Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Ren Clark's Polynesian Village, Ft. Worth, TX (restaurant)

Pages: 1 2 64 replies


Name:Ren Clark's Polynesian Village
Street:6451 Camp Bowie Boulevard
City:Ft. Worth

Ren Clark's Polynesian Village was located in the Western Hills Hotel in Ft. Worth, TX.


I found these over the weekend & was surprised to see that there was no thread started yet in "Locating Tiki" for this place. So here's a start:

I don't have any images of the location itself - post 'em here if you do!

Edited to add that these are a set of Salt & Pepper shakers - not mugs :D
I'll keep lookin' for a mug like 'em in the wild, though....a tough find!

[ Edited by: croe67 2009-12-29 15:20 ]

You lucky dawg! Nice mugs to find in the wild. There is a running thread on the Polynesian Village elsewhere - just search Ren Clark for this past summer where another lucky dawg got Clark's home tiki bar...


Wow! Fantastic find. Great mug image of the logo Tiki. Thanks for posting those.

I have a printed cloth napkin from Ren Clark's PV.

A recent eBay find after waiting for over a year to spot another...love the border design, apparently adapted (or the other way around) from some of the graphic designs for the Polynesian Village's advertisements, etc.

I recently discovered these images of the Menu in a Nestle chocolate company library archive.

Wholly Sh*@*!

Great stuff Abstract, have never seen these images before. Where the heck did you say they are from? A Nestle website?

Really awesome find. Keniki is going to be interested in these.


Thanks DC, this archive is in the Nestle' Library at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration.

I have have found the holy grail of old restaurant menu treasure. There are 9,704 actual menus. They have been archiving Menus from restaurants for years.

The bad news is that only a hand full are available on-line. The real menus are all there waiting for a diligent dedicated urban archaeologist to photograph and document. It would make a great expedition for one of us. We have the map now who's up for this quest I wonder?

On 2011-02-10 20:14, abstractiki wrote:
I have have found the holy grail of old restaurant menu treasure.

Very nice work Abstractiki but no so fast on the Grail claim. I'd say the Ren Clark's Polynesian Village Drink Menu would be the Holy Grail of menus. Once we know what was in the Severed Head mug then we can rest... a little .

Thanks BB, I'm actually not that familiar with this tiki temple. I meant to say the menu collection was the grail of all menu collections. I can't imagine a bigger one. But now I must find this drink menu and recipe you speak of.


For more info on the Polynesian Village, consult this thread.


I did a quick check of the menu inventory in the Nestle collection at Cornell and there are lots of Tiki places on file there. Great that the Polynesian Village was one of the menus on the image list, again great find. I used to have some friends who went to school there, but they are on the west coast now. Need to find some up-state explorers to check it out. Wonder what it takes to access the archives?


One more post for tonight. Found a photo on-line reporting to be Ren Clark and one of his Tikis in the construction stage of the Polynesian Village restaurant.


Great find, Abstract! This menu must be so hard to come by because of the short life span of this amazing place.
Design-wise, it's kinda all over the place. Wonder if Ren did it this way, he has the copyright.

it is hard to say if this is the same man as above, where he is smiling so much, and here it's all frowns:

But it could be, with the hat covering the bald forehead. I got this from Milan Guanko's scrap book.

Yes, a cocktail menu with the headhunter mug would be the bomb...
-and, as I always have wished, a photo of a stylish 60s babe sipping from it.

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2011-02-11 01:10 ]


That cocktail menu was on Ebay about a year ago. Did it not get posted here?

On 2011-02-11 09:26, Swanky wrote:
That cocktail menu was on Ebay about a year ago. Did it not get posted here?

I checked my image files gleaned from the web and the only thing I could find was this shot of the menu cover. Do you remember what the inside looked like?



Yes. THere were actually 2 or 3 mugs/bowls in it I had never seen before.

