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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Royal Hawaiian, Bailey's Crossroads/Falls Church, VA (restaurant)
Royal Hawaiian, Bailey's Crossroads/Falls Church, VA (restaurant)
Or Got Rum?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 331
From: Wisconsin
Posted: 2012-11-11 3:05 pm   Permalink

Name:Royal Hawaiian
Type:restaurant
Street:3501 S. Jefferson St
City:Bailey's Crossroads/Falls Church
State:VA
Zip:22041
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
A very short lived Restautant/Club started by Johnny Kao (of NYC Mr. K's fame)in 1975 and closed in 1977 becoming Louie's Rock City.



 
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Or Got Rum?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 331
From: Wisconsin
Posted: 2012-11-11 3:22 pm   Permalink

I discovered this while searching for Northern Virginia history and amazingly this was close to my High School. I had heard of Louie's (my older brother hung out and played there) but nothing about the Royal Hawaiian. I found this Ad and then this shot from when it first became Louie's w/ the Witco (?) masks in front of the stage.

Below is the info from "My redneck past" blog about the club and it's transformation...a little long winded so excuse me, but the contrast of outgoing last leg headliners and up and coming new generation rock stars is quite interesting. I'm sure in it's short life mug's/mb's/pc's did not exist...but some Tiki decor did....Johnny Dollar? ie:I'm sure it was a Grand Union. OGR

"Louie's was once a Grand Union grocery store that eventually closed and was revamped in to the world's largest Tiki bar called "The Royal Hawaiian Supper Club"! The venue had a stage that could fit a whole orchestra or big band with giant carved wooden Tiki masks all over the place! But it too was unsuccessful and changed hands to new management who named it "The Place Where Louie Dwells"! They soon found out that their meager clientele couldn't generate enough money to pay their monstrous utility bills! The son of the owner of this establishment had the very hip idea of bringing rock and roll bands in the club and to it's unused massive stage! The name was now permanently changed to Louie's Rock City and it wasn't long until they had packed houses every night! They hired a staff of unusually beautiful waitresses that attracted even more people and soon the drinks were flowing and they were hiring national acts!

