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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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If any members are in Louisville or the general Kentucky area you want to get on board and help save this wonderful place.

Most recently a Salvation Army, WITH THE ORIGINAL DECOR STILL INTACT!, the Luau Room has survived as many reincarnations.

We received an email from Nancy Beranek concerning the Luau Room and her one woman mission on saving this treasure. The building was up for lease and was just recently taken up on that from some folks that are planning on turning it into a sports bar. She joined Tiki Central today by the name of Ninenah. I'm sure she will be posting here soon as to how anyone can help.

Hukilau is on board to assist in any way we can!

Here's some pics:





Yee-Haw & Aloha,

The World of Tiki Kiliki

[ Edited by: tiki_kiliki on 2003-05-17 14:49 ]

N

Thanks Tiki Kiliki! That's right, I'm on a mission to see the Luau Room restored to its former glory. It is 9,000 sq ft of Polynesian paradise, as you can see from the photos (you have to look past the thrift store goods.) Whoever owns the building has guarded the treasures through the various incarnations as a Mexican restaurant, thrift store, and its soon to be life as a sports bar.
The people leasing it have been given my name and number. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to tell them about the resurgence of Tiki culture and convince them to take advantage of the extraordinary opportunity which they have been given.
Ideas and suggestions about how to do this are welcome. I'm also looking for other Tikiphiles in the Louisville area, to patronize the place when it opens and voice our desires to the establishment.

Nineveh

Nineveh, Welcome to the tribe. I applaud your efforts in saving this treasure. Unbelievable, I say -- a thrift store where you always find tikis - but can't take them home!

Good Luck with the cause. I wish I were there to lend a helping hand. Let's hope the new Sports Bar coming in is Polynesian themed!

R

Hey--great to see some others on here from the Commonwealth of Kentiki.

I live in Owensboro, so there isn't much I can do to help, but let me know if there's anything I can do from here. I only get to Louisville 2 or 3 times a year. I would definitely make the trek to see it every now and then though.

Also, anything else Tiki in the 'Ville? What is that Polynessian place near the malls? It's located in front of one of the malls and kind of close to the J Alexander's resteraunte?

I feel your pain.

As you can tell by my posting, the same tragedy is occuring here in Los Angeles. The tragedy is all the more apparent because both bars are so thouroughly decorated in the tiki style and have a relatively high tipsy factor.

How can the A-frame front anything but a tiki bar?

Good luck.

S

This is 4 hours from us, and Indy and Columbus, Nashville... Should chance arrise, we could see about taking over the place one night. This is all down the road, but maybe...

Can you imagine walking into that thrift store?! I want more pics! That A-Frame, I want a side shot to see it's majesty!

N

Well, things are starting to roll. There were cars and a pickup truck in the lot yesterday and the doors were open so I went in and made my pitch.

The guy I talked to, Mike, was really nice. He admitted that he doesn't know anything about Tiki but he's interested in learning. I gave him a bunch of articles about the resurgence of Tiki and told him briefly about it's history and the history of that bar. I told him there is a lot of info online and he said he would check it out. Hopefully he'll log in and read this forum.

I told him that I'm trying to form a Louisville Tiki Club that will patronize the place. I ran the idea past him of having Tiki nights where they turn down the lights and play Hawaiian music. He's open to it but just wants to get the place up and running first.

I showed him my copy of Tiki Road Trip and the neo-Tiki bars I'd bookmarked. He wrote down the name. He said he'd been wondering if he might be sitting on a goldmine and I did my best to convince him that yes indeed, he is, and he should work with it rather than against it. I told him that people will come from all over just to hang out in the place, and how my husband and I have made the 300 mile trip five times to hang out in Hala Kahiki.

I told him about all the Hawaiiana merchandise that's been flooding retail stores for the past several years. I told him that the University of Louisville students in the four dormitories less than a half a mile away from the place will think Tiki is really, really cool.

He said that right now his focus is just getting the place open, dealing with inspectors and filing permits. He said he has my number (the realtor gave it to him, as promised) and will call when they get ready to open and he's not so swamped, to talk more about having Tiki Nights, but in the meantime he will read the articles and poke around online and learn more about this thing he's stumbled into.

They were building an extension to the bar in the main room but aren't going to touch the decor (I imagine they aren't allowed to, as a stipulation of the rental agreement.) They had two brand new televisions in boxes sitting by the front door. He mentioned the word "grill."

As always, suggestions, comments, ideas are welcome.

Great work Ninevah!

Keep bugging him! Give us the address and we can start sending him pleas and our own stories.

N

I was hoping you'd say that. I was going to just post it, but then, I wouldn't want to appear pushy. (Who me? "I told him this, and I told him that, and then I told him....") :)

His name is Mike.

