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My husband is in Tampa, Fl on business and he just called to tell me he just drove by a gogo bar called the Tonga Room or the Tonga Hut, one or the other. He said it was totally tiki, like a 50's era tiki lounge gone to seed and now featuring exotic dancing. He didnt go inside but he said nearly drove off of the road when he saw it. Can anyone confirm or deny this place?

T

Where, specifically? I'm in Dunedin, across Tampa Bay from Tampa proper ...

There's the Tanga Lounge, a fairly skanky strip club on the Courtney Campbell Causeway that has a vaguely tiki-esque sign but that's it.

He's on business.
By himself.
Sees "Tonga Room" or "Tonga Hut".
Is like a 50's era tiki lounge, but now has exotic dancing?

For gosh sakes woman, would you let him check out the decor or at least find out if they can possibly make a proper Mai Tai? There's a 99.9% chance that no one will be allowed in with a camera, so this is where a first hand investigation is needed! :o

T

On 2003-05-06 13:32, TikiGoddess wrote:
He didnt go inside but he said nearly drove off of the road when he saw it

TikiGoddess,

Now girl, sit down right here cause I need to have a talk with you.

Do you remember what your husband (and every husband) said last time you asked "does this dress look good on me?", and like a dutiful husband he replied "oh yes dear, you look beautiful".

Well, the same kinda thing happens when a husband/boyfriend talks about a strip bar. "Oh, yeah, babe, ah... I didn't go in, I just drove by".

Now going into a strip bar isn't a bad thing (actually I find them rather gynecologically clinical and not arousing at all). Men enjoy going in, much like they enjoy hunting, surfing, motocross, or anything where one man can boast "ah, she's alright, but I've had better" or whatever.

I'm sure Mr. TikiGoddess is a fine fellow, but just keep in mind this tid (tit) bit of information.

Now we return to our regular programming...

[ Edited by: Tiki_Bong on 2003-05-06 17:05 ]

I will get the exact location of the tiki gogo bar from my husband. I will post it as soon as I find out.
He could not go into the bar to investigate either tikis or exotic dancers because he was in a car full of people from his business meeting. I cant believe I'm actually bummed that my husband did not get to go to a strip club!

B

I used to live in Tampa and have seen the place. If I remember correctly, it was called the "Tanga Lounge" but I could be wrong. It has been there for years, or at least since the mid 1980s. It had a cool A-frame facade, but I don't remember much else that was very tiki. I guess it could have been a former tiki bar, but I haven't seen any evidence of one in that location. There was the Hawaiian Village on Dale Mabry Blvd. (not that far away).

If memory serves, the Tanga Lounge was right next to the entrance to the Causway. I remember that it was owned by a guy, I think his name was Joe Espisito and he owned the nearby Mons Venus and the Oddesy 2000 (which had a very cool space-ship looking room on the roof). he was a real rabble-rouser back in the day and was always fighting efforts to restrict or close his strip bars.

Now, you may wonder why I know about all these strip clubs. Well...I have to admit to one night of weirdness when a friend of mine and I went looking for another friend who had fallen in love with a dancer who worked at these places. Since these strip joints were owned by the same guy, the dancers would rotate shifts at different clubs. Therfore, we had to go from one bar to the next looking for our friend (he would usually wait at the club 'till she finished her shift, then he would buy her breakfast at Dennys...I know, creepy).
Our evening began with a stripper asking my friend if he could take her home after work (and feeling him up!) and ended with his car overheating and melting the engine leaving us stranded on the freeway at 4:30 in the morning. A memorable night to be sure.

As far as tiki exploration goes, I'd say enter at your own risk.

[ Edited by: boutiki on 2003-05-07 08:25 ]

B

Quick Google search found this:

(make sure there are no kids in the room)
http://www.geocities.com/tanga_lounge/

(Don't say I didn't warn you...)
http://www.stripclublist.com/c.asp?c=7446

(Is that a Tiki on the sign?!)
http://www.sptimes.com/2002/06/11/TampaBay/Roadwork_to_topple_th.shtml

For the record:
6333 W. Columbus Dr.
Courtney Campbell Causway
Tampa, FL 33607
Telephone: (813)886-0468

And it was Joe Redner not Espisito (don't know where I came up with that)

Anyone have any postcards or matchbooks or anything from an old Tiki place at this address? I would think it had to have been at one point.

[ Edited by: boutiki on 2003-05-06 17:47 ]

Sorry tweedtone. I did not see your post as I skimmed down. You were on the money and called it first. If the place is going to be torn down, maybe you'd want to document it before it's gone for good.

