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C

Howdy. I ran into this old tiki bar in downtown St Louis about a year and a half ago. It is either on Broadway or Fourth Street in downtown St Louis Missouri just down street from the St Louis Arch. It is on the side of a Ramada Inn and looks like it is in the basement. It is not open, and looks to have been closed for quite some time.

I only saw the outside. The image shows the arc of the entry. I have other images of the relief (tiki like/polynesian) around the entry way (just need to find out where I put the pictures ...

Any ideas on what it was? When I find the other pictures I'll post them.

Calvo Joe

howdy calvojoe, welcome aboard btw,
i have the dirt on that place, and have intended on posting it to Locating Tiki for some time now, but have not yet done so.

that is the site of the st. louis trader vic's, which my research also suggests is potentially the birthplace of "crab rangoon" (but this is disputed).

http://chinesefood.about.com/library/weekly/aa112401a.htm

i have two postcards of the site as well as an original matchbook. another postcard view(s) can be found at

http://www.tikiroom.net/gallery/album02/aff
http://www.tikiroom.net/gallery/album02/afg
http://www.tikiroom.net/gallery/album02/afh

with your permission...

good eye! i'll try to post my sources soon.

johnny dollar


[ Edited by: Johnny Dollar on 2004-03-05 11:20 ]

Wwwwhaaa! That place still stands!? Why didn't anybody TELL me! It's one of the better examples of midcentury modern and Tiki in one. That postcard kills me the way one can see the Barney West Tikis but the A-frame is cut off. I'm dieing to find a full shot of the entrance AND the building, with all Tikis, and 60s cars...

I have an interior postcard of the Trader Vic's there, it had a great circular hut ceiling, it closed in 1985. Otherwise it didn't seem to be too decked out. TV usually takes their stuff back, it's probably all gutted inside.

Bosko gave me a brochure from it when it was a BEL AIR Motor Hotel:
"Bel Air Motor Hotels proudly display hundreds of America's finest, original contemporary art AND ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST IMPORTANT NEW GUINEA PRIMITIVE ART COLLECTIONS" (!?)

The owner must have been an art collector, WHO built the two BEL AIRs in St. Louis, and what happened later?

Please go an take lots of pictures of the remains, wide and close up. And J$, what do you know about it?

Oh, and while we are in St. Louis, why are there no images, Exterior or Interior, to be found of "The Mainlander" (BOT p.179)

On 2004-03-05 11:29, bigbrotiki wrote:

Please go an take lots of pictures of the remains, wide and close up. And J$, what do you know about it?

Oh, and while we are in St. Louis, why are there no images, Exterior or Interior, to be found of "The Mainlander" (BOT p.179)

hey bigbro,

i took pictures several years ago, and intend to dig them out. looks like calvojoe might be able to give you a more immediate fix though :) i actually posted several months ago to ask if anyone knew anything about this particular structure,

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic-new.php?topic=6138&forum=1&vpost=58522

then i googled and found a great postcard of the bel air - i will try and scan and post this weekend. i inherited my grandfather's matchbook collection too this year, and he collected an original tv matchbook with the "mask" logo and the address that matches the site. that's the best i can tell you - i have some books of midcentury st. louis city culture, perhaps i can find some more info there re: trader vic's AND the mainlander. i'll ask my dad too, he grew up in st. louis 1940's -1950's. i'll get on the case... j$


[ Edited by: Johnny Dollar on 2004-03-05 11:40 ]

T

On 2004-03-05 11:29, bigbrotiki wrote:
Oh, and while we are in St. Louis, why are there no images, Exterior or Interior, to be found of "The Mainlander"

This place is an enigma. The guy who sent me all of the information I had on theplace didn't have any pics. The mug on P. 150 of TRT is all I have seen of the place, visually.

But, as long as we now have an archaeologist in St Louis, please do tell us what Terry's Polynesian Room is like (3930 N. Kingshighway Blvd.)?

...I amy have to make a stop in St. Louis on my way out to Oasis...

JT,

if you're going thru St. Louis, i will have to compile a short list fer you of all the (not nec. tiki) cool places to visit.

"Blueberry Hill" is a must... if you can... how can you not visit a bar with an elvis room? j$

re: mainlander: leads_? (i'm bored)

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/entertainment/special/sketches.nsf/0/21A95E44D853797C86256DAA0007DFF8?OpenDocument

Clayton Historical Society: (314) 721-2236


[ Edited by: Johnny Dollar on 2004-03-05 13:01 ]

C

I will dig out the remaining pictures this evening.

If I remember correctly, the sign above the door entrance read something like "Mississippi Cove" or "Smugglers Cove." It was done in wood block lettering (like what you would buy at a hardware store for house numbers) & nailed up.

If anyone gets into the interior please post some pictures ... and let us know what is there. I tried to get in througfh the front desk but was unsuccessful.

Calvo Joe

Now we have to look for the album "Marion Miller & Eddie Eaton----LIVE at The Mainlander!"
with a gorgeous color cover and the cocktail menu on the back! I'm sure it must exist...?

James, my urban archeology senses are itching...what do you say: When I'm in town for the book signing, the morning of we hop into the car and skip down to St.Louis for half a day to excavate, then head back to make it to the Trader's in time for free chow and Grog and good company?