2420 S 4TH ST
LOUISVILLE KY 40208-1526

R

Hey... why don't we get some T-shirts made up. We could even give the profits to Mike as a sign of good-will.

R

I hope he names it:

The Luau-Ville, Ken-Tiki Room.

N

On 2003-05-17 18:25, Rorysm wrote:
Also, anything else Tiki in the 'Ville? What is that Polynessian place near the malls? It's located in front of one of the malls and kind of close to the J Alexander's resteraunte?

It's a chain Caribbean restaurant called Bahama Breeze. The decor is nice but the Mai-Tais suck. Their specialty is the "Bahamarita" and it's best to stick with that.
It's a nice place esp. if you sit outside, but it's definitely jerk chicken and steel drum music. Although I did find a nifty pair of Tiki earrings in the gift shop.

Well, first of all, I'm jealous! I would have loved to have gone to Louisville and bid on that place!

But, from Dayton, it's a mere 3 hour drive and we'd be glad to make it frequently (say once, twice a month...and then there is work and I'm stuck in KY often.)

I'm sure I could round up some Columbus folks and make a great night of it, if given the opportunity.

Thanks for the update (and pics!) on this. Please keep us informed.

Hey Kentucky people!! Hope everything works out for the best and they save this place from being a sports bar. Yeah...that's just what the world needs ...another sports bar. How 'bout more sports bars and more reality shows. We need them too. Anyway, looking at the photos, all I can say is...now (I think) I've seen everything. I CAN'T BELIEVE the Salvation Army actually kept the decor!!! That's an f'in riot!! Wonder if they have any decent old albums in there. Good for them! At least somebody's interested in preserving the place. Good luck and I hope this place is saved from sports bar hell!

Wow Nineveh! Cool photos! You're really on the case!! I would be absolutely tickled to join the Louisville Tiki Club! Sports bars are done to death in Louisville. At least Mike seems receptive to the idea of being totally Tiki.

btw - I responded to your e-mail...let me know if you didn't get it for some reason. My computer sometimes does some very strange things.

F

What a treasure! The A-frame, the bamboo ceiling, the thatch, and of course the TIKI! You unearthed something really special over there in Kentucky. I'm so pleased that it has survived this long. Impressive.

N

UPDATEUPDATEUPDATE

Yesterday the new signs went up! A nice neon one in the A-frame's window and a vinyl one on the signboard by the street. I didn't see the neon lit up, the sign company trucks were still there, it was afternoon.

It's the outline of an island, with the word DREAMS written across it, and a palm tree. On the left of the island image it says B2 with the 2 written the way you would to mean "B squared", you know, small and high. To the right of the island image it says A.R.E. Any ideas what all that means?

I'll drive over there today and take a picture, and see what other info I can gather.

Friki Tiki: I did NOT get your email, but welcome aboard! Always especially glad to hear from another Louisvillian.

the75stingray: Hope to see you there often too.

The Louisville Tiki Society stirs to life...

N

On 2003-06-17 14:18, Fonduie wrote:
What a treasure! The A-frame, the bamboo ceiling, the thatch, and of course the TIKI!

Fonduie:
That's just one of several Tikis in the place, all of them magnificent.

DZ

"Dreams"?"B.A.R.E."? Uh... did Mike say anything about making it a strip club?

K

Be there or be square?

N

B2 Dreams A.R.E. I don't know, but I'm going to find out.

N

There was a write-up on the resurgence of Tiki yesterday in the Louisville Courier-Journal. It mentioned the Luau Room briefly.

http://www.courier-journal.com/features/

I'm going to be in that area on some business tomorrow. I'll definately try to make it by there.

Well, I made it back from my trip...barely.

Nineveh, I stopped and spoke with Mike. He is a pretty nice guy and admits he is clueless about Tiki & Polynesian style entertainment. I was disappointed to see the ethnic / hip hop look going into club, taking away from it's origin. Something un-characteristic about walking through a medal detector before entering a Tiki establishment.

The Club sits in an older area that appears racially intergrated and combines residential and industrial settings.

There appears to be adequate parking, but my biggest concern (coming from the racially divided Cincinnati area) is going to be whether or not the "Tiki" theme, and it's potential patrons, would be welcomed by the locals of the establishment.

We spoke briefly about the idea of having a "Tiki night" on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening, but he had concerns that no one would show for it. I told him that, despite the 3 + hour drive from Dayton, that I would try to make it down if he did that. But the more I thought about that, the more I doubt if it would be feasable.

I am hopeful that some of our Columbus members would be interested in going down if we he goes forward with that.

Any members in Columbus, Dayton or Cincy that would be interested in a road trip on a weeknight? That would be rough.
If not, I'd certainly go on a Saturday, where we can get down there, hang out and drive back home in a 9 hour period.

The place certainly has retained it's potential - there is no doubt about that.

I'd like to see some feedback from some local folks.

