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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki The Lanai, San Mateo, CA (restaurant)
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The Lanai, San Mateo, CA (restaurant)
aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1076
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2010-11-07 10:21 pm   Permalink

Quote:
On 2010-11-07 22:02, mrsmiley wrote:
I was mesmorized by that mural--I thought it was the coolest thing! I still kick myself for not going to the auction!! Oof!


Hey, next time we see you, remind me to help you out with that (kicking yourself, I mean)!

Just kidding. As a former local, if you ever run across any old geegaws or pics from visiting, by all means please share em!

-Randy


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2010-11-07 11:11 pm   Permalink



Hi Randy,

I think that the salt & pepper set did indeed come from the Lanai in San Mateo. Perhaps it was just an item offered in their gift shop and not necessarily used in the restaurant.

In this old photo-folder from the Lanai, you can see a very similar tiki (arm position the same, thick thighs), hanging on the rock wall:



And in this poor photo of the remodel in 1959, you can see Lou Sawyer hanging another similar tiki above the waterfall feature.



Clif and Lou Sawyer deserve a whole thread to themselves (which I'm working on) Besides the Lanai, they also did the Polynesian decor for the Pago Pago in Tucson, the Moongate in Los Angeles, the South Seas in Anchorage Alaska, and the Bikini in Phoenix, among others.


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2010-11-08 6:32 pm   Permalink

A couple more of the strange Barney West tikis outside the Lanai:







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bigbadtikidaddy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 441
Posted: 2010-11-09 12:39 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-07 22:02, mrsmiley wrote:

I was mesmorized by that mural--I thought it was the coolest thing! I still kick myself for not going to the auction!! Oof!




same here Bruce! I should have gone to the auction. I knew about it & was planning on going & just flaked out. kills me to think about it now.

Hi Randy- I've seen those shakers before. I think they are crazy cool, dont have them, would love to have them & I personally hope they are, but I'm not sure they are from this Lanai.
I cant confirm it by any means, just my gut feeling.
The absence of any other markings & the different font vs. the bamboo lettering on the logo throws up a red flag for me.

Sabu- I do like the whole strange tiki style/Barney West connection, that feels kinda plausible....but then again, didnt the Pub Tiki use the same style shakers as well?
Just my 2 cents & I hope I'm wrong!


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4266
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-11-17 5:34 pm   Permalink

OK Randy, time to get the Lanai Liquors portion of this thread started. I picked up one of the brochures for the Villa Square that you posted the pictures from. It also has a little photo of the Lanai Liquors.



Now lets see what you have!

DC


 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1076
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2010-11-18 12:00 am   Permalink

Alright DC, here comes another installment!

First off, interesting comments everyone about the S&P, and thanks Sabu for the great information in those pics. Very interesting about Clif and Lou Sawyer. I wonder if that 1959 date means that The Lanai was mostly tiki'd up later in the 50s. If it was tiki early in the decade, that would definitely make it one of the earliest to go tiki as opposed to just tropical / polynesian. Most evidence suggests that the weird logo tiki on the doors, etc. came early in the restaurant's history, but it's hard to know if that was all the way from the beginning in 1950.

Also, that is INDEED a very strange looking Barney West tiki with the ball shaped head topped with a headdress. And I wonder if that moai is the same one that was out front under the Lanai neon sign. Fun to see those pics, even from that source, with the owner Emerson Murfee.

So, I'm going to post some stuff about Lanai Liquors. DC, you beat me to it with that scan from the brochure, but I was going to do higher-res, so I'll go ahead and show it anyway. From the Villa Square brochure...


This image originally had me confused, because the more recent Lanai Liquors looked nothing like this. But then I read the caption, which says "...between the Villa Chartier and The Lanai..." This is NOT where it was later when the Barney West tiki lived out front. That later location up until 2004 was right on 41st Ave, as opposed to being inside the Villa Square. So at some point it moved, perhaps around the time that The Lanai became a Walgreens in the late 80s.

Going back to the images on the brochure, here's a closeup again from the panel dedicated to The Lanai restaurant.


That's actually the Lanai Liquors there to the right of the restaurant entrance here. So, someone staying at the Villa Hotel could drink and dine at The Lanai, and stop in for some booze on the way back to their room! Great concept! Looking at the images, in fact, you can partially see a neon sign on top, just as you can in the circular image above. Hard to tell, but I think that same neon sign moved WITH the Lanai Liquors when it relocated to 41st Ave.

Just to get oriented on how things were, I marked up this partial rendering of the Villa Square that appears in the brochure. Unfortunately they EXCLUDED the Lanai Liquors and The Lanai from this rendering, but The Lanai was off to the left...


Here's an old photo from the Villa Hotel.


If you want to orient this with the rendering above it, this would be just over the pool area, looking in a straight line right-to-left in the rendering. At the far end of the building on the right, you can just make out the rock wall Villa Hotel sign that I pointed to in the rendering. I was surprised that you can't see ANY evidence of The Lanai, Lanai Liquors, or even Villa Chartier in this image. They must all be off to the left out of view, because you would almost certainly see those tall tiki torches on The Lanai turrets. BTW, that hillside in the background is all houses now, and also the Bel-Mateo bowl would be almost directly ahead and to the right.

