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Tiki Archeology - The Aloha Lounge

Pages: 1 2 63 replies

Fellow Brethren,

Last week I made one of those finds that as a postcard collector, is as sweet to me as those Steve Crane mugs are to you mug collectors - An actual family photo that someone took in front of an old Tiki Bar back in the day. And better yet, it's a place I've never heard of before - the ALOHA LOUNGE. It's a small black & white kodak photo, but I've enlarged it here.

Unfortunately, there are absolutely no identifying marks on this picture. No writing on the back, no date-stamp, no address or street names in the photo itself. A complete mystery to me.

Based on the shorts and the haircut, I would guess this dates from the 1970s or slightly earlier. Would you agree? Also, it has the feel of a California or Florida location to me. The pilings might indicate a bar that takes it's decor from a nearby ocean. That's just my feeling though. It just doesn't look Hawaii to me, but I could be wrong.

Big-bro, is this another Andres Bumatay tiki?

If it is, then what states did he sell his tikis in? The tiki looks so sharp and freshly-carved. It might give a clue as to when the photo was taken.

There's another tiki panel on the door to the right of the young man:

Does anybody recognize it, or know the maker?

I searched the internet a bit and came up with a couple "Aloha Lounges", but none of them look likely to me. Still, I haven't seen them mentioned here on Tiki Central, so here are the links. Maybe some of you can check them out:

First, THE ALOHA LOUNGE - "New York City's original gay lounge. Often imitated, never duplicated":

Then there's the stunning ALOHA LOUNGE at the Camelot Resort hotel in North Bay, Ontario. Have any of you Canadians visited this place yet?

And finally, the ALOHA LOUNGE at the Outrigger Reef hotel in Waikiki. (Have you ever been here, Gecko?):

But I'm going to hazard a wild guess that none of these places are the ALOHA LOUNGE pictured in my photo.

The photo looks great in my postcard album nonetheless, and I'm ecstatic to own it, but if any of you can help me identify it exactly, then I'd be even happier. Thanks for the help.


[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-10-29 00:02 ]

Who's the guy in the picture?

Again, I have no idea. I purchased this from a dealer in old photos and he didn't remember where it came from either.


I'd give the little finger of my right hand to the cleaver for abs like that gay guy on the far right...

GREAT picture. That's exactly the kind of amateur snaps I am looking for, too....
How does one GET to them!? Knock on people's doors?

Can't you click/zoom like in "Bladerunner" into the payphone on the left and get the address?

I am quite certain that that FANTASTIC Tiki was carved by Andres Bumatay (BOT p 250)
The best way to go about this place is ask the two wise men at Oceanic Arts, cause that place (and the guy!) looks very South Cal.

Hey there Sabu, It kind of looks like this place was at some beachfront hotel. Can you see a logo or something on the phone booth? Maybe I watch too much CSI.


If I blow the photo up very large, I can clearly read the word "TELEPHONE" across the top of the pay-phone. Any other smaller writing or logos are all washed out in the sunlight. (I watch a lot of CSI too).

I'd give the little finger of my right hand to the cleaver for abs like that gay guy on the far right...

Amen to that, Kahuna!



There was also...

Aloha Motel, 445 N Arizona Ave, Chandler, AZ

Hukilau Island Grill / Aloha Lounge, 16th & O, Sacramento, CA

Aloha, Coral Gables, FL

Aloha Kai, 7329 Quivira Rd., Shawnee, KS (913) 962-8828

Aloha, Route 53, Hingham (south of Boston off of Rt. 3), MA

Jimmy Lums Aloha Lounge, 429 S. Dort Hwy., Flint, MI

Aloha, The, Rochester, NY

Aloha Taste Of Hawaii, 7133 A S. Yale, Tulsa, OK

Aloha Room, The Heathman Hotel at 731 SW Salmon, Portland, OR

Restaurant Aloha, 78 ouest de Martigny, St. Jerome, QC

Aloha Hut, Washington, DC

...any of these places could have had an attatched "Aloha Lounge"


Ah, Canadian Polynesia! My wife is from Ontario, I know she vacationed near that area as a kid, and I'm gonna ask her about Camelot as soon as she gets home from work. It may not be the place, but damn, what a nice lounge!


