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Queen's Surf, Honolulu, HI (restaurant)

Pages: 1 23 replies

Name:Queen's Surf
Street:Waikiki Beach


Time for some more Waikiki Tiki!

The Queen's Surf Restaurant and Nightclub was located across from Kapiolani Park at Waikiki Beach. The building was built in 1916 and became Fleischmann's Yeast heir Chris Holmes' beach house in 1933. It was acquired by the City of Honolulu around 1946 following Holmes' death and leased to Spencecliff Corporation which operated it as the as the hugely popular Queen's Surf.

Here are some photos of the building

(from Kamaiina56)

Cool surfboard gate at the entrance.

I found this photo on the web was attributed to the Queen's Surf. It is the only shot I have seen of the restaurant on from the beachside. Can anyone confirm this is Queen's Surf?

The lobby.

The stairs in the back of the lobby led to the upstairs bar. Here is an early photo of the bar, what a view.

The bar was called the Barefoot Bar and featured the entertainment of Sterling Mossman from 1952 until 1969 when it closed for good. Mossman, who was a cop by day, sang, danced the hula, and was a comedian

Some photos of Sterling Mossman and the Barefoot Bar.

An album.

I read that Mossman helped many Hawaiian stars get their careers going, including Don Ho, Danny Kaleikini, and this big guy who parked cars at Queen's Surf named Zulu.

Here's Zulu at the Surf Lanai!

Tropical drink menu.

A table card advertising the drinks at the Barefoot Bar and the Surf Lanai.

One of the dance groups at the luau was Puka Puka Otea, shown here being led by Elaine Frisbee.

Another advertising flier.

The Queen's Surf also hosted a famous Luau. I have several brochures that advertise the Luau.

This on uses a great Ku Tiki for the logo.

Some postcards

Here are a few more images from a restaurant guide.

A few old ads.

Several matchbook styles featuring Tiki Torches.

Here is an album that was recorded at the Queen's Surf Luau.

The Queen's Surf was shut down by Mayor Frank Fasi on December 31, 1969. When the Queen's Surf was finally shut down, nearly 700 people tried to crowd into to the club to say goodbye. The place was packed with local and Hollywood celebrities.

After the shutdown, the club's popular Tavana Tahiti Revue moved to the Hawaiian Hut Nightclub at the Ala Moana Hotel. Here is an ad for the Tavana Tahiti review.

The building that housed the Queen's Surf Nightclub was torn down in 1971. Hard to believe.


WOW! :o

Very nice and comprehensive post DC.



Excellent stuff, DC!

People always have such great memories of this place when I ask... One of my favorite stories is from a beachboy who told me, "Oh that place was da best. As kids, we would hang out there because after the pig was lifted out of the imu, the workers would always leave a little of the kalua pork on the wire (it was wrapped in) for us to eat. So ono!"

I did not end up using the brochure with the luau story since I'd seen it in some other book...

The six toed sign from the Barefoot Bar resides at the US Army museum of the Pacific.

Menu from Gam's at the Queen surf is undated.

Originally the property was Queen Lili'uoklani's former seaside cottage. In 1916, Chicago architects Holabird and Roche designed the residence for C.W. Deering. Chris Holmes bought the property in 1933. In 44, Roosevelt met with MacArthur and Nimitz there. After WWII, The Spencecliff Brother ran this until the end of it's run. The city (Mayor Fasi) condemmed the property and Widened the beach. A snack bar stands in it's place on Queen's Beach...

Waikiki Tiki; Art, History, and Photographs.
Available now from Bess Press Hawaii.

[ Edited by: Phillip Roberts 2011-02-21 18:14 ]

Wow, D.C, amazing post! I never knew the history of that place, and that it was in its own location, I just always assumed it was part of some hotel somehow.

Not identified here is Sterling Mossman's lovely show partner Varoa Tiki (what a name!)

... who I really would like to know more about! And did we ever establish if Sterling was related to Hawaiian Eye's Doug Mossman?


