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Black Lagoon Room - Outside of Milwaukee, WI
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jan 30, 2008
Posts: 151
From: Washington DC
Posted: 2017-02-01 10:33 am   Permalink

Looking REALLY good! Keep the updates flowing!

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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 208
From: The shores of Lake Michigan
Posted: 2017-02-06 7:59 pm   Permalink

Thanks folks!

Did a bunch of stuff this weekend that isn't terribly interesting to look at yet... Mostly, I rewired about six lamps, turned a couple other things INTO lamps... Fun, but 'til they're positioned and lit, not overly photogenic. We also blocked out the windows with a roll of black Contact paper, and I made two more jade tile window screens to cover the openings. I'll have some close-ups of those soonish. We also framed out one of the walls with a bit more bamboo, just to give it more of a finished look.

We DID start playing around with the back bar lighting, and I think we've got a winner!

These stick-on LED light strips do the job just fine:

They look WAY brighter in this photo than they are in person. We'd wanted to light them from the bottom, front, but they were WAY too bright then... we tried blocking them out with some bamboo and other things, and it still didn't look right. Lighting them from the top-front, it looked like a store display or something (and was still way too bright) Back-lit gives it a nice, creepy glow when you're sitting in front of it. There will be a small light on the ceiling to balance it out a bit.

We want the lighting traditional Tiki bar- super dark, takes your eyes awhile to adjust... you know the drill!

EnchantedTikiGoth - thanks for the nice words! Our Creature theme, most likely, will be kinda subtle... we want some subtle cues and little references, but not have it be overt, like, "here's a shelf full of Creature From the Black Lagoon stuff." I have plenty of stuff, but we're debating what to include and what not to. Mostly it will be some little references to the Amazon - I got a box of taxidermied red bellied Piranhas we're going to put around - I have a 1930's map of South America, and a couple old small "Tour the Amazon" brochures that will be framed and hung up. There'll be some more direct references, too...the old life preserver ring I found I'll be adding letters that say "Rita" (the name of the boat in the movie..) You can see in the bar back photo, I have a resin reproduction of the prop fossil hand from the movie we'll have amongst the flotsam and jetsam... Debating a couple other more overt things. One thing we're doing for sure (I'm printing them now, actually) is in place of a "Wall of Stars" like you'd see at an old nightclub, there will be a wall of framed "Sea Monsters Threatening Bikini Ladies" pictures, which I think is kinda funny. Obviously, we'll have some Creature-themed Tiki mugs and other stuff around, just debating what those will be.

Moreover we just want it to feel like a creepy dark nautical bar (all things the Creature calls home!) along with the Tiki stuff.

More pictures, coming soon!


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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 208
From: The shores of Lake Michigan
Posted: 2017-02-13 12:09 pm   Permalink

Hey folks -

Got a little more done in the ol' Black Lagoon Room this weekend. We bought an alarming amount of wood to start building the main wall of shelves and the bump out to cover the electrical boxes, but haven't begun the actual construction of those yet. Likely, that'll be this weekend.

In the meantime, we're still trying to get our lighting right and I think we're moving in the right direction. In the first little sitting area you approach at the bottom of the stairs, I hung these super cool Japanese-style lanterns we found on eBay a few years ago...

Also, you can see we added some fake foliage in that corner. The big Tiki there has some tropical plants and such around his base now, which was fun to put together. Thankful for that 50% off sale at the craft store:

We sorted out one wall of mugs as well... a few bunches of location-specific mugs (this shelf has a lot from Frankies, some from Bahooka, a few Disney pieces, Hala Kahiki, Kon Tiki, etc) The main wall of the bar will feature 8ft of floor to ceiling shelving... We plan to house the vast majority of our mugs in the basement bar, but I think there are currently Tiki mugs in every room of the house (except the bathroom)...! Last count on Ooga Mooga was about 350 or so. I have some little selected displays of stuff from the Mai Kai, Aku Aku, Kon Tiki Ports, and Trader Vic's in our dining room on a shelf (though we have a lot more Trader Vic's stuff than would fit in this little space...)

