Joined: May 16, 2008
From: Dogtown, USA
|Posted: 2011-05-16 5:59 pm  Permalink|
On 2011-05-15 22:54, bigbrotiki wrote:
Wow Tom, those are the best interior shots of the Warehouse I have ever seen in all these years, they really show off the crazy clutter that makes this restaurant special and prove what a cool guy Burt Hixson was to create such a place!
I just wish the current management would be ascool as he was. Instead they seem to be kind of oblivious to the specialness of the place. But at least they are keeping it as is! We do appreciate that!
Which certainly cannot be said about Pieces of Eight/Shanghai Red's
The two factors that still echo Paul Page's song about the place are the VIEW:
"You take a million lights along the bay..."
...and the LANDSCAPING of the entrance with its "stream"- crossing bridges:
Otherwise the utter genericness of the place was mind-boggling to me. I am talking floor to ceiling corporate hotel chain decor, with nondescript paintings of flowers and other crap on the walls.
(pic clipped from the net)
Not even the BAR had one shred of anything in it that -and I am not even thinking Pieces of Eight- would have any context with the CURRENT name:
This name to me conjures up some exotic seafaring character, no? Well, someone up in management must have decided that nautical was tacky, and even though the "Specialty Restaurant" group that this place belongs to made its name through theme restaurants, there is NOTHING relating to the theme left here. You might as well be in some hotel convention room. (See Cammo's Hanalei Hotel discussion.)
This disparity becomes even more apparent when one delves a little into the true history of the name, which actually ties into the area and is just the kind of thing WE here would have appreciated:
Shanghai Red actually existed, and so did his bar! Here is a little history about the two:
"Every able drinking seaman who hit San Pedro washed up in Red's saloon, but all they knew about Red was that he ran the roughest waterfront bar in the world, boasted that he could lick any man in the joint and was a soft touch for any sailor who had been rolled or lost his pay in a crap game or was otherwise momentarily embarrassed. His real name was Charles Oliver Eisenberg, and he was born on San Francisco's Barbary Coast, where he earned his trade early as a bar boy in a waterfront dive. When he was old enough, or maybe before, he joined the Navy and saw the world. He went back to the land again in Shanghai and bought into a waterfront saloon. That's where he earned his name. When he had a stake he came home and opened up on Beacon Street. The day Red died they padlocked his doors and the place never opened again. Some years ago the whole street was condemned for a redevelopment project."
ALSO: "The toughest bar in L.A. history, Shanghai Red's in San Pedro, employed a burly, tattooed woman nicknamed "Cairo Mary" to break up bare-knuckled fights among the sailors returning home after WWII"
Here is Cairo Mary in action in 1953!:
The ultimate irony is that the lone surviving artefact from the place (as far as I can find), the cool "Glo-Dial" clock from Shanghai Red's:
....now resides in the DESERT: in Palm Springs, at this place: http://www.fishermans.com/shanghaireds.php
To make things come full circle, I had been in that joint just last year, meeting with Wildsville Man and the luckless then-proprietor of the Caliente Tropics bar and coffee shop. Oh the strange ways of the hospitality industry (thank god I am not part of it!)
Somebody should go and check out how they got their name and that clock. It's actually not a bad place, in a down to earth kinda way. Much more a waterfront dive (in the desert!) than its generic namesake by the waterfront.
Yup, great Warehouse photography on previous page Tom !! I don't even bother bringing my camera when I know you're showing up.
With regards to Shanghai Red's (the MDR location, not San Pedro), I wonder if it may have gone through its own devolution. Who knows maybe when it first opened, there might have been more of the former Pieces of Eight vibe intact.
Which would explain the name.
As for Palm Springs this weekend, we may have to organize a side group expedition to the 3rd Shanghai Reds.