's - it is the same as the Arnheim Tropics postcard.



I think that Ah Fongs then took over the Tom Breneman's place when Breneman moved next door into the bowling alley, as seen in these photos from Tiki Shaker's post.





How does that sound??

DC


 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2010-06-01 6:19 pm   Permalink

Sounds great, fantastic thread that really needed to be done. Great pre tiki history shown here.

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-07-17 09:36 am   Permalink

The menu I have and posted at the beginning of the thread featured the wine list. Must have been an early version, as the menu changed to tropical drinks named after movie stars. Here is that version of the menu that Sven posted a while ago.



Also found this image of another Tropics menu type made of wood.



A few matchbooks styles, including the raised breasts variety.












DC


 
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Bay Park Buzzy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2006
Posts: 2828
From: West Bay Park, San Diego, CA
Posted: 2010-07-17 5:18 pm   Permalink

Here's one with the same graphics but different phone numbers, and the full view of the interior:



Buzzy Out!
_________________


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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-02-07 7:43 pm   Permalink

The Tiki Transmission Tradition evidenced early here with a knock-off matchbook from the Tropics located in Burlingame, California.





 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-02-09 6:22 pm   Permalink

Here is another menu from the Beverly Hills Tropics featuring your host Sugie on the cover.



An interesting bio



The drinks, all named after stars with a punch line.









Some good stuff here.

DC


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11088
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2011-02-09 10:38 pm   Permalink

Oh yes, forgotten drinks and forgotten names....this is where I saw the Rum, Gum & Lime first, one of my faves now at the Tiki Ti.

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-02-20 07:20 am   Permalink

Here are three photos of the Tropics I found at the Los Angeles Library photographic collection, which I checked out after seeing Abstractiki's posts.

The first one stated that the man on the left was Charlie Chaplin.



The second one was from a New Years eve party, note the custom Tropics tablecloth.



The last one is another street view.


DC


 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2011-02-20 08:21 am   Permalink

I would love to have one of those table cloths. Charlie just doesn't look the same with out his mustache.

Nice post DC, that is one of the best collections. A lot of the different archives charge money or make you get a library card from the local library that holds the collection. That can be a chore so Mahalo to the LA Library.


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-03-30 9:09 pm   Permalink

Found another old photo on line from the Beverly Hills Tropics.




The dinner menu, drink menu and matchbook proudly displayed.




DC


 
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