There are monster-themed mugs in the Mid-Century Monster Room:

There are some Witco-inspired mugs on the shadow box WAY down on the far wall in our TV room (which we refer to as the Jungle Room... lots of Witco, lots of 70's wall paper and wood paneling... it made sense.)

...a few Asian-inspired mugs in the Living room, and some Hula girl mugs in the bedroom that I don't have pictures of at the moment. All the shrunken head mugs will be behind the bar...Regardless... lots of mugs!

But this one wall in the basement is looking pretty good now:

The lights are just little fiber optic LEDs on a copper wire... they were REALLY on sale on Amazon. Four 30-ft rolls for $20. They work great, and run on a USB. We have a power strip with USB ports build in that this plugs into. I'm thinking I'll probably wrap the lights around some rope just to make it look a little more nautical and in keeping with the theme of the rest of the bar. Parts of the shelf will be wrapped in rope eventually, and we plan to frame out part of the wall with rope.

Speaking of walls, we added a bunch of old 50's monster movie photos to the hallway. Kind of an homage to when restaurants would have autographed pictures of famous people who'd eaten there in the entryway - since it's the Black Lagoon Room, we went with a monster theme. Apologies these pictures suck. The bar is DARK! I lightened these as much as I could in photoshop... but you'll see stills from all three Creature movies (duh), Horror at Party Beach, the Hideous Sun Demon, Ro-Man from Robot Monster, Creature from the Haunted Sea, Alligator People, Beach Girls and the Monster, etc etc... These are just at the bottom of the stairs as you enter the bar, shrunken heads above you (dangling over your full-sized head)

We wanted kind of an old, ethnographic Ripley's Believe it Or Not feel to parts of the bar. Hence, I printed out and hung some framed old images from textbooks and other sources of old Polynesian weapons, maps, etc. Here's a few hanging just over that mug shelf a few images back...

A photo of one of the seating areas; We found the table on Craigslist for $100! It's nearly identical to some of the low cocktail tables Trader Vic's has used over the years, and to Elvis' coffee table in the Jungle Room. We have a much bigger burl table in our living room that is similar to this one as well.

I added a light to the diving helmet... it's a Toscano cast-resin piece, but looks just like a real helmet. We found that on Cragislist as well. The Dodge hula girl lamp we've had for years (it still "dances!") and there's some other stuff thrown in there. That creature Halloween motion figure probably won't stay, but he photobombed this one anyway...

I'll post some photos later today, too, of our little Mermaid cove seating area which is fairly well together at this point.

We've been busy bees over here!

More soon!


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 10, 2004
Posts: 4107
From: Reseda, calif.
Posted: 2017-02-13 8:09 pm   Permalink

You have done a great job decorating your place with tiki mugs, I like all the other tiki items that are displayed also, nice job.

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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 208
From: The shores of Lake Michigan
Posted: 2017-02-16 4:00 pm   Permalink

Thanks hiltiki!

Here's a few pictures of the far corner of the bar we're calling (at least for now) the Mermaid's Cove... less due to a burst of creative inspiration, and mostly due to the big mermaid.

We'll be adding some other random flotsam and jetsam to the ceiling here - probably a puffer lamp and some smaller hanging floats. The ceiling over the door is *REALLY* low (like, I hit my head on it every time I go back there low) so there's not a ton of leeway with what can hang there (much like the rest of the basement.) The lamp that IS there is one of those shell thingies you see in Chinese restaurants pretty often, just with a light in it.

The whole basement is traditional Wisconsin knotty pine paneling... it was DEFINITELY something we didn't want to cover up entirely. We opted to keep this side of the bar (and the area behind the bar and the mug shelves) as-is. We thought it felt like you're on a boat, which seems appropriate...

Here's an overall view with the overhead lights on:

We had to do that for the photo, cuz this is what it looks like with that main light off:

With some small ancillary lights around the shell one, and a few strategically placed accents, I think it should lighten up just enough to see where you're going!