In June 1975, Hawaiian restaurateur Johnny Kao rented the former site of Giant Food at at 3501 S. Jefferson St. in Bailey’s Crossroads and turned it into a Las Vegas styled lounge called the Royal Hawaiian Supper Club. The club opened to much anticipation and fanfare in December 1975 with Patti Page and a comedian named Freddie Roman headlining the first week. The club was beautiful by all accounts and appealed to the over-thirty suburbanites driven from the city by crime and racial tension. In short order the club featured The Platters, Phyllis Diller, Eddie Fisher, The Smothers Brothers, Billy Eckstine, The Supremes (post Diana Ross), and Bobby Rydell. However, the article on the club’s opening night sounded some ominous warnings such as the strange location of this glitzy club in the middle of a suburban shopping mall and, worst of all, on opening night it was only three-fourths full. Patti Page expressed surprise at the club’s location and Roman joked about performing in a shopping center. By June of 1976, the club ran into financial problems and was sold to new owner named Mike Munley. Mike Munley had been co-owner of the Bayou in the fifties with the Vincent and Tony Tramonte (in 1980 after selling the Bayou, Vincent Tramonte would start the Italian Store on Lee Highway). After he was bought out from the Bayou, Munley ran the Place Where Louie Dwells located originally at 1000 4th Street, SW in DC and later moved to 1011 Wesley Place, SW. It was a typical lounge in the Southwest waterfront area opening around 1966 featuring mediocre food and lounge jazz. Louie’s gained some brief notoriety when the local piano-man Samuel Marks collapsed at the piano and died. When Munley bought the Royal Hawaiian, he began to work to change the name of his new restaurant to the Place Where Louie Dwells. While Munley worked on the name change, he expanded the line up with his first act being the country singer Lynn Anderson of “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” fame. In July 1976, one of the last acts to appear at the Royal Hawaiian Supper Club was the Mills Brothers during the week they would entertain the ever-square Gerald Ford at the White House. Munley also inherited a dire financial situation and checks sent to entertainers bounced, which led to a $15,000 lawsuit by singer Jack Albertson. The club featured artists such as the Amazing Kreskin, Brenda Lee, and Sarah Vaughn.
Probably driven by economics more than anything, in October, 1977, the name of the club had become Louie’s Rock Concert City, but it was commonly known as Louie’s Rock City and they began to bring in rock music in the hopes of saving the business. In November 1977 Summersault and Cactus played, a few weeks later were Dr. Feelgood and Gentle Giant, Rick Derringer, Johnny Winter. Immediately, it became the place in NOVA for the burgeoning hard rock scene hosting brand new acts like Judas Priest before they hit the big time. Even though the club focused on rock music, it was cool to the new punk music coming out of New York. In 1977, the club cancelled the legendary punk bank the Nerves when they got a look at the band members.
By 1979, the owners of Louie’s Rock City accepted punk enough to host the Ramones. At first the Ramones were supposed to play on April 2, but it appears that show was cancelled for reasons lost to history. The Ramones would play Louie’s on July 27 and the show would be a cultural marker for the DC area. Of course, this wasn’t the Ramones first appearance in the DC area. They had played the Childe Harold October 22-24, 1976; October 11, 1977 at the Bayou; October 15, 1977 opening for Iggy Pop at the Baltimore Civic Center; and the Cellar Door with the Runaways March 19, 1978.
This time it was different because the punk scene in DC was coalescing around some kids for Northwest Washington, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. A young music promoter named Seth Hurwitz saw the Ramones were coming to Louie’s and decided to bring them down a day early for the premiere of the Ramones’ new movie “Rock and Roll High School” at the Ontario Theatre in Adams Morgan. On July 25, 1979, The Slickee Boys and Razz played to a packed crowd as the Ramones signed autographs and mingled. For many kids, this was the beginning of punk in Washington and Hurwitz would go on to own the 9:30 Club and founded the musical promotion company Live Nation. As “Rock and Roll High School” rolled fans danced in aisles to the music and cheered through best scenes. The newspaper described the crowd as a mix of punks, hippies, and lawyers ranging from “preteens to aging rockers”. The next day, the Ramones signed records at Penguin Feather at 5850 Leesburg Pike. The building has been torn down, but it was located roughly on the parking lot of the recently shuttered Borders Books in Crossroads Center.
Sensing the excitement in the city, the Washington Post was on hand for the Ramones gig at Louie’s on July 27, 1979. Initially the Post dislike punk because it upset the neat order of Washington, which was neatly divided into the three strata of the city, black people, polite Washington, and hippies. Punk didn’t fit and the old curmudgeon of DC music Richard Harrington declared punk was the “music for empty spaces of the mind.” In his review of the earlier Ramones show at the Bayou, he sounded a hopeful tone that punk was a passing fad when he said that half the crowd was there “out of curiosity” and “a number left after it became apparent that a Ramones set consists of monochord songs.” It’s a bitch being a cultural arbiter when the great unwashed don’t heed your cultural orders.
In a rare moment of wisdom, the WaPo hired a decent reporter, named Joe Sasfy, to cover the new music scene. Sasfy managed to straddle his reporting between a sympathetic eye towards the new sounds, but always writing in a way that polite Washington could understand. Wisely, Harrington was allowed to go to bed at a decent hour on the night the Ramones played Louie’s and the Post sent Sasfy to capture a cultural moment for the DC area. Sasfy noted in his article the Ramones fans showed up and were surprised by Louie’s dress policy and had to sew the tears in their clothes to get in. As the soon-to-be singer for Minor Threat and later Fugazi, Ian MacKaye recalled:
I have great memories of seeing the Ramones in 1979 in Virginia, a bit further out in the suburbs at a place run by the marines. It had almost a Hawaiian theme, an old-school bar/lounge kind of place, with cocktail waitresses and stuff. There was a huge line of people waiting to get in the show, and there was a skirmish at the front of the line, and the word spread like wildfire and came down the line that there was a dress code, and you couldn’t have torn jeans. But you were going to see the Ramones-everyone had torn jeans! It just rippled: Dress code, they won’t let you in with torn jeans. Suddenly-it was in a little shopping mall-people made a beeline for the pharmacy and started buying needles and thread. There was a whole fucking parking lot of people sewing their jeans up trying to get in this gig.
It’s surprising that Louie’s had a dress policy given they hosted Judas Priest and other hard rock bands. This incident may have stemmed from the club owners nervousness about hosting a punk show and was implemented as a way to control the crowd. Despite this barrier, the crowd packed into Louie’s to see one of the great Ramones shows. One recent high school graduate named Henry Garfield was there. The show would transform his life and he would form a band called Black Flag and change his name to Henry Rollins. Rollins speaks often about his experience at the show saying he “never got over that gig”. Later he said,
I saw them at a small club, Louis’s Rock City, which is now a Chinese restaurant, in Falls Church, Virginia, right over the bridge from DC. It was one of those over-sold events where there’s no breathable air. I was right in front of Dee Dee. It was the first time I can remember being really star-struck. A lot of us were just coming out of arena rock. I’d seen Led Zeppelin a year and a half before. But with the Ramones there was no barricade, I could’ve leaned over and grabbed the head-stock of Dee Dee’s bass. Johnny and Joey were very tall people, so they had quite a presence up close. There was no space between the songs; they just beat you over the head with it. It’s a hot night, there’s no air, it was kind of painful, really loud, and we knew every word to every song – so you walked out of there, knowing you’d been put through something. You felt physically pummeled; it was really a full-on experience. I realized I was gonna be in this mindset for the rest of my life. I had no idea then what I was doing with my life. I had a minimum-wage job, $3.50 an hour, and a really bad apartment with a friend. So the Ramones had a very big impact on me.
These few days the Ramones spent in the DC area would change the landscape of the city and in short order it would become one of the centers of punk music in the United States. The Ramones at Louie’s would echo through the years as DC developed a unique and thriving punk and new music scene that would bring sounds and clubs the city now considers routine.
As for Louie’s Rock City, the club would go on to host memorable shows by Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry in 1981. By this mid-eighties, it became primarily known for heavy metal and hosted a regular Battle of the Bands featuring local heavy metal bands trying to break into stardom. The club closed in 1989 and became a Chinese restaurant. Today it is the Babylon Futbol Club featuring soccer, Arabic, Caribbean, and Latin music."

