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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Tahonga, , Stockholm (bar)

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Zeta posted on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 2:38 PM



Zeta posted on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 2:41 PM

Translation needed

Zeta posted on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 12:06 AM

I thought this major archeological discovery was going to make the Euro Tiki community go loco but aparently no one cared or nobody understand the tonge from Sweden. Oh boy... it feels so lonely here sometimes... :roll:

Don't fret, Zeta, even on the American continent there's only a small group of people who make an effort to reply, so one cannot expect too much more from Europe, or the even tiny-er Tiki contingent in Scandinavia. We are grateful for the participation we get, (and every now and then there are some outstanding new discoveries!) and steadfastly must carry on our quixotical quest unfettered by the lack of response or acknowledgment.
And you have been doing that very well, sir!

OK, hi again. Well I am Swedish and I am amazed!! Some intitial googling reveals this: There were two Tahonga places. One in Stockholm, one in Malmö. They had live piano-music and drinks as main attractions. Ex-cuban, ex-Tropicana band leader and pianist Bebo Valdez who lives in sweden have played at the Stockhom place (that's classy!). The matchbox says: the first and only polynesian bar in Stockholm. It was started by the french owner Charles de Marie who took over the hotel in 1973. Could this be the place? http://www.scandichotels.com/Hotels/Countries/Sweden/Stockholm/Hotels/Scandic-Continental-Stockholm/?hotelpage=facilities&facilityid=3793

I'll be back!

Zeta posted on Wed, Jan 13, 2010 2:48 PM

Aloha Fritiof Andersson!!! Welcome! Tiki needs you! Gracias for caring! thanks for the info! so cool! Can't wait for more!
Picture from the link you posted above:

We need a picture of it from it's hey day pre T.V. days.
Rasta la vista!

The bar in the picture match the adress. It is very likely the place. The other Tahonga, in Malmö, was open 1980-2005. It was located on the second floor in Scandic Hotel St Jörgen, Stora Nygatan 35 and Södergatan 20 , Malmö. Browsing through various swedish sites the bar is described as excotic, with palm trees, showy bartending, and as a classic end station in Malmö nightlife since it was open to 4 in the morning. Actually I lived in Malmö during some of this time, and I heard some vague talk about a tropical place that I tried to follow up, but never got any clear info... Ironic.

[ Edited by: Fritiof Andersson 2010-01-14 14:19 ]

I am desperately looking for pictures... but find some other stuff instead in this aticle (in swedish) http://sydsvenskan.se/kultur-och-nojen/dygnetrunt/article99704/Tahonga---The-story.html . The bartender, Donna Jeremias, worked at Tahonga first in Stockholm and then in Malmö, she is described as legendary, and specialized in tropical drinks. Various famous people who was there is mentioned and several songs(!) where the place is mentioned... I can't believe I missed this...

Zeta posted on Thu, Jan 14, 2010 4:58 PM

On 2010-01-14 13:58, Fritiof Andersson wrote:
I am desperately looking for pictures... but find some other stuff instead in this aticle (in swedish) http://sydsvenskan.se/kultur-och-nojen/dygnetrunt/article99704/Tahonga---The-story.html . The bartender, Donna Jeremias, worked at Tahonga first in Stockholm and then in Malmö, she is described as legendary, and specialized in tropical drinks. Various famous people who was there is mentioned and several songs(!) where the place is mentioned... I can't believe I missed this...

JA JA JA "I can't belive I missed this..." I hear you... everyone here has a story like that... *sigh
So far you are doing great with your investigation. It is so weird that I found that matchbook in a flea market in Mexico... Tiki Central is awesome!

I looked for Tahonga on wikipedia and this is what I found:

Kings of Easter Island
Lists of the monarchs of Easter island : 43 Ko Te Kura Tahonga.

So, that Tahonga guy was the # 43 King of Easter Island... And that HAS to be one of the most exotic, misterious and cool names for a Tiki bar.
I wonder what Tahonga means literally...
Anyone speaks Rongorongo around here?

Very cool, didn't know that the current ugly Scandic Hotel used to have a tiki bar. The restaurant Niki - which opened approximately at the same time - is still there...


A tahonga is also the name of a Rapa Nui pendant, with 2 heads, worn by chiefs.

Nice find Zeta.

