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Skipper Kent's, San Francisco, CA (restaurant)

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Name:Skipper Kent's
Street:1040 Columbus Avenue
City:San Francisco
Phone:PRospect 6-3737

Now a pub/indian restaurant.

(Please feel free to add to this!!!)


From a San Francisco visitor's guide, October 1955:

Ooh, I like the idea of floating glass floats in the fountain! I'm gonna have to try that!

napkin with drawing of interior:

skipper kent's celestial chicken recipe (taken from "Ford Times" February 1953):

skipper kent interior painting (from same magazine):

The Location as it looks now ala google maps. Looks like the interior could still have hints of its past!

Paipo posted on Sat, Aug 16, 2008 4:38 AM

June 1964:

Here is another postcard from the Skipper Kent's in San Francisco (saw it on ebay but lost to KC). I did capture the photo however. What a great early tiki statue on the left side of the front door. It looks like there is another one on the right side as well. Its funny that these don't really show up in the picture from 1964 posted by Paipo. It appears that the tikis were engulfed by the landscaping. This must have been a very early shot.

It's now "Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House".

I went there for the SF 2008 Foosball tournament.

The place is great, but only because of the large selection of beers and the few Tornado tournament foosball tables. It's more of a sports bar.

The dining area is neat and all, but if you're hoping for exotic, there is better Indian food with better decor. If you're in the neighborhood, check it out. Also "La Trappe" is up the street for Belgian ales in cool European style cellar.


I wonder if there's a tiki foosball table out there?


Yea, this is what it might look like.

^ What is believed to be the first French-Style table placed in a
commercial establishment in the USA, the "TIKI" bar in Virginia Beach,
VA circa 1970.

Whoops wrong place. :lol:


On 2008-04-16 20:38, Polynesiac wrote:
napkin with drawing of interior:

I've got one of these for sale right now;

[ Edited by: mrsmiley 2010-05-14 23:32 ]

I have this old B & W postcard showing the interior of Skipper Kents in SF


I finally picked up the two color postcards that came from Skipper Kent's in San Francisco.

This one is from the bar with 160 kinds of rum.

Here is another of the interior.

Also found a few nice shots on the internet. Here is Skipper Kent himself. Amazing bio on this gentleman.

Another B & W interior shot.


I'm working on a Skipper Kent piece for the Tiki Art Swap 2009 #2 - Poly Pop Menu Inspired Art. Can anyone tell me about this image from their menu and from the Zombie Village menu? Who is he supposed to be? Genghis Khan? Aladdin's Polynesian cousin? An irate Dom DeLuise because they are out of pork fried rice?


I think it's OddJob from "Goldfinger". :D

Of course we are all aware that the original source of this face is the enigmatic, iconic menu cover from Skipper Kent's Zombie Village:

This image (from Otto von Stroheim's collection!) gracing one of the opening pages of the Book of Tiki is probably responsible for converting more impressionable young males to Tiki than many other BOT visuals. It's charged combination of eroticism and mysticism instantly transports its viewer into another realm - like a good Tiki Bar should do.

Yet once rational thinking takes over again, we have to realize that the elements depicted here have very little to do with Tiki or Polynesia. The artist, obviously a skilled, old-school illustrator, must have been drawing on his children's book illustration experience, and equalling "Zombie" with "scary spirit". So he come up with what obviously looks like a Djinn, or Genie, for a Zombie...

...while the dancing girl with her see-through skirt could easily be a temple dancer of the Asian persuasion, and even the men around the fire are a more oriental motif, and could be smoking a hooka pipe.

This of course does NOT diminish the standing of this artpiece as a masterwork of Polynesian pop, and merely proves again how it is a great unifier of ALL exotic cultures. :D

Thanks Sven :)

Thought I'd continue a dicussion over here that started (and hopefully isn't finished) on the Tiki Finds thread.

Tiki-Kate found this very cool postcard from the California Spring Garden Show, dated 1951.

