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Tahitian Hut, San Francisco, CA (bar)

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Name:Tahitian Hut
Street:99 Broadway
City:San Francisco
Phone:DOuglas 9981

Reported location where Solomon K. Bright wrote the famous song "Hawaiian Cowboy":

Source: Copyright 1936 - Solomon (Kolomone) Kamaluhia Kekipi Ke Aliikaapuni Ku Keala Oka Mahanahana Bright's father was Andrew Iaukea Bright, half Hawaiian and half Castilian. His mother, Alice Keahi Kekipi was pure Hawaiian. Sol K. Bright, Sr. on tour with a 5-piece band and 2 hula dancers in 1933, composed this song at the Tahitian Hut in San Francisco. Playing to a packed house, he was asked during intermission about cowboys in Hawaii. He told them about the 1908 rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where his cousin, Ikua Purdy of the Big Island, accompanied by 3 other cowboys from Hawaii, won the grand prize. This event is recorded in the song "Waiomina". After intermission, on his way to the stage, he noticed the guitar player with a woman who put a $20.00 bill on the table every time the musician would yodel. He told the guitarist, "You take 16 bars and let me have 16 bars". Bright started yodeling his 16 bars and composed this song on the spot.

There was also another Tahitian Hut at 801 Geary Street in San Francisco... they may be related somehow.

-Trad'r Bill

[ Edited by: Trad'r Bill 2010-07-29 19:38 ]

"People dancing inside the Tahitian Hut nightclub"
Date 1942 Aug. 25. - San Francisco News-Call Bulletin

Mailer from Mimi's site:

[ Edited by: Trad'r Bill 2010-07-29 20:07 ]

Wow... I'm already finding tons of stuff on this place. This gem seems to link the Broadway and Geary locations (notice Paul Goupil listed on the Broadway location mailer posted above, but this quote references the Geary location):

From here
"My name is Paulette Goupil. I am the daughter of the famous Tahitian Musician/Dancer. His band was known in the 50's as Paul Goupil and his Tahitians. As the wording suggests he specialized in Polynesian Music. He wrote music also, but didn't know how to read music. He was born in Papeete, Tahiti in October of 192something. He put his first band together at 17 and they all left Tahiti and came to America. I have also named my first born son Paul. I have ancestry in Tahiti that I have not seen in about 40 years. In San Francisco my father played at the Tahitian Hut on Geary, the Fairmont Hotel for I don't know how long but I do remember his band going out on that floating stage when they played. Anyway does anybody have any information for me?"

[ Edited by: Trad'r Bill 2010-07-29 18:19 ]

...and here's a great video of Sol K. Bright performing Hawaiian Cowboy in 1986

Great thread you started here Trad'r Bill. Here is a old 1941 theater program add from the Tahitian Hut.

Here is another picture of Solomon K Bright.

[ Edited by: abstractiki 2010-07-29 21:22 ]

Cool stuff, Trad'r Bill and Abstract. I found this image of a matchbook from the other Tahitian Hut in SF on Geary.


Wow guys, this is deep Pre-Tiki Polynesian pop research, very cool. Really ties in the early 20th century Hawaiian music craze to the early bamboo palaces, which were NOT exclusive to Southern California, apparently.

Thanks for the additions Abstract and DC-

I haven't found info that can definitely link the two locations quite yet, but it seems very likely that they are connected. I doubt the owner of one Tahitian Hut would put up with some other joint using the same exact name, in the same city... btw, who were the owners of these locations?

This matchbook shows "Lillian Goupil" and "Paul Goupil" prominently displayed... are they the owners? As we established earlier, Paul Goupil was the band leader of the house band. Was this very young Tahitian musician (and his wife?) the owners of this bar in big-city San Francisco? It doesn't seem to quite add up...

...but the matchbook DC posted earlier and this glass show "Leo, Rod and Roy" - are these guys the new owners at 801 Geary?

Here's a kinda funny article which shows the 801 Geary location was established by March 17, 1955:

...and here are some (very recent looking) photos of the Geary spot which I found online. How long did this location survive?

and finally here is the current street view in all of it's dilapidated glory:

...so much more to find out about this place

-Trad'r Bill

[ Edited by: Trad'r Bill 2010-07-29 23:21 ]

The Tahitian Hut on Geary & Hyde was one of the best spots to perform in the 1950s and 60s. My mother's group, Lokelani and Her Islanders, performed 4 nights a week (Thursday through Sundays), 3 shows a night. "Lokelani's Islanders" was the first commercially successful Polynesian dance and music group within the state of California (1962), and it was through the efforts of Kumu Lokelani that the Hawai'ian culture flourished on the West Coast. Lokelani performed for many years on the Hawai'i Calls - "Under the Banyan Tree" as well as with Aunty Genoa Keawe, Arthur Godrey, Don Ho, Bob Hope, her kumu Lena Machado and an array of world renowned Hawai'ian entertainers. Today Lokelani still performs at private functions and venues.

Leonard Lua, Lokelani, Manulani and George Sepulveda on a Saturday night at the Tahitian Hut - 1966.

Lokelani and Her Islanders - 1968

Lokelani "Live at The Tahitian Hut" - 1965

Current view of detail of Tahitian motif on outside of Tahitian Hut walls.

[ Edited by: Manulani 2010-09-27 22:48 ]

[ Edited by: Manulani 2010-09-27 22:50 ]

[ Edited by: Manulani 2010-09-27 23:00 ]

[ Edited by: Manulani 2010-09-27 23:06 ]

Aloha Manulani, welcome to TC and thank you for your personal contribution to this Thread. Your pictures are an awesome addition and really help in the the Tahitian Hut's historical documentation.

That's why I love Tiki Central so much! Right after Trad'r Bill's quote:

On 2010-07-29 23:07, Trad'r Bill wrote:
...so much more to find out about this place
-Trad'r Bill

....we get the privilege of hearing from a relative of a Tahitian Hut performer! Only on TC.

And indeed, that photo looks fairly recent!:

With all the neon signage intact, amazing! Love that little hut under the palm tree. Such a Pre-Tiki icon!
How come that we had never heard about this place before then, it's not like Frisco has been devoid of Polynesian Pop-aware citizens?