We wanted to go with a nautical look over here, but also bring in some of that enthnographic stuff... so I found some old Ripley's photos and pictures of old timey guys playing with shrunken heads that sorta carry that through:

I plan to add stick-on letters for the ship from Creature from the Black Lagoon (the "Rita" to the bottom of our life preserver. In this picture, too, you can see an ear trophy thing I put together. Someone was selling something VERY similar on Etsy, which was really, really cool... but at $115 shipped, I couldn't really justify the price. I found a quality halloween prop ear necklace online for $10 (thanks, Walking Dead, for creating a market for such a thing) and with some burlap and a $10 shadowbox from Michael's, we have something similar. Someday we'll probably spring for the "real" one, but for now I feel like this looks just fine:

All the lamps are re-wired, and the ceiling is painted. This weekend we attempt to build the main wall of mug shelves as well as the bump-out to cover up the electrical panels.

Wish us luck - we are not craftsmen, by a longshot!


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Prikli Pear
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Joined: Jan 04, 2017
Posts: 636
From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted: 2017-02-17 1:27 pm   Permalink

Wish us luck - we are not craftsmen, by a longshot!

You're selling yourself far short, Pete! That work is fantastic. Just because you're self-taught doesn't mean you don't have a good eye and design ethic. Because clearly you do. Please keep sharing photos of your effort!
Lagoon of Mystery

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 06, 2006
Posts: 159
From: Atlanta, Georgia
Posted: 2017-02-17 5:19 pm   Permalink

This all looks fantastic! Very nice touches all around.

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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 208
From: The shores of Lake Michigan
Posted: 2017-03-06 4:58 pm   Permalink

Hey again folks -

Thanks Fugu and Prikli Pear for the kind words!

Been a wee bit slow going on the bar these last couple weeks... we were out of town a bit, had some other projects pop up here and there, but we've been slowly pluggin' away.

Not a lot new that is overly "show-able..." We finished painting the ceiling, which was a big step in the right direction.

Had a freakish 70 degree Sunday a few weeks back, and we were able to start building the shelving and staining crates for the back bar outside... in Wisconsin... in February... ahem...

The base for the shelf wall is lookin' good and sturdy, and will house all the stereo components, LPs, and other stuff. We plan to have some probably magnetic tapa curtain-type coverings over the compartments that house the electronics...

We've rewired a whole menagerie of lamps. Many still need to be hung up, but they're plugged in so we can at least get a feel for what the final lighting will look like (and so far, so good...)

Same goes for all the fish floats that need to be hung (as well as netting, cork and foam float ropes, buoys, etc.)

Excitingly, we were able to rewire this absolutely gorgeous Orchids of Hawaii beast of a seahorse lamp that we're currently using as an end table. We bought it from some friends of ours years ago because we just couldn't NOT buy it... it came from one of the now-defunct Tong's Tiki Hut locations in the Western Chicago burbs (there's still one kicking in Villa Park.) It's a shame to not see this lit up from the bottom - all individual bamboo cross sections but this is the only spot it fits right now. Still pretty damn cool:

We've rearranged a few things to make room for a couple of extremely cool recent purchases (one of them is very obviously spot-able in this photo, and gives an idea of the lighting... it's grainy due to the low light and brightening it up a bit in Photoshop)

Hoping to make some more headway in the coming weeks with the shelving, covering the electric panels and patching some holes in the ceiling so we can hang more stuff.

Now, at least, when you're in the room you can get a feel for what the final product will feel like. We've already watched a movie and had a cocktail down there a couple times, and it's starting to feel GREAT.

More soon!


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 31, 2003
Posts: 337
From: Calgary, Canada
Posted: 2017-03-07 3:37 pm   Permalink

Just catching up with this thread now... I love the wall of monster photos, and that resin fossil hand is FANTASTIC! That could go in a spot of honour just on its own! Great work!

