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Bali Hai, Northport, NY (restaurant)

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Name:Bali Hai
Street:Main Street (25A)

This once well-known Polynesian restaurant was a favorite of mine as a child. My parents took me there for birthdays to see the impressive hula shows. Great tiki mugs were given with certain drinks (many moai style are available online with the name and location on back), decent food, a large tiki sign with the name out front on a tall wood pole. This restaurant was replaced by an unremarkable New England style continental cuisine place "Cow Harbor Inn" sometime in the 80's or so- using the same structure (nothing remarkable from the outside as I recall, but a nice stepped brick entrance). This restaurant, of course, is now abandoned and the location is in danger of becoming a bank or drug store in the near future. One can drive past the Cow Harbor Inn and see it is neglected and waiting to be demolished.

As part of some local historical research on tiki within my community, I need to find ANY info and preferably photos anyone might have on the defunct Bali Hai. I would give more details if only I could remember, but it is VERY hard to find any info on this place! Can you help? I am having no luck so far with the local historical society but will keep at it...

Hey Tikisignartist-

I know the exact place you're talking about. My fiance' is from Northport, and just recently her Dad mentioned that the Bali Hai was there after he found out I was a Tiki freak. I've seen the building, and yeah 'unremarkable' is pretty accurate description of what it is now. If I hear or get my hands on any info, I'll be sure to post. Sounds like it was a cool place.

Hey tikisignartist,

I’m sorry you weren't able to get any help from the Northport Historical Society and Museum last year when you were looking for a picture or info regarding the old Bali Hai. I am the Treasurer of the Society. We have a new Director, Rosemary Feeny (tele. 631-757-9859, 215 Main Street, Northport), and new researchers. Please try again. We do make copies of photos for a small fee; I know that we have at least one photo of the Bali Hai's tiki-style entrance. We also have photos of the building from the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. The core of the building is a 2-story house built circa 1790, it was Northport's earliest? general store and our first post office (1820). This is what all the controversy is about. By the way, Commerce Bank is the bank looking to demolish it; the Village is still hearing its application and a challenge is currently in court.

I just bought a pair of the Bali Hai's tiki mugs on eBay to donate to the Museum and that's what attracted me to this site.

Good luck with all things tiki!


Finally got a scanner so i'm sure I'll be posting postcard images in other topics, but to start here is what I believe to be a pretty rare postcard of the Bali Hai in Northport. Anything from this place is real hard to find. I can't believe I actually found this.


I grew up in Huntington and lived on L.I. for 31 years....Sadly, my parents never took me to this place...they just weren't TIKI at ALL...so I never knew about it, until I stumbled across this on Arkiva Tropica....

and these....

Looks like it was an amzing place. Pretty rare that you find anything Tiki that was on Long Island. Plenty of nautical, but not much Tiki. I guess it was more of a Pacific Ocean thing...

[ Edited by: tikiyaki 2008-05-11 10:05 ]

[ Edited by: tikiyaki 2008-05-11 10:06 ]

On 2008-05-11 09:57, tikiyaki wrote:
I grew up in Huntington and lived on L.I. for 31 years....Sadly, my parents never took me to this place...they just weren't TIKI at ALL...so I never knew about it, until I stumbled across this on Arkiva Tropica....

Sounds like the way I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale. The Mai Kai was always there but my parents never took me. They thought like most of the locals that it was a major tourist trap. Plus they probably thought that it was more of an 'adult' place. People in the 70s used to think like that. Any establishment with scantily clad ladies was not necessarily family entertainment. Luckily for me and the rest of us the Mai Kai still exists.

I'm in Northport once every month or so and I always go past the former Bali Hai location. The building has been shuttered for a few years now, and just sitting there crumbling. Its last incarnation was the 'Cow Harbor Inn'. I think the building is slated to be razed and they're going to put a Commerce Bank there or something. Jeez..can they make this world any more generic than it is already?

Thanks for posting the Arkiva stuff. That's a great web site. I forgot they had the Bali Hai stuff.

[ Edited by: donhonyc 2008-05-11 10:38 ]

Wow, thank you so much everyone for the pics and the interest - the Arkiva stuff brought back a FLOOD of memories!
I only wish I had these pics when I was creating the signs in question back in '04. They are still SUPER cool to see and I am sure I will use them somewhere. My husband will definitely get a kick out of them too - he creates HUGE tikis out of wood that are actually furniture (email [email protected] for more info), and he's been hearing me talk about this place for years.

Does anyone know of any tikiesque establishments in the works for the Long Island area?
I keep hearing rumors through some of our connections but nothing definite.

Hey and by the way - who remembers Lake Tung Ting? In Centerport - a chinese restaurant on the lake that was recently razed - I stopped by some time ago to look in the abandoned building. Its demise was unfortunate as the inside could have so easily been remodeled into a Tiki paradise.

Here is a photo (with my crappy camera) of a Bali Hai napkin. The napkin is in one of my mother's scrapbooks. You can see (from my mom's writing) that on 11/9/1968 she and my dad (then fiance) went there either before or after going to see the movie Camelot. At the time my mom lived in West Hempstead & my dad lived in Bethpage.