N

On 2003-06-28 20:22, the75stingray wrote:

I was disappointed to see the ethnic / hip hop look going into club, taking away from it's origin. Something un-characteristic about walking through a medal detector before entering a Tiki establishment.

Oh great, that's just lovely. I hadn't seen that because I didn't want to keep bugging him before it opens. I was encouraged by the palm tree sign and the fact that he put banana trees on either side of the door.

The Club sits in an older area that appears racially intergrated and combines residential and industrial settings.

Yes, it's at Fourth and Industry, a few blocks from Churchill Downs and the newly built and ridiculously popular Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. There are some houses nearby but they are lower income. However, it is .3 miles from all the University of Louisville student dormitories and frat houses. It is also half a mile from Old Louisville, a section of town comprised of Victorian mansions inhabited by U of L students, artists and pagans, rich gay men, and drug addicts.
You can have a newly-rehabbed, decked-to-the-teeth mansion that is on the Christmas homes tour right next door to a slumlord-run apartment of students.

There appears to be adequate parking, but my biggest concern (coming from the racially divided Cincinnati area) is going to be whether or not the "Tiki" theme, and it's potential patrons, would be welcomed by the locals of the establishment.

On the parking issue, it used to be a Kroger grocery store.
I'm hoping the close proximity of the college students (and the artists and pagans and rich gay men) will help booster the success of the Tiki theme.

We spoke briefly about the idea of having a "Tiki night" on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening, but he had concerns that no one would show for it.

I talked to him about that too, and that's why I'm desperately trying to find other Louisville Tikiphiles. So far The Louisville Tiki Society has 6 local members, and after the article on Tiki last Wednesday in the paper I wrote to the reporter and the local chef and Tikiphile who was featured in it (John Castro.) Still waiting for replies.

The place certainly has retained it's potential - there is no doubt about that.

Absolutely, and I have good news. I talked to someone who also talked to a guy behind the counter when it was a Salvation Army. She says he told her that THE OWNER HAS ALL THE DECOR IN STORAGE AND HOPES TO RE-OPEN IT AS A TIKI BAR SOMEDAY.

She also said the guy wasn't cool with her taking pictures and followed her around. This is in stark contrast to the guy I talked to, who didn't know anything about it but couldn't care less how many pictures I took.

So I think the next mission is to talk to the owner.
R

I drove past this place by accident this weekend. They have some fake palm trees outfront.

Also, does Bahama Breeze have a gift shop? We ate there and I didn't see one! The food was really good (if not tiki) and some of the artwork on the walls was amazing.

Any updates on this place? I may be going to Louisville in May and would love to see something tiki...

-Slacks

Roys- Nope. Bahama Breeze doesnt have a gift shop. Great food, Pleasant atmosphere, good service and a first rate mens room, though.

I have not heard anymore about the Louisville bar...never heard back from Mike about a tiki night and, honestly, just never made it back down that way in a while.

Again, it's not a place I would suggest going on just any regular night.

When I went in, during the middle of the day, before they were opened, I got a lot of "what the hell is he doing here?" looks.

Aside from Mike, I did not feel welcomed...lets leave it at that.

T

Slacks, if you;'re REALLY hard up for some sort of almost-Tiki IN Loisvulle, there are Joe's Palm Room, and the Polynesian Palace, but I would not go anywhere near either of them if I were you.

Both are listed briefly in Tiki Road Trip, and are reviewed in more detail on The Tiki Bar Review Pages (under the Kentucky heading, natch).

Thanks Tikibars!

I will take yr advice on those places. Perhaps what I need to do is convince the wife that we need to drive to the Omni Hut.

T

On 2005-02-07 13:22, Slacks Ferret wrote:
Perhaps what I need to do is convince the wife that we need to drive to the Omni Hut.

Now yer cookin' with gas!

Heyyy... what ver happened to that proposed "Omni-lau" from a year or so ago? We gots to get a posse together and go say Aloha to Polly.

N

Hello all -

Well, I realize it's been forever, but there hasn't been anything to tell about the old Luau Room in Louisville, KY. It spent about a year as a hip-hop sports bar called B2 Dreams, and then changed hands without a "For Lease" sign going up. It became the Allure Nightclub, with no discernible schedule and I never saw any activity at it, so I don't even know if they truly opened. And now, today, a "For Lease" sign has gone up.

So here we are, again: It's 9,000 square feet of original, circa 1960s, back-in-the-day, tiki bar paradise, with all the original decor intact. The owner has never let the decor be touched (God bless him or her), through the Mexican Restaurant, Salvation Army, B2 Dreams and (I imagine) Allure nightclub phases of the last fifteen years.

Anybody want to operate a Tiki bar less than a half mile from all the dorms and frat houses of the University of Louisville? Within a mile of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (where the Louisville Cardinals play) and Churchill Downs (where they hold the Kentucky Derby)? Across from two brand new industrial complexes and just down the street from five old ones? This should be a slam dunk.

