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On the down side, don't bother to order a Mai Tai. The bartender pretty much only serves longnecks & the house specialty: the Shark Attack. A Shark Attack tastes like Kool Ade or Gatorade with vodka & light rum added, and it's serverd in a fishbowl with a rubber shark & a couple plastic fish. I drank 3 & was hardly buzzed.
Lots of room on three levels, with a dance floor on the second level. There are 1/2 a dozen big screen TVs that play music videos that you're supposed to dance to, most of the music was unfotunately Rap Metal mixed with some '80s Hair Bands.
I tried to meet the owner of the lounge, but the bouncer kept putting me off saying he'd be in "in an hour." After almost 3 hours of getting this answer we left the locals to their Buds.
Some of the pictures I took of the Tiki Lounge, I'm still missing some of the Tapa cloth pictures & the picture of the possibly-a-Witco carving:
The sign out front, it's Ladies Night! Woo Hoo:
The Front Door to the Club:
The Pufferfish lamps (hold the monitor over your head for full effect):
A couple of the masks mounted on the wall, surrounded by Tapa cloth:
Two of the Tiki barstools:
Here is a little update on this location from an unplanned expedition to the northern latitudes of my Tiki territory this weekend.The TIKI LOUNGE is located inside the Stearns Motor Inn in Ludington Mi. The hotel was built in 1903 and has been kept up extremely well. I spoke with the owner who was nice enough to speak to me for a few minutes and answer some questions. The Tiki Lounge was purpose built in 1968. Unfortunately the only lights in the bar are on at night so my photos are of bad quality as I was there during the early afternoon. The bar has been updated through the years but to the owners credit he has tried to keep as many of the original pieces as he could. The bar is very small and is for now a dance club opened on the weekends. Hanging from the ceilings are many old blowfish lamps, fishnets and other ropes and flotsam and jetsam. The walls are covered with bamboo and tapa. The handrails in the lounge are all wrapped with rope. I did not see the Witco Tiki stools documented back in 2004. I walked through the lounge with the light from my phone to show me the way. The owner said that was never any ephemera made for the lounge but he said he would like to have a proper cocktail menu made and sever drinks in tiki mugs once again. Even though the lounge is a bit tired the owner has done a fine job of keeping this northern outpost of tiki going. Only open on the weekends and the lounge is now a dance club with loud music and a light show. Hopefully one day will again be a classic tiki survivor. Here are some pics.
Here is an old school cool sign on the side of a warehouse for the lounge on the way into town. Gotta love this one!
The vintage sign for the motor inn.
A very nice figurehead above a small thatched roof with some netting.
A couple of half round poles. They appear to be Witco. Though in two different spots in the lounge now they once flanked an entrance to the lounge through the lobby. That entrance had been walled over years ago.
Here is a shot of the other pole. Note the bamboo, tapa, carved wood trim and large Witco carvings.
This is the best shot the the large Witco statue that I could get. It was in the back of the lounge and I didn't even know it was there until the owner pointed it out with the light of his phone. It is about nine feet tall and aged to perfection.
Here is a shot near the dance floor showing the rope wrapped handrails and netting.
This awesome fish also appeared to be Witco and is a whopping five long.
A large Maori inspired piece.
Another great Witco piece.
And yet another large vintage carving.
The updated entry to the lounge from just outside the lobby.
And the entry from the main street.
"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann
[ Edited by: uncle trav 2014-07-27 17:31 ]
[ Edited by: uncle trav 2014-08-16 05:29 ]
Excellent photo set! I've driven past this place a few times, and I just assumed that the term "tiki" was loosely applied (like the various "Tiki Bob's Cantina" locations). Really neat to see the interior, though. Seems to have at least some history to it... here's hoping they're able to bring it back to some more classic roots.
Thanks Kanu. I wish I had a better camera with me. To find this much vintage tiki in its original location is a rare find. To see it in a small northern Michigan lake town is amazing. I had wanted to visit the location for years and the owner was very gracious to take a few minutes of his time to show me around and answer some questions.
Fine piece of urban archaeology, Trav!
Thanks Rick. I wish I had the chance to go back when the lounge was open. The bar is located under the figurehead in the lounge. They had some blinds rolled down so I was unable to see the back bar. Another area was located in the back of the lounge that I did not get to. I'm not kidding when I said it was pitch black back there. May have been more swag back there. I tried to get a pic of all blowfish lights but they didn't turn out as I only had my phone to take pics. The whole visit was on the fly so I wasn't prepared for a full blown expedition. Had a bunch of fun though.
I can't believe all the Witco and that Maori piece, very nice! looks like a great hidden find and a weekend trip in the future! Thanks Trav!
If any of you Michigan folks get up that way and visit the lounge when it is open please post some pics. I wish I had a bit more time when I was there and was set up better for a proper expedition.
Glad I got a pic of the roadside sign back in 2014. I was back up that way this summer 2022. The sign has completely faded away. The bar was closed at the time so didn’t have a chance to check that out again. Here’s the old sign
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