I had a hour+ conversation with Donna J today over the phone. The two Tahongas have been her babies and made up most of her career as a bartender. We talked about drinks, about tikis (they had several supposedly authentic from polynesia), clothes they wore, prominent guests, musicians (Bebo Valdes check), good times, trix of the trade, glasses, travel in the west indies in the 70s, swedish alcohol laws (there were only Bacardi and Negrita on the Swedish alcohol monopoly in the mid 70s). She is a local legend in Malmö and was really friendly and fun to talk to. We also discussed how to get pictures from the 70s and 80s that can give the oh so important substrate for armchair travelling in space and time. I'll come back with much more on this, but now, getting pictures is the main focus! T

Wow, cool - great initiative! Looking forward to the photos.

GROG posted on Tue, May 25, 2010 7:32 PM

Yes, GROG looking forward to photos, also.

When it comes to Tahonga in Sthlm, I really don't have much leads when it comes to pictures... Newspaper-archives? Postcard-collectors? Books or magazines from the time? Some archive for the hotel Continental? The owner at the time (Charles de Marie)? I'll buy an Appleton VX for one producing the first picture that show the interior of Tahonga in Sthlm! The hunt is on!

Zeta posted on Fri, May 28, 2010 11:53 PM

Cool! There is no "scientific method" to apply in the tiki research - Urban Archeologist labor. Everything you mention above have worked for me one way or another... Trust your instinct. Many times tiki finds you when you least expect it. Talk to (older) people. Frequent flea markets, antique shops, antique fairs etc...
I realized that soft porn "gentlemen" playboy type magazines are a good source of information about the hot spots of the past... (plus good reading!)
The bottle of Rum is a great idea. An stimuli for the thirsty corsairs. I heard Swedish people are good explores... will see about that. :wink:
I can't believe we still haven't seen a picture from this place... Such a mystery! Seriously! Is it possible that there is no physical evidence left other than my humble matchbook?!?!
Who will be the first intrepid voyager to reveal the interiors of this strange Nordic temple?!?!

Today, the Scandic Hotels are owned by EQT (www.eqt.se) and the property is owned by Folksam (www.folksam.se) - I would be surprised though, if they are in possession of any Tahonga memorabilia...

I would say that tracking down Charles de Marie is the obvious way to go. He was also the president of Grand Hôtel in Stockholm between 1988-1992.

Didn't Donna Jeremias have any photos or other collectibles?


[ Edited by: Trader Magnus 2010-05-29 00:53 ]

Here's a more recent photo of Donna (left) from Tahonga in Malmö.. at least they're wearing Hawaii shirts!

I like your "advice for young people from the gentleman smoking a pipe in his chair"-comments Zeta. You were MAD-editor right? I grew up on MAD. Do you remember "How to be a MAD-nonconformist"? That is my cultural manifesto. My brother tease me when tiki-culture is seeping into the mainstream in Sweden (like an occasional mention in food magazines and such). I have some more pictures from Tahonga in Malmö but they are not very interesting. Tahonga Malmö before they redecorated in the early 90s, and Sthlm are still completely white spots as far as pictures go. Donna has some, and she also has some of the tikis and a real Tahonga pendant from Rapa Nui. I will probably be able to visit her and scan some stuff within the next six months, but hey, who likes to wait? It's good to have some support from Sweden has well. Hi both of you, we should go to tiki-room some time during June! Of course my little bottle-prize is meant as a little challenge to you (and possible silent lurkers): Who can find this? I'll toss you some more leads: Charles, the owner, was the one coming up with the whole idea, he's in the phone book. The building or company that presently owns it might keep some archive.

Zeta posted on Mon, Jun 7, 2010 9:48 AM

Aloha Fritiof Andersson! I grew up on MAD and Trasher magazine... MAD non-conformist... a classic! George Woodrige is the artist I think I remember... Yes, I was the editor for the Mexican edition... sigh being part of the usual gang of idiots was a dream come true for me... as doing the cover art for a NOFX 7" 8) but let's go back to Tiki in Sweden!

I suggest you create a thread for the Tahonga in Malmo and post whatever you have about it there. The pendant, the building today, whatever... it's all good. Maybe some pictures of Swedish hula girls?! :wink: It is important for the serious urban archeologist to keep his investigations in order.
Next time I'm in Sweden the drinks are on me!
Keep up the good work and that goes for Trader Magnus too!