Aaaah, luckily someone (in this case my old friend and Marquesas travel companion Martin McIntosh) clipped the pics from the auction:

A menu cut out in the shape of the establishment's logo Tiki is very special already, but this one is definitely in the top ten, if not THE most desirable piece of Tiki culture paper ephemera!

Great concepts and illustrations. Some of the vessels, like the Tiki Bowl, might never have been realized. Another curious fact is that the unique Headhunter mug is not depicted. It might be that it was not made yet, or that it was too gory of an image to be on a menu. Seeing this illustration in place of it...

...makes me amend my theory that the idea for this seminal mug was solely inspired by Ren Clark's guillotine act he performed in his magic show. The rendering here seems to be taken from the wooden Igorot statues that were used as decor in some Tiki temples, like this one:

...or the one that stood at The Islands San Diego, depicted on page 16 of Tiki Modern. I have a smaller version I bought from Basement Kahuna at home (lower left corner):

These were not that uncommon and it is quite possible a version was owned by Ren Clark. Man I wish there would be a chance to hear the true story of the conception - and the reception - of that mug.

Here the other details clipped from the auction....not necessarily showing the highlights of the menu:

Now WHO got that menu? Biffcoz would a good home considering he owns such important Ren Clark artifacts already.

Nice job Bigbro, and a big thanks to your friend Martin. Finally get to see the inside of the Polynesian Village drink menu. How about a close up on those two bowls, they look unique.

Ren Clark had a bit of a dark sense to his place, with the Cannibal Room for the lounge and drinks like the Widowmaker, Cannibal Bowl and Headhunter.



Thanks Bigbro and like DC said please thank Martin for us. That Cannibal Bowl looks amazing!

Unfortunately, I don't own the original cocktail menu and there is not one in a public collection, as with the food menu. I have high res-scans of the Cornell food menu, which I knew about the other year when I found the reference online, but out of deference to the archives, did not want to post the images without permission. And, there is another reason we have been "holding out."

Full disclosure here -- Kenike and I have been amassing a great deal of information and images relative to the Dallas and Ft. Worth tiki bars, now gone, including Ren Clark's, which has been the focus of my own research. You can read about it here (before we knew of the cocktail menu!):


As to that picture of the fellow sitting next to one of the signature tikis, I don't think that one is Clark, though I did not find it with the other publicity pictures I have seen. That said, we do have access to a great deal of information and images which we want to publish in a modest (probably electronic format) publication chronicling the history of these places -- Dallas locations of Trader Vic's, Ports O'Call, Don the Beachcomber, Dobbs House, the Hawaiian Century Room at the Adolphus, the Bamboo Room at the Tower Courts -- and in Ft. Worth, Ren Clark's Polynesian Village.

So, ohana, we are asking for your help, not for profit-making (which one can imagine there is little to be made in such a focus publication), but for disseminating information, stories, and images about these sites in a way which goes beyond the entires here in Tiki Central. The reason we are not just dumping it all here is one of design and structure -- to be able to write, graphically orchestrate, and otherwise assemble a publication which will be (hopefully) of use to not only the tiki-enlightened, but to those preservation and pop culture minded individuals in Dallas and environs. The other reason is one of cost in acquiring images and permission to publish. Rest assured the final result will be as cheap as possible, hence the idea of an electronic publication; we simply want to recoup our costs in photography, scanning, etc.

How can you help? Let us know of your related items, images, or anything you can share about these sites OR, importantly, the people associated with them -- owners, chefs, bartenders, or just that father or grand-pap with the story about drinking from a severed head mug. (Sorry Bigbro, I've yet to find a woman with a beehive drinking from one, but have found period pictures of ladies and men drinking from the other PV mugs!) Again, let me stress we are interested in information and images -- not treasure hunting. Would we love to know what happened to the various artifacts and rarer ephemera from the sites? Absolutely. Are we looking to buy, beg, or steal them? No!

If you have suggestions, we'd love to hear them, here or via PM. Kenike is an accomplished photographer and I am (immodestly, he says) reasonably accomplished author and researcher, so the combination of our respective talents and interest in tiki culture makes this project a natural fit for us.

