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Lanai Liquors (in San Mateo) selling his tiki!

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I briefly talked to the owner of Lanai Liquors yesterday. He his going through a bad spell financially and is selling his beautiful tiki. This same Tiki was the one and same that previously donned the front of San Mateo's long departed THE LANAI.

According to the liquor store owner, he has "sold" it to a customer. The customer gave him $100 deposit but has never shown up to pay the remanding $1300. He says that technically it is sold, but if the other guy never shows up it will be for sale again. I'm also pretty sure he would reconsider it's "sale" status if he got a better offer.

I requested that the liquor store owner ask the purchaser where the tiki will be going after it leaves Lanai Liquors. I would hate to see another Tiki with a long and rich history just disappear from the public landscape.

Sigh, if I could afford it... Oh well.

[ Edited by: Fonduie on 2002-04-29 09:16 ]

Damn, a Barney West original! See it on page 247 of the Book o'.
We need a Tiki Museum that has the financial backbone to save such treasures. Kind of like the Getty, just a little smaller...

aquarj posted on Wed, May 1, 2002 5:10 PM

Thanks very much for posting about this, fonduie! I made them a higher offer, and they took it, so it's paid for and I'll be picking it up Fri morning.

Yes, it'll be sad to see the tiki leave it's home. I literally drive by it every day to/from work, so in a way I'll miss it too. But the owner told me he doesn't want to be responsible for it anymore. I guess if it had to go, it's an honor to get an original Barney West tiki with a history (thanks again fonduie).

Took a lot of photos of it, and will try to take some evening shots tonite or tomorrow nite. I can post some soon if anyone's interested. Of course, I'm totally open to letting tikicentral folks come see it in it's new home any time. Just get ahold of me.

-Randy (aqua)

Yes! Please post pics!


Oh I'm so glad that The Lanai tiki will go to a good home. I was hoping that someone here at Tiki Central would adopt him!

But how are you going to move that bad-boy? He's bolted to the ground and weighs a ton! Let me know when you're going to make the move, I'd love to help in any dinky way I could.

aquarj posted on Thu, May 2, 2002 8:34 PM

Actually, some piano movers will transport the guy tomorrow morning. Not too bad costwise, and much better equipment than what I could scrape together or rent. Thanks for offering to help though! Indeed, the movers guessed he probably weighs around 800lb.

Leroy at Oceanic Arts guessed up to 1000lb. He also said it's probably redwood, since a lot of Barney West's stuff was. And he said another West tiki from the Lanai is now in a place in Redondo Beach, because the owner of the Lanai wanted to get rid of it - she was superstitious and thought it carried bad luck.

Tonight after work I'll stop there to take some night photos with a couple lights on him. Hope they come out good, and I'll post them soon.

[ Edited by: aquarj on 2002-08-31 20:44 ]

aquarj posted on Fri, May 3, 2002 3:52 PM

Here's the update for those of you on the edge of your seats (haha). The move went real smooth this morning - fortune smiled with the mover team. There were 4 guys - two were samoan and one was a fan of the old Lanai restaurant (he said he had many a Sidewinder's Fang). So they were real careful moving the tiki - lots of jokes about pleasing the gods and so forth. Also, happy to say it's still very solid and in good shape after all these years. Even a couple small loose parts basically stayed on with the handling.

Couple pics for now - I'll try to put up some more later.

Wow, what a morning!


You Lucky bastard!!!!!! Enjoy your treasure.


On 2002-05-03 16:02, BONBONVIC wrote:
You Lucky bastard!!!!!! Enjoy your treasure.


Oops - hit the return key too soon...

Might I suggest that you get a small plaque made (Things Remembered at any mall could do it) explaining the origin of the tiki, when it was carved, by whom, and when you purchased it. Future urban archaeologists will be glad you did, and it will also impress friends.


Swanky posted on Tue, May 7, 2002 8:13 AM

Am I the only person that looks at this thing and thinks "I ought to make something like that"?

I am not going to afford a huge tiki. But one day I plan to have a nice back yard with a number of tikis. So I either will have to buy them, make them or find someone to make them for me.

