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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / General Tiki

Apartment Discovery

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I took an odd street of a main drag today and an apartment building with swell mid-century lines and materials caught my eye. Then I noticed a large irregularly shaped object on the side of the building, by the apartment name. My Tiki senses tingled. I drew closer and saw that the apartment was named Islander and the irregular shape was an approximately 4 feet tall and three feet wide "islander" face (not quite human, not quite Tiki) which looked very Witco-esque in style and was executed in that Japanese burned wood technique. The rest of the building didn't seem to have any other island elements. Not an amazing find, but it's always great to come across the big chunks of Polynesian Pop.


Did you get a picture?

Here's a picture of a tiki in a Tacoma apartment complex that I took in the winter of 2000. I forgot the name of the place. Perhaps you can find it?

I figured I'd grab a photo later. I dream of digital and an eventual NorthwesTiki site (hopefully a communal project of WA, OR, and ID Tiki folk).

I haven't looked for that Tacoma place yet (which I think may be the Hawaiian Village as the Tiki looks like the one on page 217 of The Book and there's a bit of "ge" showing on the sign in the photo), I remember something about it from a previous post of yours. I've done a little digging around Tacoma and it's on my projects list. Tacoma has not destroyed it's past as much as Seattle so I'm hopeful.


I haven't gone digital yet either. I like my 35mm so I just bought a good scanner for less than a mediocre digitial camera would have cost me.

I did post that Tacoma tiki on the old Yahoo group but the album was deleted. I remember visiting 2 polynesian style apartment buildings in Tacoma that visit, but I don't recall their names. I found them using an online yellow pages search.

Have you been to Red's Java Jive in Tacoma? It's a bar in a coffee pot shaped building that is filled to the rafters with all kinds of bric a brac. An amazing place to visit.

Dying to go back to Seattle and Tacoma. Perhaps I'll make it up to the area for the Castaway Cove season opener!


Woof, what part of town were ya in???

Jab, do you have the address of Red's? We to to (or through) Tacoma fairly often and I'd love to visit it...

Have you done any antiquing/thrifting in Tacoma lately? Pretty good scene there in the old town area, and nowhere near as spendy as Seattle...


I made an error - it's Bob's Java Jive at 2102 South Tacoma Way. Kinda hard to find as it's in an industral area.

I found out that Bob passed away in 2001 but it's still open as far as I can tell from the internet. Nice story of Bob here:


Had OK luck thrifting in Tacoma but better luck in Portland!


Have you been to Never-Never Land in Tacoma? I haven't yet but I heard it's an old amusement park for kiddies with plaster statues of fairy-tale characters. Sounds like fun.

Some more Tacoma bars I would like to check out are in this article:


Haven't been there, but it sounds a lot like Enchanted Forest here in Oregon, just south of Salem. Frenchy calls it "Psychotronic", and I guess that's as good a description as any. Haven't been there in years but I'd like to go again with the right crowd...

We may have to do a Tacoma bar crawl sometime - those places sound like MUST-see watering holes!

My first visit to Bob's was in the late 80's. My friend Sparky told me about it and we hit it one Saturday night. Back then the interior was covered with sticks and driftwood, some of it painted with flourescent paint so it glowed in the numerous black lights in the place. There were flourescent paintings of jungly stuff on walls and pillars. In the back there were two live monkeys in small cages which was one of the saddest sights I've ever personally witnessed. On a happier note was the musical entertainment. There was a large fellow playing standards on an organ. About three feet behind him was a piano and occasionally he'd swivel around on his stool and switch to piano. As he played he rocked back and forth. He was oblivious to anyone attempting to talk to him. Accompying him was a fellow on a full drum kit who seemed to play the same beat for every song, just slowed down or sped up. I believe the keyboardist was the owner's son, the drummer was his best friend since childhood. There was a jukebox that had Frank and Dean and Elvis and so on (Sparky was surprised to discover that "Viva Las Vegas" was originally done by Elvis, not the Dead Kennedys). Overall the atmosphere of the place was very much like a surrealistic greasy spoon that had been overgrown by a forest from outer space. Very weird and very cool. My last visit was this past summer. The place seems to have lost some of it's driftwood and thank God the monkeys are gone. I went in the daytime and the place is completely filthy. There were some scraps of Tiki here and there, noting memorable. The palce is a genuine dive. If you go, do it at night, though I have no idea what the atmosphere is like these days. It's not as hard to find as it seems.

Never Never Land is (was) in Point Defiance Park. It's been closed everytime I've been by, and it looks as if it's always closed. A few years back someone seriously vandalized the fairy tale characters and it may have closed then.

I just had a look at that Weakly article...

First off, it should be known that the Weekly is, in my opinionated opinion, a piece of crap. Its target audience seems to be well settled in middle class 37-52 year olds who put "Question Authority" bumper stickers on their Ford Explorers. The whole rag has a sort of desperate "We're still cool, right?" tone to it. Case in point is this bar article which should have been titled "Let's go somewhere funky, it's fun!" Anyway, to the bars I know of...The Roanoke probably is charming to the Mercer Island set. I've never been in it but when I went by the parking lot was packed with BMW's, Volvos, Saabs, Mercedes, etc. Which in itself isn't proof that wondefullness isn't happening inside...The Drift on Inn is a mini non-tribal casino. It used to be a small roadhouse, now you can't see where the original structure was...The New Luck Toy, in West Seattle, is actually one of Seattle's few Chinese restaurants that hasn't been messed with. And it has the coolest name. The interior is original, lots of bamboo. The bar is completely forgettable and busy with fully loaded regulars at 3 in the afternoon, each smoking two cigarettes at once. Bring your own oxygen. Working class white folk love the food. The New Luck Toy may be the one Seattle location worth going out of your way for as it's located half a block from Seattle's coolest record store, Easy Street. There's also an antique mall nearby, two small thrift shops, and of course several hundred coffee joints.


*On 2003-04-15 00:13, woofmutt wrote:*Weekly is, in my opinionated opinion, a piece of crap. Its target audience seems to be well settled in middle class 37-52 year olds who put "Question Authority" bumper stickers on their Ford Explorers. The whole rag has a sort of desperate "We're still cool, right?" tone to it. Case in point is this bar article which should have been titled "Let's go somewhere funky, it's fun!"

Thanks for the inside info on those places. I consider myself in good company with folks like you who are opinionated and cringe when the media calls old bars or restaurants "funky","kitchy","campy", etc. Having never lived in the Seattle area, all I have to rely on is internet sources, guide books, and the occasional insider tip on Tiki Central.

Often it backfires when an old place gets "discovered" by the masses for its kitch value, as the crowds drive the old regulars away. Then when the trendoids move on to the new "in" spot, last year's "fun and funky" dive can't get people to come anymore, so they try to attract customers by remodeling, or they just close for good.

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