Yeah, Doug Mossman was Sterling Mossman's brother. I didn't know as much about Doug's part in Hawaiian Eye, but he was also in a ton of Hawaii Five-O episodes - often as a policeman, and at least once as a con artist pretending to be a policeman. And Sterling Mossman was actually in the Hawaii Five-O pilot.

The Barefoot Bar and Sterling Mossman's "Barefoot in Paradise Gang" were a staple of Waikiki nightlife. I'll add some more about them, and a couple other Queen's Surf things, a little later. Thanks DC for putting this topic together!



A couple quick alternate views, juxtaposed with the originals from DC...

On 2011-02-21 17:11, Dustycajun wrote:

On 2011-02-21 17:11, Dustycajun wrote:
I found this photo on the web was attributed to the Queen's Surf. It is the only shot I have seen of the restaurant on from the beachside. Can anyone confirm this is Queen's Surf?

You can just barely make out the sign for the Queen's Surf garden bar on the far right... :down:


Great thread! Great history and pictures!

From this little dining guide...

I found this little ad!

I will look through more of my paper and see if I can find anything else from here.



Thanks for the posts everyone, some more great info added.

I did a little more research on Sterling Mossman/Doug Mossman brothers.

Doug Mossman had a character on Hawaiian Eye and Sterling did music cameos (along with Arthur Lyman).

From Wikpedia:

Moke, played by Doug Mossman, was the chief uniformed security officer for Hawaiian Eye. He went by several variant names in the first season before the writers finally settled on one.

Guest musical acts

All of the Warner Brothers detective shows of this era featured a musical interlude, generally performed by a series regular. On occasion, Hawaiian Eye had a guest act perform:

Sterling Mossman and his Barefoot Bar Gang. A real policeman by day, Sterling also performed nights at the Barefoot Bar, one of Honolulu's most popular tourist attractions from 1952–1969.

Arthur Lyman and his exotic tropical sounds. In one episode Connie Stevens sang a version of the title song accompanied by Lyman's group.

Sterling was also in the pilot for Hawaii 5-0, as reported here:

The Outrigger Canoe Club is dressed to resemble the notorious Barefoot Bar, which was too small to accommodate both patrons and a camera crew. Sterling Mossman's Barefoot Bar Gang performs the Tahitian number behind Kuoha-Torco as well as "Ain't no big thing," to be heard a few more times during the series.

Be fun to see a clip of that scene to see what the Barefoot Bar looked like on set.

Sterling Mossman also had line of cool Hawaiian shirts called Barefoot in Paradise.



A few more bits and pieces to add...

Here's an old newspaper clipping, with a full-page ad for the Spencecliff restaurants. :down:

And a closeup of the Queen's Surf part :down:

Not sure about the propriety of copying pics from people's Flickr pages, but at least here's a link to a page with some old photos.

The Queen's Surf was actually the flagship of the Spencecliff restaurants, but became the center of a feud between Spence Weaver and mayor Frank Fasi. It was reportedly partly a personal feud, and also partly from Fasi's dislike for some of the tourist trade. Fasi shut down the Queen's Surf amidst local protests, and also the Kodak Hula Show which moved to a different location.

Next, a little more about Sterling Mossman, the "Hula Cop". Here's a clipping for his "Barefoot Gang" and their new year's eve show in December 64. Not at the Barefoot Bar though. :down:

And about his appearance in the Hawaii Five-O pilot, I can't let a mention go by without posting some screen captures. Sorry if it's veering off topic, since these aren't actually from the Queen's Surf - these are from the pilot sequence in the venue dressed up to look like the Barefoot Bar, as mentioned by DC above. This is the sequence that involved a very famous pair of hips.

Those hips belong to a young dancer named Helen Kuoha-Turco, who received $150 for her part, and reportedly 16 hours of filming. :down:

Wouldn't you love to be there? As she moves around the room, we get to see some of the "barefoot" decor, and you can also see Sterling Mossman in the background of this shot. :down:

Here's Sterling Mossman (on the left) singing Ain't No Big Thing with the band. Note the "SM" on the drums. :down:

Just a couple little extras from this scene. McGarrett is there on a date with the ravishing Nancy Kwan. :down:

He's called away to a call on a public phone, conspicuously next to a big foot on the wall. :down:

And finally, about the apparel label Barefoot in Paradise, this link has an interesting history that tells about how the label evolved.



