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What is the oldest tiki restaurant still in existence?
Luckydesigns
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 15, 2002
Posts: 2177
From: Costa Mesa
Posted: 2013-04-29 11:22 am   Permalink

It's pretty funny how the Mai Kai graphic designers got the order of the headhunters backwards.

That's what I love about vintage American tiki/ polynesia interpretation; the anthropologic details were not always scrutanized nor necessarily understood.
And actually, I'd be curious to know the history of that image concept too. it seems western to me...



Interesting thread, by the way. Surprised this conversation hasn't come up till now.
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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1286
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2013-04-29 1:46 pm   Permalink

So reviewing the comments on this thread, can we assume?:

Oldest faux-Polynesian bars/restaurants:

1. Trad'r Sam, San Francisco, CA - 1930s (bar)
2. The Tahitian Room, Richland, WA - 1952 (restaurant/lounge)
3. Bali Hai, San Diego, CA - 1955 (restaurant)
4. Mai Kai, Ft. Lauderdale, FL - 1957 (restaurant)
5. Tonga Hut, Los Angeles, CA - 1958 (bar)

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Hale Tiki
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Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2013-04-30 04:43 am   Permalink

Fixed:



 
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GROG
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 21, 2006
Posts: 6866
From: Tujunga
Posted: 2013-04-30 08:42 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-04-29 13:46, arriano wrote:
So reviewing the comments on this thread, can we assume?:

Oldest faux-Polynesian bars/restaurants:

1. Trad'r Sam, San Francisco, CA - 1930s (bar)
2. The Tahitian Room, Richland, WA - 1952 (restaurant/lounge)
3. Bali Hai, San Diego, CA - 1955 (restaurant)
4. Mai Kai, Ft. Lauderdale, FL - 1957 (restaurant)
5. Tonga Hut, Los Angeles, CA - 1958 (bar)




Damon's in Glendale--founded 1937.
In 1937, he sold the candy stores and founded Damon's Steak House on Central Avenue in Glendale. It soon became a favorite with those seeking a hearty steak and a great drink.

The South Seas or Polynesian décor theme began almost by accident. A single palm tree in the middle of the original Damon's inspired the gradual addition of artifacts and furnishings. The move to Brand Boulevard in 1980 made that transition even easier with the addition of the outrigger hanging above the main dining room and the beautiful murals painted by the late Bettina Byrne. Also adding to the island theme are the large salt-water aquarium and two fresh water aquariums in the bar.

Upon Loyal's passing, his son Loyal Jr., daughter Jennie and Loyal Jr.'s wife Donna took control of the restaurant operation. At the time of the move to Brand Boulevard, long time bartender Moe Elliott was promoted to manager. Moe not only had the distinction of being the senior member of the staff (since 1956) but he also created the Damon's Famous Mai Tai. Moe still visits to make sure his time honored recipe is being followed accurately. (Bartenders, beware!)

We extend an invitation to one and all to come and join the fun and enjoy a delicious and hearty meal.


 
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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1286
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2013-04-30 09:40 am   Permalink

I think the fact that Damon's current location only dates back to the 1980s means it shouldn't be included; otherwise, we'd include Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic's, etc.

[ This Message was edited by: arriano 2013-04-30 09:44 ]


 
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Luckydesigns
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 15, 2002
Posts: 2177
From: Costa Mesa
Posted: 2013-04-30 09:43 am   Permalink

If we are counting restaurants which changed locations or names, then Sam's Seafood (now Don the Beachcomber) would have been one of the oldest, dating back to the 1920's. There was nautical decor in there at that time...

But I guess the conversation is the oldest surviving. Shouldn't that require staying in the original location too?


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11141
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-04-30 10:12 am   Permalink

Yes, the requirements should be:

Same location in classic bamboo/rattan Polynesian style decor. Nautical doesn't count: The Tonga Room was an Ocean liner in the 40s, but did not turn fully Polynesian til the 70s. Similar thing with the Alibi. WHEN did Sam's go Tiki?

I really don't know HOW MUCH Trad'r Sam's is, or was Polynesian style...The Tahitian was rather minimalist in its decor, so they are not really stellar examples of the style.

The Bali Hai had the good luck of coming from a long line of Christian's Huts.


 
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2013-04-30 10:57 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-04-30 10:12, bigbrotiki wrote:
Yes, the requirements should be:

Same location in classic bamboo/rattan Polynesian style decor. Nautical doesn't count: The Tonga Room was an Ocean liner in the 40s, but did not turn fully Polynesian til the 70s. Similar thing with the Alibi. WHEN did Sam's go Tiki?

I really don't know HOW MUCH Trad'r Sam's is, or was Polynesian style...The Tahitian was rather minimalist in its decor, so they are not really stellar examples of the style.

The Bali Hai had the good luck of coming from a long line of Christian's Huts.



So sayeth the shepard, so sayeth the flock!


 
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TikiTacky
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Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1305
Posted: 2013-04-30 11:47 am   Permalink

If bigbrotiki responds to your post, is that sort of the TikiCentral equivalent of having your reddit post make the front page?

 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6019
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2013-04-30 12:56 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-04-30 11:47, TikiTacky wrote:
If bigbrotiki responds to your post, is that sort of the TikiCentral equivalent of having your reddit post make the front page?



That or you pissed him off


 
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Pittsburgh pauly
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Joined: Jan 31, 2010
Posts: 389
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2013-04-30 3:26 pm   Permalink

I'm going to throw this out there and then duck.
What about the Bikini Lounge in Phoenix?
If the question posed is not one of grandeur but rather age and continuity.
Opened in 1947 still in operation and in same location today, seems to be in a Poly-pop style, rather than pre-tiki/coconut grove/nautical/etc.

Parts seem to date to that period,and appears that they attempted to strenghten the look with a 1966 design:


But it's a "lounge", don't know if it ever sold food, if we're looking for a "restaurant".
And of course it's currently a "dive bar", but nobody's perfect right?

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christiki295
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Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3813
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2013-04-30 9:54 pm   Permalink

Good question. Good thread.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11141
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-05-01 02:03 am   Permalink

The difficult thing with these claims of "in operation" is that it can mean anything, as in "opened as a bar (in whatever theme)" .
And bar proprietors are A.) not primarily historians B.) often not the original owners, knowing a date only from hearsay.

Yet in this case the date seems possible when looking at the history of the term:

>>The atoll, however, has always been called Bikini by the native Marshall Islanders, from Marshallese "Pik" meaning "surface" and "Ni" meaning "coconut". The name was popularized in the United States not only by nuclear bomb tests, but because the bikini swimsuit was named after the island in 1946. The two-piece swimsuit was introduced within days of the first nuclear test on the atoll, when the name of the island was in the news<<

I think it is a good contender, and should go into the line up.


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6019
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2013-05-01 03:25 am   Permalink

any photos?

 
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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1305
Posted: 2013-05-01 05:34 am   Permalink

https://www.google.com/search?q=bikini+lounge+phoenix&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=0AuBUdqcEYeCygGq8YHwCQ&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=320&bih=416

[ This Message was edited by: TikiTacky 2013-05-01 05:35 ]


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