Some time ago I got some pictures from Tahonga, Stockholm, with the gracious help from the current staff of hotel Continental. A menu and an actual picture: So cool and yet so wrong! Talk about "Demise of Tiki", this is Tiki in Stockholm 1983 a few years before they closed/changed the theme. The bartender Donna had already left for Tahonga, Malmö. There are no exotic drinks on the menu (maybe they were added in the blank space in the middle?), and the view of the fasade is plain sad.

If I can make it, I'll meet Donna in Malmö and see what material she has. The story about Tahonga (and Donna) is great I think, the only thing missing is pictures that can be used for armchair travelling!

For now this is all, but fear not, we will be back!

[ Edited by: Fritiof Andersson 2010-10-12 13:41 ]

Zeta posted on Wed, Oct 13, 2010 10:15 AM

I love it! Fritiof Andersson, mucho mahalo! Another puzzle piece gets in it's place. Tiki would be proud of you. Now just find the tiki!


I'm so happy you found the menu and those pictures.
As a fellow swede living in Stockholm it warms my heart to see someone preserve it.

Mahalo & tack! :)

Great research, fingers crossed that Donna will have more and better stuff - preferrably from the 60s and 70s.

Thanks everybody!
Since I have you're attention I will mention some other clues and leads regarding Swedish bar-related exotica. Four, eight... eh many eyes see more than two!

The find that made me aware of any pre-revival Tiki history, and lead me to Zeta's matchbox (can be seen here
http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterkthepiper/4266385635/in/photostream/ ) establishes that tiki drinks of some sort were served at Flygrestaurangen in Bromma airport. But when? Swizzle sticks are difficult to get the age from. Clues are the typeface on the restaurant logo, the spelling (in some older postcards the spell it restaurant rather than more contemporary swedish restaurang). There where at least one drink contest held there in early 70s, which could indicate a high profile on drinks. This place was famous, and talking to the right person we might find out exactly how exotic they were at different times. A very unappealing possibility is that this piece of plastic could come from the 80s or even (brrr) 90s.

Now for something completely different:
The Swedish American Line was an extremely posh cruise-line with swedish ownership but mostly american customers. ..ops have too go. I'll be back soon

The Swedish American Line travelled Gothenburg-NY and off-season made cruises to Caribbean Islands, South America and even the Pacific Ocean. This was luxury ships, specially before WW2, and of course they had a well equipped cocktail bar on board. These cruises when't on into the 70's. The earliest cruisers were Art Deco floating temples, while the later more modernist styles is bound to excite most tikiphiles. Wood-carvings with tropical themes (including the moneky with fez icon), a deck with rattan furniture etc. But is it tiki? Probably not, but so close and with so much related goodies that it is well worth researching. There are books, websites etc about these boats, mostly run by people interested in luxury cruise ships. One of the barmen, Knut W Sundin has written several books with drink recipes, one published as early as 1920s. I just bought his bok from 1934 "Two hundred selected drinks". It is not a tropical drink fiesta but a solid work with some personal touches and original recipes. It ends with a list of comments on good years for vintage wine, vintage meaning from 1870 to late twenties. This list definately enhance the feeling of peeping into first class passenger drinking secrets. But is it tiki? Not yet no. But it's a spot to look for swedish bar-related exotica, a rare beast I'm afraid.

Knut "Knutte" W Sundin is an interesting character, I have his book "Drinkar för fest och vardag" from 1947 - some nice recipes in there!

When I'm browsing "two hundred selected drinks" I think there is some interesting things going on, mixing rums (even if it's Jamaican and Bacardi), several types of syrups, and though most are really simple, a few are of the crazy type we know from the world of tiki with >5 ingredients inlcuding some you never heard of... It's some tropical mixology history for us Swedes. Come to think of it, I should mention these days, that my interest in local exotika-history is completely unpatriotic. What REALLY excites me is old American tiki places (like Hanalei hotel and Bali Hai), Spanish mugs, and Beachbum Berry's stories about drinks.

I met Donna two days ago. There is a lot to say but most important is getting drink menus, they include zombie, Mai Tai and many other tiki drinks, also I got som terrible photos of a 1m tall, well endowed tiki from Tahonga in Stockholm. Finally Donna says Charles de Marie had a place called Tahonga in Paris before Stockholm. That is before 72-73. A new hope for pre-revival tiki in France?!?!

Here are scans of the drink menu from Tahonga in Stockholm. I got it from Donna so further inquires about mixing detailes might be possible...

Observe the folding effect...

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