... That seems to have a connection to Skipper Kent's.

The California Spring Garden Show was held in Oakland, CA every year (very near Skipper Kent's). Plus both tikis seem to appear in Skipper Kent's restaurant images.

Here's the tiki on the right in one of my S.K. postcards with a 1953 stamp & postmark (photo could have been taken earlier)

Both tikis appear to show up inside the restaurant in Polynesiac's Feb 1953 'Ford Times' illustration:

Dusty Cajun provides this exterior shot with another eerily similar moai, with slightly longer neck.

The moai in Kate's postcard also seems similar to Skipper Kent's signature mug and salt shakers.

We also know that Skipper Kent was a horticulturist. On the back of one of his early menus it states that all the rare tropical plants and flowers in his restaurants were grown in his private hot houses in Walnut Creek.

So let's speculate: Did Skipper Kent help design the 1951 display in the Spring Garden Show, using his own tikis and plants? Or was he inspired by it?

The 1951 and 1953 dates seem like very early appearances by tikis in a South Seas restaurant. Was Skipper Kent a groundbreaker in this regard? Or was he influenced by Trader Vic over in Oakland? Trader Vic was using Hawaiian Tikis and Cannibal Carvings in the 1940s. Who used the first Moai in their restaurant?

I thought Bigbro or others here might have some insights. (Sorry, I really get into this geeky kind of historical research).

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-09-24 14:57 ]

TikiG posted on Thu, Sep 24, 2009 3:03 PM

No need to say Sorry Sabu, I love reading these threads.

I have a burning passion researching lost amusement parks and roller-coasters

Carry on...


I love the interior shots of this restaurant. They are so detailed and there is so much going on! Probably one of the best interiors that we see!!

Here is another shot that is different from the above photos but still shows the same Tiki:


Taboo Dan,

I tried for that postcard too, but it went for more than my budget. Here are a couple of cropped close-up shots of the card and the Tiki. Check out that drink bowl on the table. Looks like the one with the fishes on it used at the South Pacific and the Aku Aku.


Saw this matchbook on ebay with a nice combo of the Tiki face from the menu and the surfing Wahine from the Skipper Kent Mug.

Mug shots from eab21's collection on Ooga Mooga


I finally made it out to the old Skipper Kent building, now Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House. I wasn't expecting to see much tiki, but I was pleasantly surprised.

You can easily see the original Skipper Kent's through the new "decor":

...on the back of the building, I fond some lauhala matting and bamboo trim:

...more bamboo on this peak in the front of the building:

inside, the bar area is also very reminiscent of SKs

You can actually see evidence of SKs everywhere you look... driftwood walls:

old wooden latch:

faux bamboo support pole:

piling support poles:

and lots of big palm trees:

-Trad'r Bill

I have walked past Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House everytime I am in Northbeach, I always point out those famous places
Like where "Dirty Harry" & "Bullitt" where filmed and of course old Tiki places like Skippers, my wife does an excellent job
of feigning interest.

I tend to go off about,how the Tonga room used to look like with Tropical storms, erupting volcano, etc.
my first time there was in 1970.

[ Edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2010-03-21 18:31 ]

Trad'r Bill, thanks for the archaeological update, good work there. Although it saddens me to see these historic places devolved and flippantly modified to quench the thirst of the modern ignorant masses and owners, it is great to see significant artifacts of the past exposed and documented. Mahalo :)


Back when we were exploring the site in 2005, there was still Tapa cloth and rope at the top of some of the support beams (see page 23 of the Spring 2006 Issue of Tiki Magazine).

I still harbor that faint hope that one day, a full-on shot of that great cocktail islands map on the right will surface:

I mean that MUST have found use in menu form, no?

bifcozz was extremely nice in sending me these great shots of SKs - THANKS BIFCOZZ! He is very busy right now and unable to post these, so he gave me to ok to post:

Trad'r Bill




Great pics Trader Bill ....thanks.

