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Pago Pago - all locations under one roof

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On 2018-12-14 10:18, Otto wrote:

Pago Pago side mural is interesting as it says: "House of Zombie"
Of course Zombies, not the drink, are associated with Caribbean religion and New Orleans Voodoo, not the South Seas
The actual city of Pago Pago in American Samoa has a historical link to cannibalism, but not Zombies?
Whereas the Sacramento bar Zombie Hut uses a cannibal image as there logo icon. Why the interchangeable iconography?

Also interesting is the 7UP logo on the side mural, showing that the Pago Pago is similar to any blue collar bar or liquor store that would willingly sell its wall space to any product willing to pay for it?

[ Edited by: Otto 2018-12-22 21:00 ]

Sorry for the late reply, Otto. I didn't see this before.

I did a ton of research on International Settlement for a half-finished long-form essay on its colourful, short-lived history. Though it's kind of easy to infer that there was some sort of distorted knowledge of tropical history on display here, the truth about the folks at the Pago Pago is far less prosaic: they were merely fantastic opportunists.

The International Settlement, as the at-the-time modern resurrection of the Barbary Coast, was incredibly well-known as a destination for drinking, dining, and dancing for locals, tourists, and (in particular) servicemen on their way to or from the Pacific Theatre. A typical Friday night would see the sidewalks so rammed that people walking in the streets alongside cars was common. In short, there were a LOT of potential customers to woo on what was a fairly cutthroat block of entrepreneurs.

A few of the IS establishments were actually famous - like, proper famous. Arguably, the most famous was the House Of Pisco, which preserved the legend of Duncan Nichol's uniquely San Franciscan cocktail creation, the Pisco Punch, and was located up at one end of the street at 580 Pacific. The proprietors of the Pago Pago (on the oppposite side and other end of the street at 501 Pacific) took that name, subverted it, and brazenly advertised themselves as "The House Of Zombie" on the side of the building.

However, that wasn't the only appropriation. As we know, Bert Rovere opened The Hurricane (later owned by Jack Di Maria) at 533 Pacific Avenue, with his slogan being "Lure Of The Tropics". If you look under the words "Pago Pago" on the neon sign above the door, you will notice the legend "Lure Of The Islands".

I've never been able to ascertain who owned the Pago Pago. I have always wondered if it was the Herling family, who owned Herling's Cafe at the same address just before the Pago Pago opened. Whoever they were, they were cheeky as all get out...

found this ad for restaurant listings in SF from The San Francisco Examiner 14 Aug 1943, Sat ยท Page 13The_San_Francisco_Examiner_1943_08_14_page_13

That's a great find, Otto. Goman's Gay 90s was the longest-running establishment out of all of those. They were one of the few businesses that outlasted the decade or so of the International Settlement and moved up to Broadway Avenue.

I should go through my old HopeChest profile and see about sharing some of my old research on Tiki Tuesdays!

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