The real treat is the Camelot Resort photo. That's one fab-looking bar.... How long did that last?!? And where does the hanging chair fall into today's Tiki world?

Thanks Sabu, once again we must bow down to some truly fascinating research.

Trader Woody

I'm not sure how the Hanging Chair has fit into Tiki Lounge Decor traditionally, but it looks like it might be time to create a new tradition, doesn't it? Wow! I haven't seen one of those in a while. And to think... In 1968 I probably could've bought 'em at the "World Bazaar" for about $30 a piece. Of course my Mom would've wondered why I was spending all of my allowance to buy a new chair every few months...

Thanks, James, for all the tips. I'm going to agree with Chiki on this one - the building in the background looks like a hotel, so it appears the bar is part of some kind of beachfront hotel/resort.

Woody - As far as I can tell, the Camelot in Ontario is a currently-operating resort, and the photo is current as well. That's why I was curious to see if anyone has visited it recently. That lounge is very tantalizing.

I'm going to take the photo to Oceanic Arts per Bigbro's suggestion. Probably take a long lunch sometime next week. I'll let you all know the results.


You must have heard of those hanging chairs with an odd little hole at the base....

Strange tales have been told about the use of such chairs and for those of us that 'flowered' in the 80's, perhaps 90's, it all seems sadly exotic. "They really smoked that much reefer? Got laid all the time? And then sat down on a hanging seat waiting for the next lay, beer, or puff of pot?"

These wonderfully designed but usually poorly-executed chairs ended up being a kick up the pants to the squares. While the bands provided the tunes to get down to, furniture design provided the curves, curiosity and downright eroticism that helped accentuate the thrust of 60's/70's sexuality that allowed so many of us Tiki-philes to be alive today.

Trader Woody

Hmmmmm, CSI, eh?

Probably afternoon rather than morning, sun shining onto the hotel's windows, which would make those West Coast shadows rather than East Coast, eh?

Casual dress, I agree that it seems very likely near a beach. he does not appear to be wearing socks or shoes.

The car to his left looks about, what, late '60s' into mid 70's?

Haircut kinda mid-early 70's? Seems to predate feathering.

Parking lot is out front, so not directly a beachfront place.

Wood/Bamboo slats on hotel railing looks very Hawaiian, maybe deep SoCal. The wood looks a little dry and sun bleached, so maybe more likely Cali than the Islands.

Can you see sunlight/window in the back? Doesn't seem to be deep enough into the building to have a window that close. Maybe just a "room on each side of a hall" type motel/hotel?

Also, the hotel seems to be only a two story.

We need Sherlock Tiki!

[ Edited by: Geeky Tiki on 2003-01-17 16:40 ]


Seeing that photo I was reminded of the entrance to the Malibu Don the Beachcomber, which was part of a small beachfront hotel. It has been so long since I have been there (it closed in 1986 or right around then) that I don't have a good recollection of the tiki in front. I don't know the history of that location. Could there have been an older tiki lounge there before it was taken over by Don? Certainly possible, but I can't say for sure.

laney posted on Fri, Jan 17, 2003 5:43 PM

Well, I love my hanging chair but I haven't used it for anything but sitting...good idea though. I'll have to try it out sometime :wink:

I know the whitewash sucks but it came that way. Can't complain for $20 and I'm hoping the rain may take some off. Oh yea that's Spike my other killer attack dobie (mutant mini form)


Did a little digging on the Camelot Resort Hotel page-


-went through the 'Photo Gallery' link to the "VIRTUAL TOURS ADDITIONAL PHOTOS" link at the bottom of the page which leads you through to 360 degree pix-


Hit both the "Tiki bar" link and the "Trader Vic's" links. They are a little slow to load, but your patience will be rewarded.

Oh, man!


Hot diggity! I think we may very well have to do Camelot next time we go visit the in-laws! Funny that they're calling it a Trader vic's though...it isn't a real Vic's is it? Anyway I love the way they shoehorned this slice or tropicalia into an otherwise traditional northern Ontario resort with fish trophies, "Log Cabin" and "Fisherman's Cottage" suites, and Native and pioneer artifacts - and never changed it! Bravo, Camelot!