So I guess I'll be making them. I want to watch someone do it. See what tools they use and how they get started. The small stuff I can see how you'd do it. But a 6-8 footer is a whole other set of problems.

Is there a nice book out there anyone has used for a reference? Maybe just a "Wood Carving on a Large Scale"? My friend at the tool store says they used to have a very good tool for this sort of thing but stopped making it after too many people got mangled by it. I'd want to use a power tool as much as possible. The thought of having to get the hang of chisel and mallet seems a bit too extended of a learning period.

I'm with you. I don't want to/wouldn't be able to talk my wife into spend a fortune on Tikis, but I sure would love some for my yard. I have thought about doing it myself as well, just don't know where to begin. Any answers/tips out there?

It will be a couple of months til it's finished, but my new book on Witco will have a section on "How to chainsaw carve Tikis for fun and profit" in it. Like the "Firewood mask"(original text):
"This example will jiggle your imagination, plus you can use all your carving mistakes in the fireplace."

I'll make my first attempt soon. I was going by a house where some ladnsacpers had just took down a palm tree and I scored a palm trunk out their dumpster. Yes I resorted to dumpster diving.

Swanky posted on Wed, May 8, 2002 9:04 AM

There are a number of carvers of sorts in this area. They mostly do bears and animals or various sizes.

Usually I steer clear, but I should chat them up some time.

On smaller scales, I am sure a Dremel type tool or even a router could be used once the wood is cut to a general shape. But the scale up changes things.

I'd hate to experiment on huge logs. Ah ha! I need a place with a fireplace so I can experiment on the logs and have a good reason to buy a small chain saw!

jtiki posted on Fri, May 10, 2002 9:25 AM


Similiarly, will your book also touch on mug making. MOre complex on the equipment side (kilms and all) but I'd like to understand the process.


Thanks to some HUGE help from Naomi Chihuahuaplanet, a complete slideshow of the Lanai tiki move is now up on my site along with all the other old junk. To see it, go to the following url, and then click on the Lanai matchbook image or the link below it...


Naomi did a great job on this - it's a flash slideshow with the pictures I took when the big guy was being moved. Warning - the whole thing is about 2.6 Mb to load, but I'd say it's really worth the time, even on a dialup. But you will need the Flash browser plugin to run it, and be javascript-enabled to open it. If you don't know what this means, just click and see what happens.

Not too often you get to see the underside of a pedigreed Barney West tiki! A roving mouse will also find that we threw in a couple related extras to look for - Barney West stuff from the BOT, an old Lanai swizzle image, and the Lanai Liquors neon sign at night. Enjoy!



Hey that flash slideshow was well worth the wait!

What a job that must have been lugging that Ole' Tiki around town. I love the pictures that show it illuminated by the neon sign.

Maybe it's me but I swear I saw that tiki grin just a little bit in that last shot, I think he likes his new home :wink:

"Let me know when you're going to
make the move, I'd love to help in
any dinky way I could."

Don't you mean "Hinky Dinky"?




A little news update related to the Lanai...

I was recently talking to some people at the Villa Hotel in San Mateo, which used to be adjacent to the Lanai restaurant before that became a Walgreens, in what used to be called the Villa plaza. The Villa itself is kind of a neat example of a midcentury hotel, and it used to be considered an upscale stop on the peninsula. Anyway, apparently as of the first of the year, it will become the Radisson Villa, along with a corresponding logo change and so forth. Hopefully not too much will change though, because they recently completed a big renovation a year or two ago, and they still are proud of the sort of midcentury style of the place.

But an interesting thing is that apparently one of the bartenders in the Cabana Lounge in the hotel used to be a bartender at the Lanai restaurant. So you could probably get a pretty good Sidewinder's Fang from him. I don't have his name handy here at work, but I'll post later, maybe in Events. I thought some of the bay area folks might like to meet up at the Villa Lounge some nite when he's working, and see if he has stories to tell, or even memories of drink recipes and so on. Maybe just after Christmas and before new years, so that it'd be before the Radisson overhaul.


