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Tulagi, Boulder, CO (bar)

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Otto posted on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 12:47 AM

Street:1129 Thirteenth Street

I was reading about The Astronauts Surf/Frat band and came across this info. Apparently they were the house band at a club named after a Polynesian island and bands also performed in the Reef room of the bar:
Tulagi had originally been opened by Ray Imel and Rex Bailey as a 3.2 beer establishment in the location of the former Rialto movie theater, which is now the Fox Theatre. In 1951, they constructed a new nightclub in the same block and named it after a South Pacific island which had been involved in the infamous World War II battle at Guadalcanal. A large wall mural of a South Sea island scene graced the the backstage. After 50 years, Tulagi recently closed its doors forever - with the sound of music and dancing feet replaced by the patter of retail customers in the remodeled space.

[ Edited by: Otto 2014-09-10 00:53 ]

Wow! A never before heard of place with an undeniable WWII connection! Great exterior with that 1960 Pontiac. Now I want to see more of that place,


On 2014-09-11 21:28, bigbrotiki wrote:
Wow! A never before heard of place with an undeniable WWII connection! Great exterior with that 1960 Pontiac. Now I want to see more of that place,

And the 1960 Comet in front of it!

I used to go to Tulagi's in the 1970s to see bands perform. At that time it wasn't anything like a tiki bar. It was a place for college students to drink 3.2 beer and listen to music.

"In 1943, a "soft drink and dancing place" called the Anchorage had opened in a theater building first called the Rialto and later the Fox. In 1948, owner Ray Imel changed the name to Tulagi--for the island in the Pacific where his son died during World War II.

In 1951, Tulagi moved to a new building next door, where a vividly colored painting depicted Tulagi Bay. Known at the time as a "beer tavern," the establishment also served 3.2 percent beer and began booking nationally-known live entertainers. Herb Kauvar purchased the business in the early 1970s."

Tale of Tulagi

Following are some highlights from Tulagi's colorful past:

1947: Businessmen Ray Imel and Rex Bailey launch Tulagi.

1950s-60s: Tulagi is a sometimes-rowdy beer joint, selling 3.2 beer to the 18-and-older, largely fraternity crowd.

1969: Would-be promoter Chuck Morris, a University of Colorado student, convinces the owner of the Sink to buy the then-bankrupt Tulagi and install him as manager.

Late December 1971: The Eagles play five nights at Tulagi.

1970s heyday: Tulagi hosts Linda Ronstadt, the Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, ZZ Top, the Flying Burrito Brothers, John Lee Hooker and Miles Davis.

2003: State tax agents seize the club; Tulagi owners sell the business and its liquor license to the owners of the neighboring Fox Theatre.

2004: Pete Turner, owner of Illegal Pete's, submits a plan for a Cuban restaurant and music venue that is heavily contested by area neighbors. The Planning Board ultimately rejects the plan.

2005: Rockrimmon Real Estate, the property's owner, puts four buildings up for sale, including the one formerly occupied by Tulagi. Rockrimmon starts remodeling the Tulagi building to serve retail purposes.

2006: The venue hosts a handful of live music performances that are part of the Radio & Records Triple-A Summit.

2007: A Which Wich sandwich shop becomes the former music venue's first retail tenant.

[ Edited by: MaukaHale 2014-09-12 09:33 ]

Here is a link to the Astronauts article and more photos of the interior Here.

A color photo of the exterior.


Here's a video from a TV station with the story of Tulagi and the Astronauts.

Sweet Lunacy 1: Tulagi Opens & the Astronauts Soar


It begins with the son of the owner telling the story. It seems that the son that died, and had the club named after where he died, is a myth. There are some good pictures of the original club.

I picked up a cool die-cut matchbook from Tulagi that shows some Tiki influence.

The cover gives us no doubt about the main student attraction at Tulagi... BEER!

the other side with a nice rendering of the building front and a great font on the Reef upstairs.

Back of the matchbook shows a Tiki mask with The Reef.... and more BEER!


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2015-01-10 12:49 ]

Bingo! Good find!

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