Now a little more modern history with Lanai Liquors, including a little personal history. Unlike the lucky folks who were from right around this area and went to The Lanai, I never did, and first moved nearby in 2000 after the restaurant was long gone. What a great thing to find a local liquor store with an old tiki out front! In that way, Lanai Liquors was actually my introduction to The Lanai. The Book of Tiki came out later the same year in 2000, and it includes a photo of the tiki that lived out front of Lanai Liquors. Wow! Now there was much more info, including even the name of the carver Barney West and the history of this local spot! (BTW, note in the earlier photos above, there is no evidence of a big tiki out front, so I wonder if that came from the restaurant (inside? outside?) when it closed and the liquor store moved.) Back before the liquor shop was in peril, it was actually a great source for old spirits that were no longer distributed. I still have a bottle of Lemon Hart Jamaican gold rum from there, which was already long since gone from most shelves at the time I got it.

In 2002, the owner of the liquor store decided to sell the big Barney West tiki because his business was in trouble. I lucked out and managed to get it.
This old thread is a time capsule of that moment. When I purchased it, I took some photos the day and night before we would be moving it, to document how it was "in situ". These appear on a little moving slideshow we made (linked on my Lanai website), but here are some of those images...

View from 41st Ave. The big box on the right is the Walgreens that replaced the Lanai.






One of the shots of the moving crew.


Life goes on for the tiki. In 2006 I got him tented to kill off some nasty termites with an appetite for vintage pedigreed tikis.


Closeup of the tiki, 2010. Made to "last a lifetime" per the carver himself!


In 2004, the Lanai Liquors officially closed and became Philip's Liquors. As detailed in this thread, the great neon sign for the liquor store, which had been the sibling to a similar sign for the restaurant, disappeared. Fortunately, we learned its fate later. Unlike The Lanai's neon sign, which was simply destroyed and trashed, a local collector purchased the Lanai Liquors sign just ahead of the wrecking ball, and had it moved to his warehouse area with plans to restore it. We learned this by catching a chance glimpse of it on a back road in an industrial area.

Here's where we spotted it.




That's about all I know on the Lanai Liquors. Another sad story, but thankfully the sign and the tiki were preserved. Wish I had more info on the liquor shop of yore back in the glory days of The Lanai! Here's a pic of the same spot, just a couple days ago...



-Randy


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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11127
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-11-18 10:24 am   Permalink

Great contribution, Randy! Love the night shots of the store!

 
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abstractiki
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Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2010-11-19 6:43 pm   Permalink

Another great post aquari. This thread is shaping up even better than I anticipated. That sign and the tiki are awesome.

 
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tikidon
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 34
From: portland OR
Posted: 2010-12-16 4:40 pm   Permalink

The Lanai was truly an awesome place. The Diorama was amazing, changing from sunset to sunrise. I tried to get pictures of it, but with my primitive camera in the eighties it didn't work. Here are some photos I took outside. Sorry for the quality, it's a photo of the photos.


 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1076
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2010-12-16 9:32 pm   Permalink

Thanks for posting those tikidon! In a way, The Lanai looks particularly like an anachronism next to 80s people.

-Randy


 
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Tiki Royale
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 06, 2002
Posts: 891
From: The Aloha Room in Beautiful Belmont, CA!
Posted: 2011-01-29 08:33 am   Permalink

Here are a couple images of a large sign from The Lanai.
It measures 10'x6' with the word LANAI cut out of the middle! Inside of the letters is neon and the whole thing is framed in bamboo that must be 3" in diameter.




I'm not sure if this is from the original location or the Lanai "2.0" stripmall chinese buffet. In any case, this sign did reside for a while in a Mexican style grill (along with original Lanai chairs and tables) in Belmont and was sold when they closed. It has now resurfaced near Sacramento in a posting on Craigslist which is where these pics are from.

Aloha,



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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1076
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2011-01-31 2:08 pm   Permalink

Wowser, thanks for posting that Royale! I remember the old thread talking about the place that had this.

Incidentally, here's a pic I took in 2002 of the "2.0" location when it was a Chinese buffet. I used to eat there for lunch with co-workers sometimes, and they had a little fountain area in the back by the restrooms, but no other signs of a polynesian place. If you look at this photo, it almost looks like the CL Lanai sign could fit in the little rectangular area cut into the lava rock on the right. Unlikely though.



Somewhere I have a more recent photo - it looks even more bland now, with all the lava rock facade gone.

-Randy


 
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Dustycajun
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Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4266
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-02-19 5:03 pm   Permalink

I always wondered about the steer horns hanging above the bar at the Lanai, they seemed so out of context for an old school Tiki bar.




Then I saw this Philippine Buffalo horn carving and I got it, that's what they were.










DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4266
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-03-06 09:57 am   Permalink

This photo of the Lanai with a table setting and the wall mural went for sale on ebay a while back. Still no sign of the Tiki Lanai salt and pepper shakers on the table.





DC


 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1076
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2011-03-06 12:10 pm   Permalink

I think that photo (and the identical one on pg. 1) were professional shots taken around the time of the remodel. The one I posted from the collection of the Villa Hotel guy was about 8x10 if I remember right.

BTW, having seen the
posts about the period when the Hawaii Kai was briefly called the Lanai around 1961, I'm guessing now that those S&P shakers were more likely from that Lanai in NYC. That would explain why they use the lettering style on the back that is unrelated to the San Mateo Lanai logo.

Also by the way, anyone else notice the ebay auctions already directly quoting this thread? The postcard image just posted above with the steer horns was from an ebay auction that pasted a bunch of text from here (which incidentally violates ebay policy). Oh well.

-Randy


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