Thanks for the additional photos and info, glad to see the screen grabs from the Hawaii 5-0 pilot. I have to think they tried to stay true to form on the set build of the Barefoot Bar, looks like they had some Tikis on stage.

Here is an old flier I have advertising a three-stop nightclub tour that included the Queen's Surf.

The Puka Puka Otea Show



Good stuff again DC. I've got a few more images...

Here's another Spencecliff ad, prominently featuring the Queen's Surf again, since it was probably their real flagship. :down:

Next some more pictures.

On the path to the Polynesian Garden and Samoan Bar... :down:

Next, here's a couple early pictures from when it was originally the Deering residence, long before being converted to the Queen's Surf. First an interior... :down:

This one is described as the second floor lanai. :down:

Perhaps this lanai was part of the area that later became the Barefoot Bar? I tried to look for similarities with the image DC posted of the upstairs bar, but it's hard to tell...

On 2011-02-21 17:11, Dustycajun wrote:
The stairs in the back of the lobby led to the upstairs bar. Here is an early photo of the bar, what a view.


[ Edited by: aquarj 2011-02-24 14:29 ]


Thanks for adding those great photos. I picked up a souvenir photo folder from the Luau at Queens Surf dated 1955.

The cover.

The back with a nice logo.

Mimi Payne also has a drink coaster with a similar logo on her website Arkiva Tropika.

The message on the inside, it was a 15-year wedding anniversary celebration.

The photo, cool luau scene with the tapa tables and the festive attire.

A fun little artifact.


Another Queen's Surf item, a little souvenir menu with some nice graphics.

It has a small menu within the larger menu cover.

A few close ups of the interior.



As usual, more great stuff.

A little more on the Mossman family...

Pre-war, they were involved with a place called "Lalani Hawaiian Village" in the 1920's. As a precursor to the Ulu Mau Village and the Polynesian Cultural Center, it was a outdoor venue located where the Park Shore Hotel stands today on Kapahulu across from the Zoo in Kapiolani Park where traditional Hula and cultural crafts were showcased.. Closed at the beginning of WWII, pictures are quite hard to find. I was lucky enough to find an unpublished one of a sailor, tiki, and hula maiden that I did put in Waikiki Tiki. I have seen a sepia postcard on eBay occasionally but never won it.


As I understand it, the Mossman family was greatly responsible for the native Hawaiian culture being brought back into popular recognition. Their luaus were really where it all started.

The Mai-Kai I think worked with them in creating their show way back when. I am still researching this. But, Pualani Avon Mossman was involved in the gift shop in some degree. Again, more as I find out more.

Found an old photo online of the garden dining area at Queen's Surf.

That had this rather imposing fellow.

Also and old sticker from the campaign to Save Queen's Surf!


Found another photo of the beachside A-frame at Queen's Surf.

Here the shot Randy posted before.


Thanks DC.

Still trying to find a better shot of this drum...

The third photo from the top of page 1 showing the famous surfboard gates was taken by Radioman 3rd Class Gary Turner of the U.S. Navy. Gary and I were stationed together at the old Naval Communications Station and worked one, sometimes two nights per week as photographers at Queen's Surf luaus. It was Gary who suggested photographing me with my 1953 British Singer in the exit driveway, showing the gates. Of note, Gary and I recently discovered --- at age 77 and retired --- that we live within an hour's drive of each other on the Big Island.

extoere, Thank you for posting those great pictures! We always like to hear from people that were there.

Found some matches today

Found 2 postcards today


Not much to see, but came across this in a 1969 Hawaii newspaper...

And just for kicks, from the same page of the same newspaper...


That ad is spectacular!

[ Edited by: bamalamalu 2018-10-11 21:56 ]

Pages: 1 23 replies