We will post more information in the build-up to the completion of the project, but for now, please keep us in mind and know we will certainly do what we can to make this project one which will be exciting AND as accessible as possible.


Grand Kahu

Tied by my Mai Tai...

[ Edited by: Grand Kahu 2011-03-16 16:43 ]

And BigBro, your amended take is correct, save for the ownership of the sculpture, which I cannot confirm. The headhunter mug was NOT a reference to his magic act. His family confirmed that for me.


Grand Kahu,

Looking forward to seeing your finished project, thanks to you and Kenike for doing all of the research.



Kenike and GK, Sounds like a great (and ambitious) project...good luck. P.S. I PM'ed you. OGR

Good Luck, guys. Unfortunately, I have no info, but I am anxiously awaiting your publication.

A postcard from the lobby of the Western Hills Hotel in Fort Worth, TX.

Ren Clark's restaurant may have been tiki-themed but the hotel it was in was Western themed. My guess is that the two men in the identical Western wear in this image are bellhops. From the looks of things, I'd say this image was taken in the early 60s.

The text from the back:

*Spacious and handsomely-styled LOBBY of "The Nicest Hotel Anywhere." Called "Dazzling" by TIME Magazine and "A Revolution in Inn-Keeping" by Columnist Robert Ruark has free swimming. . . free ice cubes. . . free golf. . . and free parking for guests.

6451 Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Texas
"Resort and Country Club luxuries at Hotel Prices."*

I would say it was from the late 1950s from the attire.

On 2011-02-17 19:16, Bora Boris wrote:
Thanks Bigbro and like DC said please thank Martin for us. That Cannibal Bowl looks amazing!

I snagged some images of the menu, here is a close up of the Cannibal Bowl.

Have never seen one surface, wonder if it really existed in that form? And what's with the storage locker? Must have been a liquor law thing.

And a matchbook rendering of the Ren Clark Tiki.



On 2012-04-27 07:00, Dustycajun wrote:
And what's with the storage locker? Must have been a liquor law thing.

My thought exactly!
Anyone know what's up with the locker & why it would be mentioned on the cocktail menu!?!

Found this here: http://law.onecle.com/texas/alcoholic/32.05.00.html

§ 32.05. LOCKER SYSTEM. The locker system of storage is a
system whereby the club rents a locker to a member in which he may
store alcoholic beverages for consumption by himself and his
guests. All alcoholic beverages stored at a club under the locker
system must be purchased and owned by the member individually.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 437, ch. 194, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.



The longer I live in Texas, the odder I learn that it always has been! Especially when it comes to arcane liquor laws!

If you've got a drinking establishment with alcoholic drinks on the menu, wouldn't one think that the place would have/sell liquor on-premise!?! I'm thinking it must have been away to get around laws in the county/state at the time. Basically, "If you want one of our fabulous cocktails, bring along your own booze & we'll whip it up for you."


Thanks for digging that up!

I talked about this pre-1971 quirk in the Texas liquor laws, in a post about some wording in the Dallas 'Ports O' Call' menu (from the 1960s).

[ Edited by: Limbo Lizard 2012-05-01 09:44 ]

Just a quick update - Kenike and I are still working on our DFW tiki project after a bit of a hiatus, so we hope to be able to give a projected completion date sometime soon. In the meantime, I just thought you might enjoy a quick note about the various comments. That lobby postcard pic is a great one - I agree it's probably 1950s before the PV was built. The Western Hills Hotel was most definitely Western themed, right down to their "Branding Room" restaurant, complete with branding irons to mark your steak ("M" for medium, "MR" for medium rare, you get the picture). Right behind the reception desk area in the picture was the original "Key Club" area and "Ming & Jade Room" an Asian-themed bar (likely a Ren Clark choice, given his own interest in Asian culture) which also operated with liquor lockers for drinks. This tiny room, with its exotic theme, was likely a starting point for Clark's Polynesian Village which would open in 1960. The construction of the PV coincided with an expansion of the original hotel to include a vast new wing of rooms and the entire PV complex. The PV had its own separate entry, adjacent to the pool area, which also got a makeover with thatch-covered umbrellas, new torch lighting, and an A-frame entryway. You can make out some of these details in the advertisement was posted previously.