..we need to think of an angle to get into the old TV. Who owns the hotel now?

T

On 2004-03-05 15:34, bigbrotiki wrote:
James, my urban archeology senses are itching...what do you say: When I'm in town for the book signing, the morning of we hop into the car and skip down to St.Louis for half a day to excavate, then head back to make it to the Trader's in time for free chow and Grog and good company?

Sounds ideal... but it's about a 5 hour drive each way. Better trip is to Kewannee, IL, the Aku Tiki Room that may have been a mirage, because I don't know anyone else who has ever visited...

C

The rest of the pictures ... hopefully I have the picture posting correct this time.

I believe the hotel is still a Ramada

Ramada Inn at the Arch
333 Washington Ave.
Saint Louis, Missouri 63102

Calvo Joe

[ Edited by: calvojoe on 2004-03-05 18:23 ]

Hey, what's the inscription in the doorway in that last photo?

C

it should say

"CLUB MISSISSIPPI COVE"

but reads something like

"CLUB MIS ISSIPPI COV "

  • Calvo Joe

Calvojoe,

It's really wonderful to see that the old A-frame entrance is still there. It looks beautiful. I miss the tikis, though, that appear in the postcards. Thanks for posting those photos for us.

Here's my appetizer menu from the St. Louis Trader Vic's:

And here's another view of the whole building.

Does the 12-story building still exist? Does it still have the 4-colors of curtains?

Sabu

C

OK. Like I said, I have not been to the site for at least a year and a half (probably a bit longer (2 years?) -- wow - it's 2004), so I did a bit of "googling".

The hotel is no longer a Ramada, it is now a Hampton Inn -- and it seems it got a facelift.

Sadly, here is the image of the Hampton Inn (off of the Hampton Inn website).

Saddened.

  • Calvo Joe

[ Edited by: calvojoe on 2004-03-05 19:31 ]

Just showed this to my roommate Daniel, who is an active member of the LA modern committee fighting for the preservation of midcentury modern architecture, he almost threw up. I saw the first photos and had hope that it was untouched, but..
Obviously, the GCTF effect was at work here.

Still, a great site, worthy of further investigation...

James, 5 hours really!? I figured 3 1/2...
Damn!

S
SES posted on Fri, Mar 5, 2004 8:05 PM

"FACE LIFT" ???

UGH! That is truly hideous what they tranformed it into.

Can you see this from the Arch? I took a bunch of photos at the very top of the Arch a few years ago.

I'm often in Joplin MO, which is only 5 hrs from St. Louis; I may have to go on a photo safari soon.
Also, tikibars asked:

...please do tell us what Terry's Polynesian Room is like (3930 N. Kingshighway Blvd.)?

I posted about this last fall:
https://tikicentral.com/viewtopic-new.php?topic=6138&forum=1

Armed with Tiki Road Trip, I called the only entries for those states. Aloha Kai in Shawnee (near Kansas City) KS is apparently out of business as the number was disconnected...same with Terry's Polynesian Room in St Louis. Directory assistance has neither restaurant. Can any locals confirm they are gone and tell us what they were like?

At that time I also asked about the Venice Café, 1901 Pestalozzi St. in Soulard. Now that we have some new members, has anyone been there?

Here is the text of a review I ran across for the Venice Cafe' last fall at http://www.garagepunk.com/lowlifeguide/eat.html :

"The really, really sad thing about the Venice is that it is probably thee closest thing we St. Louisans have to an honest-to-god tiki bar (at least in atmosphere), but get this: they play reggae music. Ugh. Oh well, maybe that's your bag, but to this lowlife, if you've heard one reggae song, well, you've heard enough, LOL! That aside, the Venice is a pretty cool place. It's not one of my favorite hangouts but it's a neat place to take visiting friends and maybe even your more daring relatives. They'll at least be too busy studying the odd decorations to complain about the music.

I just called Venice Cafe' (314-772-5994), for the third time in several months and was not able to get a decent description of the decor.

ok, regarding the mainlander. i emailed all my relatives who lived in st. louis during the 60's - maybe one of them will remember location, visit, anything. or maybe not.

regarding the trader vics ~ ALAS that it has turned into a dryvit-covered hampton inn.. the humanity... although its days were numbered i suppose as that area of st. louis has been vying for all the convention dollars within the past couple years. the photos i took were the same vintage as calvojoe's so i won't post those. i was going to post the following in locating tiki, but that isn't appropiriate anymore. anyways, consider if you will the following:

you can goto http://www.tikiroom.net/gallery/album02/ahc and click on the image again to get the super-hi-res of the image - it shows pretty good the canopy in the lower right.

sorry about not notifying you all before it went keel-up... mahaloz my ohana... j$


[ Edited by: Johnny Dollar on 2004-03-09 12:43 ]

Just found a place selling a ton of Trader Vic's stuff from the St.Louis Club. I want to buy it all, but I wanted to know if anyone out there had interest enough to buy and what anyone would be interested in. Most pieces are $100 except the large tiki and totem in the last couple photos. Let me know what you think (email direct if you want) [email protected]

also, are the large tikis at the bottom Barney West?



The prices are great...I would buy them all myself at $100.00 a piece.

No, the tikis at the bottom do not appear to be Barney West carvings (at least I don't think they are).

PTD

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