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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 208
From: The shores of Lake Michigan
Posted: 2017-04-11 4:33 pm   Permalink

Whulp, been up to my eyeballs this last month or so makin' stuff to sell at the Lowbrow Aloha art show at Hala Kahiki at the end of the month, so advancements on the Black Lagoon Room have been on a brief hiatus...


We found an excellent solution to our shelving needs that we won't have to make and can pickup for almost the same price as wood to build shelves ourselves, SO after we nab that this weekend, things should start chugging right along again (thanks Craigslist!)

We've hung up some more floats, a couple more lamps, but I'll wait for the photo evidence 'til there's a bit more to show.

So far, we've watched movies down there a few times with a cocktail already, and even with the space only 60 or 70% finished we are REALLY liking the results.

More soon!


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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 208
From: The shores of Lake Michigan
Posted: 2017-05-25 3:41 pm   Permalink

Hey all -

We've been busy beavers the last few weeks, and finally got our main wall of shelving up and some other key things in the Black Lagoon Room.

Will have some photos up soon. Really coming along! Ideally, I'm hoping I can get it more or less "done" (at least in as far as we're able to have it "done" and in as far as how "done" is a Tiki bar ever? There's a couple big things to do yet we have to wait on)

Here's at least one teaser picture of the corner of the main wall of shelving...

Our pal is an architectural photographer, and he wants to take some proper photos with a good camera and proper exposure. When we have THOSE that will really be something. Right now it's tough to photograph due to the (appropriate) lighting, but ain't that always the problem in (good) Tiki bars?

More soon!


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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 208
From: The shores of Lake Michigan
Posted: 2017-07-07 3:48 pm   Permalink

Well folks... it's been awhile, but we FINALLY have some decent pictures of The Black Lagoon Room.

First off, our friend Dave Erickson is an incredibly talented architectural photographer and he came by on Sunday to take some professional photos. There are more comin', but he sent us a couple teasers right away... Hope you enjoy 'em - of course we'll post the others when we get 'em...

The hallway entrance....

....A shot looking from the base of the stairs, just as you enter the room, looking toward the main wall of mugs and main seating area....

And a gorgeous one of the whole panoramic scene. If you're looking in this direction, the Mermaid's Cove seating area are behind you. Dave is a photographic wizard... I don't know how he made our tiny little hideaway look so spacious!

Here's that same photo, blown up into two sections so you can see the nooks n' crannies a little better...

Side one, with the main seating area, creature "taxidermy" mount, Orchids of Hawaii seahorse lamp (repurposed as an end table), a big United Airlines Tiki, and the main wall of mugs...

Side two, with the bar area, seating area, diving helmet lamp, big PNG shield, and another mug shelf...

A close-up of our creature mount... we actually had a little plaque made to make it look more like a trophy mount (than the Halloween decoration that it is...)

All was actually "done" enough with the bar that we officially broke it in with a proper shindig with friends on the 4th of July... Photo credits to a bunch of our pals. Hopefully they don't mind being on TC! If anybody recognizes themselves (or wants me to take something down) just holler...

Some great shots from our pal Ben...

Main mug wall:

Bar Back:

Puffers n' piranhas n' mermaids in Mermaid Cove:

A few shots, with a flash, to capture some of the details in the nooks and crannies (and a few pals...)

My wife made us awesome aloha outfits to match the wallpaper in the hallway - an awesome Michael Uhlenkott design...

I spent a bunch of the party tending bar, but I love doin' it...

...I also love savoring the final product!

We'll have more photos in the future from other parties 'cuz... there will be more parties!

Hope ya dig it!


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Or Got Rum?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 530
From: Wisconsin
Posted: 2017-07-08 1:57 pm   Permalink

Freakin' Awesome! Great Work!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 07, 2012
Posts: 840
From: The base of the Volcano
Posted: 2017-07-08 3:45 pm   Permalink

You've got so much going on that its just amazing!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2015
Posts: 133
From: Virginia
Posted: 2017-07-09 04:38 am   Permalink

Congrats on a great space, and much respect for all the work you put into it!

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