Our Redneck Past






 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 5964
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2012-11-11 3:37 pm   Permalink

Thanks OGR,
I enjoyed reading your post.


 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2012-11-11 5:12 pm   Permalink

America's tiki temples often have mixed history's and you did a great job telling this one. If I was a young film producer I would love to unearth a trove of 8mm film of these shows, do some new interviews of some of these performers, and use them in a documentary to show at an area film festival.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11126
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-11-11 8:38 pm   Permalink

Priceless story! Thank you.

Quote:

On 2012-11-11 15:22, Or Got Rum? wrote:
....As the soon-to-be singer for Minor Threat and later Fugazi, Ian MacKaye recalled:
I have great memories of seeing the Ramones in 1979 in Virginia, a bit further out in the suburbs at a place run by the marines. It had almost a Hawaiian theme, an old-school bar/lounge kind of place, with cocktail waitresses and stuff. There was a huge line of people waiting to get in the show, and there was a skirmish at the front of the line, and the word spread like wildfire and came down the line that there was a dress code, and you couldn’t have torn jeans. But you were going to see the Ramones-everyone had torn jeans! It just rippled: Dress code, they won’t let you in with torn jeans. Suddenly-it was in a little shopping mall-people made a beeline for the pharmacy and started buying needles and thread. There was a whole fucking parking lot of people sewing their jeans up trying to get in this gig.



 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4265
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-12-03 4:00 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-11-11 15:22, Or Got Rum? wrote:
I'm sure in it's short life mug's/mb's/pc's did not exist...but some Tiki decor did....Johnny Dollar?

OGR



I have seen a matchbook from this place, always wondered about it. Thanks for that nice bit of history OGR.



"The Showplace of the Nation's Capitol" - doesn't sound like a suburban strip mall!

Funny thing about the Tiki Transmission Tradition, the Bamboo frame with a lei and flowers motif on the back of the matchbook was used decades earlier at the Kowloon in Los Angeles.



I was talking to Bosko at the Don the Beachcomber Tiki Marketplace this weekend and we figured that the matchbook companies and artists sure spread a lot of Tiki imagery around over the years.

DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4265
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2014-05-07 7:37 pm   Permalink

Spotted this menu from the Royal Hawaiian Supper Club on ebay.




They served up a pretty authentic looking Tiki bar/food experience for a 1970s joint. Lots of mugs and the standard pupus.





DC


 
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Or Got Rum?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 331
From: Wisconsin
Posted: 2014-05-09 1:33 pm   Permalink

Very cool menu find DC...Thanks for posting. This is the postcard. Holy Witco Batman. Huge, but dining room very LOW on Tipsy side. Wish it was shot w/ it's more natural (I'm sure) darker feel. I also hope that the bar was more TIKI and intimate. OGR



 
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kenbo-jitsu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2011
Posts: 201
From: Southern CA
Posted: 2014-05-09 3:01 pm   Permalink

Wow! That dining room can easily seat 400 people. Big place.

 
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