Just paint the chair brown...

On 2003-01-17 15:38, Trader Woody wrote:
You must have heard of those hanging chairs with an odd little hole at the base....

I HAD heard about those, Woody! Dang! No wonder I'm fascinated with Hanging Chairs! As a matter of fact.. I think I recall hearing about them around the same time I heard about Mirrored Ceilings and Magic Fingers Beds. Dang. Too bad I was so young in the 70s.

Eek! Trader Vic's Heated Indoor Swimming Pool? With Fir Trees Growing Around It!?! That's weird!
Gotta admit, though, that the scene that it opened with made me kinda hope they had some o' them Hangin' Chairs in the Poolside Bar.


CAMELOT!!! IM GOING TO CAMELOT!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! How did I not know about this?

OK, North Bay is far, but I'm closer to it than any of you, so I'ts all mine to discover. As you may recall I posted about wanting to go on a road trip along Yonge St, the longest street in the world? Well I beleive North BAy is on the route. I'm gonna check and get back. I'll be the first to go and report back on CAMELOT. I'm just waiting for spring. Apparently it's suicide to attempt such a trip right now. Even in Toronto today it is -30 Celcius. My ears are peeling cause the skin froze yesteday. Do I need a Mai Tai or what?


North Bay is less than 4 hours from here. Mch better than I thought! Might even hit that joint before spring - cause the anticipation of swimming in that pool is pretty heavy!

2nd pic of the white washed chair. Did the dog get into the sugar? Geeze, it looks like it's on a case of Red Bull!!


On 2003-01-14 18:10, Sabu The Coconut Boy wrote:
Again, I have no idea. I purchased this from a dealer in old photos and he didn't remember where it came from either.


So - did you get any info from Oceanic Arts...? Anyone else come up with any clues to this place...?


I don't know if this will help, yesterday I had a family gathering in San Pedro, so I took a copy of the picture of Sabu's to show some of the people there to see if it looked familiar to them. I knew there were going to be some old timers there from the area. My Aunt thought it looked like Mr. C's on PCH, I forgot to get the name of city. She said it was a bar with a motel next to it. Then my Uncle (of course) dissagreed, he said it looked very familiar but he couldn't place it. I'll try to get the name of the city later. I don't know if any of you guys know the place I'm talking about, she said it was torn down in the 80's.

Camelot Resort, RR#1 Box 171, 506 Astorville Road, Corbeil, ON
(705) 752-1119

Located three hours north of Toronto, the Camelot Resort is the brainchild of Ken Agnew. Originally rental apartments on Lake Nosbonsing (just south of North Bay), it was converted into a bed and breakfast by Ken's widow Doris. This fantastic (if remote) find is definitely worth the trip.
Camelot is an Arthurian theme lodge with a poolside Tiki Bar. The focal point of the premises is indeed the Tiki Bar, because it seems that Mr. Agnew had a soft spot for Tiki. Tiki Mugs, wooden Trader Vic's signs, and various other Polynesian goodies are displayed around the house, but this is jut the tip of the iceberg - Agnew focused his energies exclusively on the indoor pool from the 1950’s to the mid-1970’s. Behind a nondescript door leading to the basement, lies an incredible, dimly-lit Polynesian grotto about three stories high.
A foot bridge leads over rivulets of trickling water that run downhill and into a small tidal pool filled with rubber sea creatures. This dribbles lazily into the main swimming pool. Beyond the bridge, past an amazing snake-entwined, African mask and a series of authentic African spears - onto which phony skulls are impaled (non-paying guests?) - is the Tiki Bar. The bar itself is a roofed, bamboo platform that hangs over the edge of the grotto overlooking the pool. It is decorated with fan-backed chairs, hanging basket lamps, lanterns, blowfish, nautical bric-a-brac, sea creatures, Tiki masks, and a twelve-foot stuffed snake. Hawaiian music lends to the atmosphere. Behind the bar is a beaded doorway leading to a sauna, shower, bathroom, and steps down to the pool, hot-tub, and fireplace.
Standing on the edge of the pool is akin to being at the edge of a grotto in a quiet, underground cave. Along the edge of the far wall hang pink and white flowered vines. In the summer they turn the waterfall on, which cascades into the pool from the roof. The walkway runs behind this, and also leads to a dark corner with a scary surprise inside! Beside it stands a six-foot stone Moai. Right next to the fireplace, Mr. Agnew built a mountain, which can be climbed via stone slab steps, to the top of the pool slide. Underneath this mountain, a spiral staircase leads down to an underwater viewing deck, where one can watch people swimming. While the bar is pretty much self-serve, the ambiance alone and the obvious love that has gone into this amazing blast-from-the-past make it a very worthwhile stop.