[ Edited by: seafoamer 2008-08-11 19:19 ]




Drove by the former location of the Bali Hai yesterday. The original building is now gone and a TD Bank is being built in its place. Sorry I don't have any pictures, but what's there to see?

Finally got one of those great Bali Hai postcards, also saw this matchbook on ebay with a different design and font.


I'm sad to hear that they tore the place down.

I grew up in Long Island and I was taken here for Birthdays every year for all the time we lived here. I remember the embarresment of being taken up on the stage for 'hula lessons' :D.

Thanks donhonyc and tikiyaki for posting the pics! I remember there was an artificial stream leading between the rails seen in the postcard, and I recall that the bridge had lights on it. There was live entertainment (late '60s/ early '70s) Polynesian music and hula dancing. I think there was a fire dancer as well, but I might have that memory confused with somewhere else.

I remember we always had the pau pau platter. They used to give out these plastic leis, (which didn't look anything like the ones on the menu!), and we always loved them.

I remember that there was a huge clam shell (can't remember if it was 'real' or not) in the lobby, which was used as a wishing well.

Thanks all for bringing back so many cool memories.

[ Edited by: Tea Monster 2013-02-21 05:40 ]


Enjoying a night out at the Bali Hai in Northport, LI 1972 Me & my now husband Paris, My sister Joann and her now husband Charlie & my Mom & Dad Jean & Ralph.
These are some of the Tiki glasses I have from the restaurant and I also have the Menu. We always had such fun there, great memories.

scope posted on Tue, Dec 31, 2013 7:51 PM

I lived in East Northport from 1957 (10 years old) till 1971. I worked part-time at the Bali Hai as a dishwasher, than busboy than waiter on and off from 1964 to 1968 while attending college. A Filipino who name was Albert was the manager. He was always trying to lure a waitress up to the second floor "office" to put the moves on her. The owners last name was Gater. He was a short white round elderly male ( looked like Alfred Hitchcock). He also owned a steak house called the Gateaway Restaurant located on Jericho Turnpike. He occasionally visited the Bali Hai, pulling up to the kitchen door in the back of the restaurant in his new Cadillac convertible always accompanied by young, very young women.
Most of the employees were either all or part Filipino, Hawaiian, Asian or Polynesian. I was one of the few white employees. I loved the atmosphere in the main dining room and the live entertainment. I recall they once had a world famous flaming knife dancer perform. I saw him several years later performing on tv and at Disney World.
I visited that area in 2004 for a 40 th Northport high school reunion. At that time the building was still standing but boarded up. It appeared to have more recently been a regular American food restaurant.
I heard that what finally did the Bali Hai in was that one New Year's Eve they way over booked and as the crowd grew outside a fight broke out that eventually grew outside and spilled inside. in the process a lot of furniture was destroyed inside and out including the large statutes, lights and ponds both inside and outside the building. I heard the restaurant never reopened after that.

A friend of mine from Northport who knows I'm a major nerd for all things Tiki spotted this
guy at a local hardware store over the weekend, claiming to be from the Bali Hai...

This was the first I'd heard of the restaurant, so I can't say if that's true or not, but if someone lives in the area, I can see if I can get the exact store... maybe someone will recognize it?

Looking over the photos and info in this thread, it sounds like the Bali Hai was quite a fantastic place way back when!


Cool Tiki Pete. Anybody ever go check that out for the story? Also one of the great Tiki matchbooks posted by Tiki Kate.

Here are the ashtray and swizzle stick from the Bali Hai.


Cooo-elle! …let's fly to Paris and drop 'em in the South Pacific showcase :D

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2014-07-05 11:54 ]

Aloha. Just found your forum and it is very interesting. Because it just so turns out my grandmother's name is Puanani. And she was the original dancer/producer/choreographer of the hula show at Bali Hai in Northport, NY. My mother and my uncle used to have to wait for her in the kitchen where all the Chinese cooks "baby sat" them and gave them lots of ice cream! haha :) we have many pictures of her and the group performing there. Here is one of these pictures. My grandmother Puanani is on the left.

Thanks kadenikaika! It's alway great when the families of people who were part of a location share their stories with us. If you have more photos from the Bali Hai or stories from your family feel free to add them.

aloha, tikicoma

Beautiful picture! Indeed, we are looking forward to see more of the place and its people. :)


I live in Alabama, and when I was 10 years old (1965), I went with my Grandmother to visit her sister in East Northport. We went to the Bali-Hai. Being a pack-rat, I found the menu last night when I was looking through some old things. Brought back memories of a fun night for a 10-year old. I remember the band playing Polynesian Music. Evidently, they let me keep the menu (or did we buy one?) as a souvenir. I also have one of the mugs in which they served drinks. I had wondered if the restaurant were still there, so I googled the name. Much to my surprise, I found this forum!

Euclid we would love to see some pictures of the mug and menu if you have time. Thanks for posting!


The menu I have is the same one that is posted earlier in this thread. Here is a picture of the mug.


I cannot manage to get the pictures to load of the show at Bali Hai, I would love to see it, as I too was babysat by the cooks during the show many a time and I bet I spent time with your Mom. Would love to see....My sister worked the Show and eventually became Choreographer, her name was Kanani....

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