Wow, until yesterday while dorking about on Critiki, I had no idea this place once existed... and I live two blocks away and often enjoy the food at Kennedy's!

(In my defense, I am a Tiki neophyte. I picked up the Book of Tiki a few years ago, enjoy Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, know the best seats at the Tonga Room, hung out at Trader Vic's in Bellevue WA before it closed, and have a spouse that can mix a delightful mai tai. But otherwise a n00b - although I posted here right after I moved to SF and went to worship at Tiki Bob's - http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=6319&forum=2&start=15.)

This definitely explains the palm trees in the back and penetrating the roof. On my next visit I'll poke around the edges, too.

[ Edited by: Joshua Bell 2010-03-30 21:49 ]

Welcome to Tiki Central Joshua... let us know if you find any more info!

Trad'r Bill

Stopped by Kennedy's today for dinner, armed with printouts of photos from this thread. Alas, it was fairly crowded for once, so I deferred from scouting around trying to find matches for the interior architecture. As my son put it, "they did a great job hiding all the tiki stuff" (he said they should put it back, though.)

My wife spotted something in the main dining room that's an obvious hold-over - an island-themed pole:

Thanks for posting those Joshua! I missed those when I was there... very cool.

Good work Josh!

Skipper Kent's - dining room menu:

Skipper Kent's bar menu:

I have a 150dpi scan / 44MB PDF as well I'll toss somewhere tomorrow when I have a faster upload pipe.

Alas, these are not from a hidden cache of treasure discovered under the bar, but from an auction purchase.

Anybody own one of these or seen one?

-Trad'r Bill


Hey Trad'r Bill, I've seen one but don't have it. Also have seen a larger plate like that and of course the mug.
Great picture!! Where did you dig that up??

Mahalo, TabooDan

Sabu, I found this video of the 1950 California Spring Garden Show... unfortunately I think this predates the one referenced in the postcard by a year... I don't see any tikis nor Frank Kent :( Kinda funny watch anyway.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3_bSDsktBM

On 2009-09-24 14:40, Sabu The Coconut Boy wrote:
Thought I'd continue a dicussion over here that started (and hopefully isn't finished) on the Tiki Finds thread.

Tiki-Kate found this very cool postcard from the California Spring Garden Show, dated 1951.

[ Edited by: Trad'r Bill 2010-07-06 17:49 ]

[ Edited by: trad'r bill 2010-07-06 21:52 ]

Hey TabooDan-

That picture was from earlier in this topic ~ courtesy of our friend bifcozz. Good to know that plate/ashtray is out there somewhere!

Trad'r Bill

I saw this odd item on eBay recently - kinda cool graphics.

Description says: "This tea box is marked on the front "SKIPPERS KENT'S TEA" and on one side as served at SKIPPERS KENT'S SAN FRANCISCO SPECIAL BLEND Oolong and Jasmine TEA".

Trad'r Bill


And here's the side...

I just got the OK from mangogirl808 to post these pics from her collection - mahalo Ms. Michael! For those who don't know, mangogirl808's father purchased the Kents' former residence in Kona. She received some items left behind after the Kent's estate sale, and has been sharing them with us on
this thread.

New shot of the bar:

and a cool shot of the curio shop:

Enjoy, and thanks again mangogirl808!
-Trad'r Bill

Mahalo TB and mangogirl. Nice work. Wow, there is a ton of stuff in there. Interesting pics and I like comparing these these two. Almost the same angle and that old beam, still going strong.

TB and Mangogirl,

Thanks for posting those great photos. Hope to see more coming.

This is a comparison of a photo that the late Bifcozz posted in the Zombie Village thread of the bar with the one that Mangogirl just posted.

Looks pretty similar to me. Wonder if it was mislabeled as Zombie Village or if both places had the same layout.


Good question! Looking at the ship's wheels closely, they seem to be two different ones - so I'd say one place was modeled after the other.

Man, I wish I could zoom in and enlarge every shelf in that curio shop!

"We will trade for South Sea Curios" - I say!

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