I tried my hand at 'enhancing' the image to see what else might be hidden...

There appears to be a logo over the left breast (right in the picture), there's a constrasting color or logo on the baggies and there appears to be a statue or something sitting on the ground just behind his left leg (again, right leg in the picture).

Shutterfly appears to compress the images after uploading so there's some significant degradation in the quality of what I uploaded vs. what I have here...

Maybe I'm doing it wrong :lol:

Here's an expanded version of the shirt, hit three times with Adobe PS Brightness / Contrast filters, looks like a repeating pattern may be present on the shirt...

Here's an enlarged view of the window to the left of the guys head. Hit 7 or 8 times with Brightness/Contrast, then adjusted the RGB curves, then adjusted just the green curve.

Here's the same window view passed through the KPT equalizer filter.
Kind of looks like a "cartoon face" developing in the upper left corner of the image, and maybe some glasses or ? at the bottom and what appears to be shot glasses in about the middle of the window ? There may also be the face of a woman in the left middle section of the window (or maybe it's a mirror), black hair - cut sort of like Doris Day (man, I hope I'm not the only one here that remembers what she looks like). Really faded though, can make out the eyes hair line and jaw / chin area.

I tried enhancing the image at the top of the phone. It doesn't make any sense though... it looks like an ITL to me followed by a logo of some sort, too grainy to make out...

Here's an enhanced image of the back of the chair in the left side of the image... not sure but looks like an island scene...


There's nothing like a sharp tool!

[ Edited by: 7TiKiS on 2003-01-24 13:47 ]

On 2003-01-24 05:36, 7TiKiS wrote:
I tried my hand at 'enhancing' the image to see what else might be hidden...

[ Edited by: 7TiKiS on 2003-01-24 12:03 ]

Holy Blade Runner, Batman!



I read all the posts (even the ones that got off-subject), and the car (bumper), haircut, and guys logos(?) on his shirt/shorts were trying to be dated, but I went for something that was a more permanent fixture: the telephone. Since I know quite a few collectors of all types, I called upon my phone-fanatic friend. Here's some information from him that might help you date this photograph...

The rotary, three-coin pay phone (remember those nickel-dime-quarter slots at the top?), was in production and in public use until 1964. Starting in 1965, the single-coin public phones come into use. The other thing that helps to date it is the pre-1965 "pull-down barrel" coin return.

I had to write down these terms as he said it, or else I'd never remember! I couldn't quite tell exactly if this was a 3-coin phone, but my friend was quite sure it was. I trust his word since he's quite a phone aficionado. If you have more questions about the phone, let me know, and I'll forward the question to my friend.

So we can be pretty sure this photo was taken no later than 1964!

Hope this helps you Sabuuuuuuuuu!


This Daddy's Caddy & The Tiki Transporter

Hmmm...I should have been TraderFrank

[ Edited by: SugarCaddyDaddy on 2003-01-28 09:15 ]



How come I never heard of this Camelot? I lived in Sudbury for 5 of the coldest worst years of my life and this was a mere 1.5 hours away.

I am there in two shakes sweets. Gotta convince my lovely wife that we need a weekend away. I've got an interview this week for a job. When I get it I'll turn a weekend up there into a congratulatory present to myself.

I can see it now...Hukilau North. Sound good Tiki Freaks of the unity of Ontario?

7Tikis and SugarCaddyDaddy - You guys crack me up with all your CSI high-tech sleuthing. I appreciate the help too, honestly. Unfortunately, I don't think I provided you with the best quality scans to begin with. Here are some higher-res photos that I'm afraid make for a less-intriguing story.