[ Edited by: boutiki on 2003-05-06 17:48 ]

I checked out the link and the funny thing is, all the pictures after the first two are from a clothing catalog for a company called Leg Avenue. I manage a fetish store where I see that catalog every day. I can tell you now, none of the girls at the club look like that.

Yah, I liked that first picture...with the sexy squished fake breast action and the gorgeous gym locker backdrop. That's class!

T

Pretty funny that the things here in my hometown that I've seen discussed here on Tiki Central are (A) the long-gone Tiki Gardens and (B) the soon-to-be-gone Tanga Lounge. Sigh Some day there'll be fresh, new tiki here and I will shout it out from the highest mountaintop, er, sandbar ...

Joe Redner is quite the local character, contantly locking horns with the uptight City Council types. Tampa, which is known around the country as a mecca for strip club, um, enthusiasts, now has a city ordinance requiring dancers to remain six feet from customers. Kinda like requiring a watchmaker to wear boxing gloves. Now, I've only been in a strip club once (and that was to play a gig, an employees' Xmas party - no, really) but if that's how someone wants to spend their time and money, that's their own damn business. But that's just me, one of those life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness wackos.

WARNING - EEEWWWW FACTOR 10

One Sunday morning, a friend was driving past Mons Venus, Joe's flagship club and workers had the booths outside in the front parking lot. And they were hosing them down and scrubbing them with deck brushes.

EEEWWWW!


tweedtone
http://www.vodkanauts.com
http://www.barelypink.com

[ Edited by: tweedtone on 2003-05-07 08:02 ]

[ Edited by: tweedtone on 2003-05-07 08:03 ]

Well, my husband is now back from Tampa and upon further questioning he said it must have been the Tanga Lounge and not Tonga Room as he had thought. So this alleged tiki sighting was a false alarm. I guess tikis and exotic dancers would be too good to be true for some.
I have enjoyed reading all these anecdotes about the Tanga. Thank the tiki gods that they clean those booths at all!

There IS at least one tiki-themed strip club in Florida; "Traders South" in Gainesville. The entrance is adorned with old (circa 1970) tikis carved from telephone poles and the the lighted sign features a colorful tiki mask. Despite living in Gainesville for four years, I never did pay a visit so I can't vouch for the interior.

[email protected]
http://www.tikigardens.com

F

In AZ there is the "Seven Seas" an old polynesian joint turned "self service" private dance club.

It is indeed called the Tonga Lounge, although I've never actually seen the place.

I've heard the Redner distance ordinance thing is on and off..

There is also a very bad strip club in cocoa florida called the Inner Room II that has a horrible- Mai-Tiki type polynesian style decor

Well, I went in. I didn't pay a cover charge to stay, so they didn't really appreciate me stumbling my way around this dark, dank place, looking for "strange carvings and paintings." I asked the manager if he knew anything of the history of place and I could tell that even with listening to my questions, I was taking up too much of this time. Anyway, nothing of interest to report. Seriously. As TweedTone said above, "eeww".

Hey Tweedtone, I think I saw in one of your posts that you used to be in the Pink Lincolns? I used to go to your shows! Small world.

I used to know a girl that worked at the Tanga. Nice building, but no, not very Tiki on the inside.

I met Joe Redner at a Libertarian Party fundraiser. He does so much for the community. }:)

On 2003-05-10 21:23, Kilikopela wrote:
Hey Tweedtone, I think I saw in one of your posts that you used to be in the Pink Lincolns? I used to go to your shows! Small world.

No, I didn't play with the Pink Lincolns though I do some of those guys in passing. I do play in Barely Pink, a power pop rock 'n' roll band based in Tampa Bay, with a new album out on June 24th on Not Lame Recordings (shameless self promotion). :)

Tweedtone, did you ever see the information that I posted about the Liar's Club in Tampa?

On 2003-05-15 14:17, KahunaMilu wrote:

Tweedtone, did you ever see the information that I posted about the Liar's Club in Tampa?

No, I missed that but I'll search for it. I played there once a couple of months ago with my power pop band for a benefit show. Great decor and cool serving staff.

Thanks for reminding me - I wanna book my surf/lounge band there. :)

Yeah, I talked to the manager about that specifically and posted his contact info for you. Of course, that was quite a while ago now and he may not remember (there was alcohol involved), but if you have already worked with them then it is all good, as the kids say.

I also know another guy that is booking shows for the Hoodoo Room in Ybor. I will mention you to him, also.

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