I revisited the site of the Western Hills Hotel the other year as part of my research. While I didn't expect to find much, the sight was pretty depressing -- a defunct grocery store and rental storage units now occupy the location where the Hotel and PV stood. The picture below marks the exact spot, give or take 50 feet, where the PV once stood. Urk.



I found one of our menu holy grails very recently. It's even more striking in person! It's also much larger than I previously thought, measuring about 19" tall. Here are some quick snaps:


I found this interesting bit of image rip-off:

1967 menu from the Hawaiian Room in the Emerson Hotel.

odd1s posted on Sat, Jun 22, 2013 7:30 AM

It's weird to see so many photos of it right-side-up, err, I mean upside down, I never looked at it that way!

Cool background with the sister, though. That whole Ren Clark story is really one of the main things I would love having a time machine for!

I saw this too on eBay and I could not believe it jumped from 9.99 to $1000 in a matter of hours. I see a over zealous first bidder who entered $1000 bid thinking no one will ever go that high. Probably shit his or her pants when it was outbid. WOW!!!!!!!

On 2013-06-25 21:10, forgotten tikiman wrote:
I saw this too on eBay and I could not believe it jumped from 9.99 to $1000 in a matter of hours [....] WOW!!!!!!!

... and the winning bid was $1,500. (That did include free shipping, though. If it was me, I'd want it bubble-wrapped and packed in a box, then bubble-wrap the box and put it inside another box,... repeat twice more.)

"The rum's the thing..."

[ Edited by: Limbo Lizard 2013-07-03 06:43 ]


Pretty cool to see one of these up at auction again.

His listing was kind of vague--I wonder if it was from his personal collection or he just happened across it.

Either way great sale.

Hard times call for drastic measures- I'm putting one of my favorite things up for sale:


If it doesn't sell, that's ok too. I'm kind of freaked out right now...

[ Edited by: bigbadtikidaddy 2013-08-13 20:39 ]

I thought I set my autobidder to bid on this single salt/pepper shaker but alas it did not work

This went for $51.00.

I personally have never seen a set of shakers in real life before so I don't know if the paint job was standard or not.

At least a couple of other sets of salt and pepper shakers have popped up in prior years, including these (posted elsewhere on TC and Ooga-Mooga):

The monochrome ones are possibly later, as they have the name of Polynesian Village molded into the bases rather than stamped ion the underside as the others. I'm not sure what markings these two sets carry.

Interesting about Ren Clark's sister being mentioned in conjunction with the head mug. I tracked her down a few years ago and spoke with her about the Polynesian and her brother. A very nice lady.


Grand Kahu thanks for adding those photos :)

The first set I had seen but the way they were photographed I thought they were mugs.

anyone catch those three tiki bowls (seen in the menu as the mauna loa drink) on ebay ?? first time i ever saw those. someone grabbed them for $271.00 and change.. i think it was kohalacharms, so if you are reading this and want to sell me a bowl, let me know.


An image for the record. Probably was KC. I sent the auction to him when I saw it.
Bowls were unmarked.

Mai-Kai Memories Series Custom ceramic mugs!

[ Edited by: Swanky 2013-09-25 08:53 ]

[ Edited by: Swanky 2013-09-25 08:54 ]

weird thing about that auction, it was up for a few days with a starting bid of about $45.... next thing i know the starting bid is bumped to $100. did someone whisper in the seller's ear ? too bad they didn't list them one at a time over a few month period.... they might have gotten $271 each !! listing it as polynesian village would have helped too. it pays to know the items history. fortunately, not many sellers always know.

[ Edited by: Tipsy McStagger 2013-09-25 09:52 ]

Pages: 1 2 64 replies