First, the telephone. I'm afraid all it says is "Telephone"

Next the back of the chair:

And the shorts. It looks like just patterns of sunlight. No logos.

The shirt seems to be pretty plain too:

The patterns on the ground behind the young man's legs are the shadows from the chains between the pilings.

The patch of light inside the bar itself is the one thing that remains intriguing. I'm voting for a mirror on the wall that's reflecting sunlight, but it's just a guess:

I was able to take my postcard collection, including this photo, to Oceanic Arts in Whittier last Thursday. Bob and Leroy were both intrigued with the picture as well, but had never seen the place either. They told me that this is nothing new, they hear of new places all the time, despite their wide knowledge. They scanned the photo on their computer and printed a large copy to keep up next to the cash register. Hopefully one of their old-time customers will be able to provide a clue. They are pretty sure the Aloha Lounge was in California. Bumatay's tikis pretty much stayed within the state. They also recognized the tiki torches as models they used to sell themselves back in the 1960s:

This was my first trip to Oceanic Arts and I was duly flabbergasted. The amount of history in that warehouse and the sheer mass of tikis and decor is truly amazing. Both Bob and Leroy were really gracious in showing me around. I had no idea they provided the decor for so many of the places pictured in my postcard collection. That and the fact that some of the tikis that you could see in my old postcards had actually migrated back to Oceanic Arts - the two tikis in front of the doors of the old Luau in Beverly Hills, for instance. It was great to see and touch these old historic pieces.

Then they broke out their collection of old photos and menus as well and my "long lunch hour" turned into a three-hour lunch. Luckily I made it back to the office without anyone realizing I had been gone for so long. I promised I would make another visit to Oceanic Arts soon and bring some more of my postcard and matchcover albums.


[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-10-29 00:09 ]



Oh well... maybe I'll go back and take a shot at the newer higher res images and see what pops out...

then again, maybe not :lol:

Good luck finding the location...

BTW - nice work you found and posted on the other thread by ChikiTiki... neat stuff!



Have you found out where this is yet? My Aunt is convinced it's Mr. C's. She was born and raised in Long Beach, she is 59. That puts her at the right age to be familiar with the era. I saw all of the great photo's and info on Mr. C's you posted on the other link http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=3196&forum=1&3,
could this be Mr. C's? I hope my bringing this up again doesn't make me redundant. My Aunt and I are just curious :D

[ Edited by: DawnTiki on 2003-04-02 17:29 ]

Hi Dawn,

No, sadly I'm still at a dead-end on identifying this tiki bar. (Which doesn't detract at all from my enjoyment of the photo)

I'm going to vote with your uncle against your dear aunt as to this place being at Mr C's (don't hit me). The brochure mentions several exotic-sounding rooms, but no "Aloha Lounge". Plus the tiki torches on the Mr C's brochure don't match the model of the tiki torches in front of the Aloha Lounge. Also, I doubt if they would have mixed both Milan Guanko and Andres Bumatay tikis at the same place - I think they usually had one artist contracted per building.

I still vote for a beach-side hotel with a small Polynesian-themed lounge attached. I keep hunting on E-bay, because I know a matchbook or postcard from the Aloha Lounge is bound to turn up. If any of you find it first - please let me know where this is. Thanks.



Sabu that makes sense! I love all of the cool and interesting pics you post with great info! Thanks - Dawn

On the hunt for more artifacts, I discovered different, unrelated "ALOHA"-named location. Check out this restaurant china from what looks like maybe a Chinese Restaurant converted to Tiki Restaurant. No indication on either piece as to where this eatery was located. Can anyone help me with this new mystery?

James, do you think this might be one of the ALOHA joints on your list on page 1 of this thread?


[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy on 2003-04-04 15:18 ]

Wasnt there a place in Redondo Beach marina or in those days King Harbor that was attached to the hotel. Its the same hotel that last years Aloha Cruz show was. I could also be the little place in Oceanside in the Marina. Its been so long but I seem to remember something.


I have a menu that may have that same image on it. I'll check when I get home and post a photo . I think the address on it was from Rochester, NY. Could there have been a few locations ?

