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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Bali Hai, Oakland, CA (restaurant)

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Name:Bali Hai
Street:325 20th Street


I found this lonely matchbook on Arkiva Tropika

[ Edited by: Trad'r Bill 2011-05-16 22:22 ]


I took a look at the site via Google Maps. Nothing but a big ugly skyscraper there now.

Cool find, TB! For years, I've heard of the Bali Hai on 20th st. I thought it was an apt building. The location today is a Kaiser office building.

That Bali Hai matchbook is reproduced in the Book of Tiki, too, on page 126 of the James Michener chapter - albeit very small, and with the green type being way too dark to make out the location.

But looking at it again, my Tiki senses went off, and I recognized their Tiki as the same used for the legendary "Saxony South Seas" in Milwaukee:

(I believe it's a version of the classic Trader Vic's Maori Tiki)

The Saxony South Seas is a mysterious place with a strange history, unearthed by Mo-Eye:

....and I am still hopeful that some day some visuals of its promising-sounding interior will surface:

"...The Saxony South Seas boasted authentic South Seas decoration, including 48 carvings of various sizes from exotic places such as Samoa, Tahiti and Hawaii. Behind the bar stood a massive 1300 pound Tiki idol, while the back bar was inlaid with mother of pearl - 3000 pieces - all hand inlaid, weighing 65 pounds..."

Newspaper advertisement:

Otto posted on Sun, Oct 2, 2011 7:39 PM

Trad'r Bill, can you provide a date for that BW ad?

Area codes were first used by AT&T in 1951, does anyone know when the US stopped using the first two letters of the city for area codes such as TW3-0333?
I know I still heard them being used when I was a kid in the late 1960s but were gone by 69 or 70 I believe

I guess someone from Oakland area could go to the Tribune or the main library and try to look up these names
Pianist - Barron Moss

Lloyd Chang
Bill Hoo

Gordon Corson
Harold Andreason Jr.

I'm not a member of Classmates but if anyone else here is they can contact Lloyd Chang
and see if he is the same one listed on the matchbook, based on graduating in 1959 he may have been too young to be the manager?
Oakland High School
Class of 1959
Member Since: Oct 2007

Could this be the same Gordon Corson?

he'd be 75 yrs old now and 28 in 1964 when his paintings were winning awards and would have made a great host at a Tiki Bar?

Otto - that ad was from October 31st 1963...

Otto....I knew Gordon Corson Sr, the co owner of the Bali Hai, since the early 60's, when my family joined the Montclair Swim Club, that Gordy also owned.....Gordon Melvin Corson Jr was his son, that was the artist you found a link to...Gordy Sr, was known by the nickname Big Gordy, while his son was known as Little Gordy...Ironically I might add, as Big Gordy stood about 5'7", and his son was probably 6'1"......Big Gordy and his wife Nancy, used to winter over in Honolulu every year for as long as I can remember....He was a longtime member of the Outrigger club...Used to surf with Duke Kamahamaha....Had photos of them together on the wall....Could be where he got the idea to open a Polynesian themed restaurant....He also was a nationally ranked backtracked when he was younger, and was good friends with Jonny Weismiller.....I can't remember when the restaurant closed, but my parents used to go there once in awhile, since my father worked at the Kaiser Center nearby...A fascinating guy to work for and know....He passed away back in the late 80's, and his son in the early 2000's


Thanks for posting, it is always nice to hear stories about these places from relatives. Any chance there are family photos from the Bali Hai?

I also noticed that the matchbook image of the building was similar to the Bali Hai in Lynnfield, MA.


June 1966 ad. Obviously the scene was changing.

Pages: 1 9 replies