The agent's number is (502)562-9200. I ask that you please post in here if you contact anyone and what you find out, as this has been a personal quest of mine for years. I would do it myself if I had the bucks and even one iota of experience in the bar world. I mean, how great would it be to run your own version of Hala Kahiki? C'mon. It's been standing there, waiting patiently all these years for the return of Tiki and someone who understands the importance of Tiki. Somebody, re-open this bar the RIGHT way.

Nancy Beranek

TJ

Nancy,

Can you email me the pics that you posted, oh, so many years ago? I would love to see this place. I live 2 hours away and my wife and I have been talking about checking out Louisville for some time now.

Thanks,
Joe

[ Edited by: tiki joe 2007-03-22 19:22 ]

S
Swanky posted on Thu, Sep 1, 2005 8:36 PM

[ Edited by: Swanky 2005-09-02 21:01 ]

Hey, if the Hell's Angels can have bars, why can't we? I'd pay money for a share of the "Tiki Central Luau Room Louisville". Then we'd have a place for conventions... and ....we all get to go Louisville!

N

Can you email me the pics that you posted, oh, so many years ago? I would love to see this place. I live 2 hours away and my wife and I have been talking about checking out Louisville for some time now.

Joe,
I can indeed. I would post them here but I'll have to investigate how. Last time Tiki Kiliki put them up after I sent them to her.

Nancy

N

On 2005-09-02 08:24, pappythesailor wrote:
Hey, if the Hell's Angels can have bars, why can't we? I'd pay money for a share of the "Tiki Central Luau Room Louisville". Then we'd have a place for conventions... and ....we all get to go Louisville!

That's the best idea I've heard in ages!

Nancy

N

Almost forgot - the leasing agent's name is Jody Zimmerman.

I stay in New Albany across the river all the time and have a summer place in Bethlehem, up the river, I would be very interested in seeing a TiKi place in Looval. I am only there part of the year but always have a hankering for a good rum drink. Keep us posted.

H

I think it's great that you've been so tenacious with this, Nancy. I've posted about the opportunity on my blog, and I've also added the Luau Room to Critiki.

This site has some of Nancy's pictures, which are missing from this thread now, and are well worth a look:
http://www.recentpast.org/types/tiki/luauky/

Hmmm To bad it aint closer to columbus The FOM could use a swank clubhouse like that! LOL

N

Okay - you're not going to believe this. I found out that the Allure Nightclub did actually get off the ground, sort of.

Apparently it's part of something called First Fridays, a monthly networking event hosted by a national event promotion company. I'm not sure I truly understand, but the pictures of an event there in March are posted at http://www.glamourlife.com/8pg_14_2005.htm There's also a page called "What we do" to explain what it is about.

Anyway, if you want to see the place PACKED with people, and the Tiki Decor seemingly still in place (though never the focus of the shots), check it out.


Bring back The Luau Room, Louisville, KY!

[ Edited by: Nineveh 2005-09-11 08:35 ]

M

I found this great ad for the Luau Room from 1960 when they first opened :down:

There's also a huge opportunity for some oral history. Found a place called John E's on the Spot in Louisville. The owner of this restaurant, John Shanchuk, started working at the Luau Room in 1963 as a dishwasher and worked his way up to manager. He is now only 61, and I bet he's got some good info, if any locals want to look him up.

Not allot of info out there for the Luau Room and looks like the red X has taken out some good stuff so I'll add some stuff. A great little rocks glass.

Hey, that graphic was swiped from Dobb's House! Looks like Orchids of Hawaii did it.. :)

I thought someone would pick up on that. Not only the image but the font and the decorative band on the glass, all from the Dobb's menu.


He're's a Luau Room order ticket I was given when I purchased some spears that hung at this location (need to photograph those too)

Trad'r Bill

My question here is why couldn't this location have been related to the Dobb's House chain? The Dobb's House Luau paper ephemera advertised a location in Louisville, Kentucky.



The Luau Room first opened on the second floor of the terminal building at the Standiford Field airport and then moved. I know that I have read that Dobb's operated restaurants and bars at various airports. Here is a matchbook from the original Luau Room - sure looks like a Dobb's place with the torches and the font. Also the same phone number from Uncle Trav's glass with the Dobbs House graphics.

Here is a story from the net.

in Louisville, back in the '70s, there was a restaurant called The Luau Room in Standiford Field. It was one of those '70s-type "Polynesian" restaurants with flaming appetizer platters and drinks with little umbrellas in them, but by the standard of the time, it was one of the city's relatively few dress-up-dine-out spots. I'll bet some of the regulars here remember it. (Was pronounced "Loo-aw Room by locals, by the way.)

DC

[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2010-01-16 08:31 ]

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