If you're taking your first shot at carving, even though labor intensive, I'd highly recommend sticking to a hammer and chisel unless highly skilled with a chainsaw. All dismemberment jokes aside, I've found that a chainsaw can make a radical decision in about 3 seconds that can't be reversed. My first attempt was in a 6 ft. palm. I used a design composite of tikis I'd found in the Tiki News, pulling the elements I liked best. It came out just fine. You'll do great if you go slow.

Ooops, I forgot. A router will take a walk really badly. A 2 1/2 horse power Porter Cable will screw it up faster than you can saY," Hey, where's my Dewalt?"

There's also the Dremel "zzzzaaaaaaaattttttaaaauuu" with an instant huge trench dug across what once was your masterpiece...tikiphile is right, you're gonna get a better product with a set of palm tools and a little patience.


FANTASTIC purchase, and a wonderful slideshow! You guys make it bearable to live in the Tiki wasteland of Dallas.

I'm with Sven -- someone has GOT to get the funding together for a Polynesian Pop mueseum. The Googie folks seem to have a good bit of pull and cash on the West coast, perhaps they could help their struggling architectural cousin before it's too late? A well done Googie/Tiki mueseum would be better than DisneyWorld!


So Randy,
Did you ever get anything together for the Villa Hotel bartender visit? Hell, I'm game! Hey, maybe yyou could also post some pictures of anything you've collected on the Lanai? I'm damn curious.

Kim posted on Tue, Mar 18, 2003 3:38 PM

I agree on 200% the museum idea- it's a terrible shame that so many historically & socially significant pop movements like tiki & exotica have been undervalued and, consequently, not preserved. maniac cat is a museum professional as well- we've got the love & skills to run it, now we just need funding!

Can we put Uncle Forry's collection of monster movie memorabilia in there too? That needs a home as well...


Yes, I still think it'd be fun to get together at the Villa to talk story with the Lanai bartender guy. Martiki was asking about that too. I've been submerged lately, and I'll be out of touch all next week, so I was hoping to suggest something like Fri April 4 (BelMateo Bowl and the Villa?).

And Fonduie, thanks for asking about the Lanai pics - I have a few scans of some old historical stuff, and I can't wait to get the time to put them together in a viewable format online. Sorry to be so slow - soon come!


Randy, I think I mentioned it to you before, I have a very crisp slide of the origin of the Lanai logo Tiki: That weird-ass (Indonesian?) devil carved onto a door.
Got it when I found the Lanai leftover in that mini mall.

Does anyone know what's happening to the Villa Hotel? I've noticed that the sign out front has been covered up and there's a chain-link fence around the building... Worrysome indeed.

Thanks for the photo's. Fantatsic news that a tiki is saved.
I bet the movers loved your steps into your yard! ha ha


Not too long ago I made a main Lanai website with the tiki moving slideshow and some other hysterical, I mean historical stuff. More to come in the future, but also note there's some related stuff from the Villa Hotel there too.

Royale, thanks for mentioning the Villa, I'll have to take a look too. Jeez, even being the "Radisson Villa" these days, I still hope the place doesn't go the way of the Lanai. Maybe Walgreens wants to build a SECOND store in the same plaza across from it's other one on the old Lanai location.


Tres nice, Randy. The Lanai was THE place to remember to many SF Polynesian Pop veterans, and one can see why. Wonder if the bar mural had day-to-dusk lighting effects like the Kona Kai and Hawaii Kai. And that Cooler has just the amount of mint in it I like :)
I need to send you the slide I have of the original door carved like the menu cover that I took in that mini mall ....when I get back home. Remind me in March.


And that Cooler has just the amount of mint in it I like

That's because it's a two-fisted he-man drink for those who want immediate action. And yeah, the word was that the diorama had the changing day to nite effect. Wish I'd been there to see it!

Thanks for mentioning that slide again Sven, I gotta remember to get a copy from you to put on the website. What an oddball main theme tiki they used for the door, matchbooks, menu, eh?


On 2006-01-24 22:51, bigbrotiki wrote:
Tres nice, Randy. The Lanai was THE place to remember to many SF Polynesian Pop veterans, and one can see why. Wonder if the bar mural had day-to-dusk lighting effects like the Kona Kai and Hawaii Kai.

Yes, big bro, the dusk to dawn feature of the Lanai mural caught this pre-tiki lover's eye big time!!

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