[ Edited by: puamana on 2003-04-04 14:52 ]

GECKO posted on Fri, Apr 4, 2003 3:02 PM

very interesting thread. Mahaloz for sharing all that info Sabu.

No problem, Gecko.

By the way, what do you paint your carved wooden panels with?



The Aloha, at 2775 Monroe Ave. in Rochester, NY looks like the same place. Here's a pic of the menu :


I came across a mention of "Aloha Lounge" at the Patterson, CA Apricot Capital of the World web page:


Here's the exerpt:
"The Alberties left in June of 1957 to establish their own restaurant in Modesto and Doyle and Rosemary Wallace followed as managers. Doyle had been stationed at Crows Landing Navel Auxiliary Landing Field during World War II and married a local girl, Rosemary Borba. Later they left to operate the Aloha Lounge which they purchased. There were several managers after that, with various degrees of success. By 1960, Dad had taken a more active role in the Hotel’s day-to-day management. The dining room was under separate management with Vallera and Charlie Harris cooking lunch and serving dinners and banquets for many years. Rusty Fleming was one of the main bartenders during those years to be followed later by Ed Rodgers and then Paul Clark in the early 1970s."

So maybe this place is somewhere around Modesto?


Thanks for posting that menu! That is definitely the place. One less mystery in my china cabinet. Beautiful menu, by the way.


That's the best lead I've heard so far. Who knows? That could be the right Aloha Lounge. Maybe a little road-trip is needed. Talk to the locals and all.


I think our mystery tiki-bar may have been in Miami!

I found this old postcard showing the WAIKIKI hotel, and it had an Aloha Lounge:

This hotel fits the profile. It was on the beach and falls into the tiki era. Compare the modernist architecture on the postcard with my photo of the Aloha Lounge below it:

Imagine walking from the front of the hotel in the first photo, to the rear of the hotel which faced the beach. The wide cement or steel ledge you see above the parking structure in the first photo, matches the same ledge that intersects the A-frame roof of the Aloha Lounge in the second photo. The glass windows, the spacing of their frames, and the curtains also seem to match. All this leads me to believe the Aloha Lounge was on the back-side of the Waikiki, facing the beach. Here's the text from the back of the postcard:

"The Fabulous New Waikiki. 100% Air Conditioned and Heated. On the Oceanfront at 18801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, Fla. 350 outside rooms, all with Beauty Rest Mattresses, Hotel Rooms and Efficiencies with complete kitchens, Ample Free Parking, 3 Swimming Pools, 450 Ft. Private Beach, Dining Terrace, Dancing, Movies, Bingo, Beach Parties, Aloha Lounge, Pineapple Bowl Coffee Shop. AAA. Fire-proof. diner's Club, American Express, Carte Blanche."

Any opinions? Do you think this is it, or should I keep hunting? Are there any TC-ers out there who live in the Miami area who might be able to check out the site and see if anything remains?


[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy on 2003-04-15 12:05 ]


Here's the web site for the current hotel on the site:


You can't tell from the drawing of the current hotel if the Aloha Lounge was there. I would agree that the building behind the entrance to the lounge looks similar but the windows seem larger on the Waikiki hotel (but it could be just a different side of the building).

I'm not quite convinced that this is the location. Here's a few observations:

  1. The building in your photo looks significantly shorter than the Waikiki building, but it could possibly have a lower roofline at the back of the hotel.

  2. In your photo, there's a parked car and what appears to be lines for parking on either side of the entrance. Would there really be parking like this on the beach-front side of the hotel? Seems most of the beach front is pool and recreation area on the postcard.

  3. The Miami Beach location of the Waikiki Hotel is an East facing beach. Based on the shadow pattern in your photo, the Aloha Lounge couldn't be located on the beach side of the hotel, as the shadows would cast in the opposite direction.

Just a few observations....

-- Detective Trader Pup

Good points, Trader-Pup,

I'm still going to doggedly hold onto my theory and justify it to myself until I find something better.

The website that Jab posted shows some depth to the buildings that you can't see on the postcard, plus cars parked between the buildings.

So my new theory is that the Aloha Lounge was on one of the North/South facing walls between the buildings.

Does anyone live nearby, who could check it out? Anyone going to cruise by Aventura Beach while visiting the Hukilau?


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