Entries in the 'News' Category

December 27, 2006

Portland’s Thatch Opening Soon

Filed under: Events,News,Portland,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:52 pm
Pander Bros. velvet painting, for Thatch
Pander Bros. velvet painting, for Thatch

Robert Volz has been working on his new tiki bar, Thatch, for a loooong time now, and it looks like the work is finally wrapping up. Robert reports that while Thatch will not be open in time for New Year’s Eve as he’d once hoped, he is now aiming to have a preview party for VIPs and Tiki Centralites on January 5. Those who are interested in attending can send Robert (a.k.a. Robertiki) a personal message on Tiki Central to score an invite. No word yet on the grand opening date for the general public. Robert is pictured above, along with a large black velvet painting for Thatch by Portland artists the Pander Bros.

December 11, 2006

New Hula’s Location in Santa Cruz

Filed under: Denver,Monterey & Big Sur,News,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:16 pm
Hula's Island Grill & Tiki Bar in Santa Cruz, photo by Citibeach
Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Bar in Santa Cruz, photo by Citibeach

I’m absolutely tickled to see pictures of the new location of Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Bar in Santa Cruz on this thread on Tiki Central. My visit last year to the original location, which is still pulling in the local crowds in Monterey, was a revelation. The space was a triple threat of great decor, great drinks, and even more shockingly: great food. Having grown up in the epicure’s heaven that is Seattle, my standards for food are pretty darned high, and Hula’s is the only Tiki-themed joint that has had food I considered truly wonderful.

In my trip report from last August, I passed along the news from Hula’s co-owner Chris that they were hoping to open a second location in a new city, with a stronger focus on creating an elegant tiki environment (the original location started out more generic/surf-themed). I crossed my fingers back then that they would choose a city near mine, and I got my wish — their new location is in Santa Cruz, and the drive there is the same distance as my drive to Forbidden Island, in the opposite direction.

The owners have recruited some assistance from all corners in developing the space’s decor, including help from Bosko, Oceanic Arts, ‘Onatiki, Polynesiac and Tiki Tony. They’ve consulted with Forbidden Island’s Martin Cate in developing the bar. The pictures look extraordinarily inviting, and I envision a visit in my very near future. While I’m there, I’ll get the latest scoop on the related location in the works for Denver — the latest report on Tiki Central is that it’s to be called “The Hut” and work is starting next month on a location on South Broadway.

December 8, 2006

The Return of Sam’s Seafood?

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:06 pm
Sam's Seafood, on PCH in Orange County
Sam’s Seafood, on PCH in Orange County

Sam’s Seafood, an Orange County tiki institution, closed rather suddenly this past summer, when the owners sold the land to developers aiming to erect retail space and condominiums on the site. It appeared even then that any development would likely be delayed for a few years, and there were questions about what would happen to the restaurant in the interim. The bar has been open sporadically and briefly now and then over the past few months, likely in an effort to keep the liquor license active in the case that the restaurant may reopen.

Now comes word that indeed, the restaurant is reopening. Much is still not known — if the situation is still as it stands last June, it may simply be a way to make money off the site until the redevelopment can begin a few years down the road. When Sam’s closed, there were many rumors of the decor being scatted to the four winds, not to mention the tattered pieces that landed in the dumpster. Sam’s is a large space, and was in need of much repair; while it would be wonderful to see it restored, the cost to do so would not be small, and may not be worth it if the ultimate plan is still to only have the restaurant operating for a few years.

Regardless, Sam’s is coming back, which has many locals very, very happy. The timetables I’ve heard range from “soon” to “in a couple weeks.” It will be interesting to see what kind of shape Sam’s is now in, and what the future now holds. One thing we can be sure of — the food and drinks of the new restaurant’s management can only be an improvement.

For the latest updates, stay tuned to this thread on Tiki Central.

November 7, 2006

Islands Update: Here Come the Jackhammers

Filed under: News,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:05 pm
Islands Restaurant after first day of renovation, photo by Mr. NoNaMe
Islands Restaurant after first day of renovation, photo by Mr. NoNaMe

The past day has brought a series of confirmations and more information about the remodeling of the Islands Restaurant and Hanalei Hotel in San Diego. Much of the information comes from an email from Otto von Stroheim’s Tiki News mailing list. Otto is the organizer of the Tiki Oasis event that will be at the Hanalei Hotel in August 2007. Otto was able to speak to the upper management of the hotel directly, so this information should be pretty solid. Much of the decisions around these changes, or the direction to make changes, came from the Red Lion corporate office the hotel’s owners (see update below).

Here’s a quick summary:

  • The hotel’s name is changing. The new name is not known, but it will no longer have “Hanalei” in it. According to Otto, “This was mandated in order to raise the status of the property.”
  • The Islands Restaurant “[is] going to be more TROPICAL than TIKI,” per the GM.
  • The waterfalls and the waterway into the restaurant are being removed.
  • The Dragon Room will be removed.
  • The bamboo in the Islands is staying, the glass floats might stay, but all the other tiki decor in the restaurant is being removed. It’s not known yet what the fate of these items will be. There’s a chance the artifacts will be put on dispay for Tiki Oasis attendees, but this has not been worked out yet. The large outrigger sign is staying.
  • On the first day of renovation, all of the artifacts in the Islands Restaurant have been removed and boxed up for storage.
  • The Islands Restaurant’s monkeypod tables are staying, and $38,000 is being spent to refinish them.
  • Some walls are being knocked down, and an outdoor patio is being added, to expand seating.
  • Windows are being added to overlook the patio and pool.
  • Food & drink menu will be unchanged. Tiki mugs will be used for serving.
  • Carved railings removed from the Islands Restaurant will be relocated into the tropical, tikified Atrium area in the hotel tower.
  • Landscaping is being enhanced with a $20,000 budget, and fresh palapas have been added.
  • Room rates are increasing, but this won’t affect Tiki Oasis 2007, because Otto locked those rates in before these changes.

There have been discussions on Tiki Central about writing letters — while it’s never a bad idea to let these places know that you’re specifically patronizing them because of their tikiness, I must sadly say that I think this course is unchangeable. For one, it may just be too late — the restaurant has already been gutted, and jackhammers are scheduled to be there today, probably to rip out the water features. Another reason is that the Hanalei has over the years morphed into a conference hotel. They don’t flinch at individual people’s opinions, they focus on what helps them court large group reservations, and what those groups want is a larger restaurant. Writing to let the Hanalei know that you support their keeping the tiki they still have can’t hurt, though.

So essentially — the Islands will now be a more generic tropical restaurant, with some hints of what it once was, and probably still worth seeing. The hotel itself, while changing its name, will still have plenty of great tiki on-site in the Atrium, including the great artifacts from Stephen Crane’s Luau in Beverly Hills. The big question at this point is what will happen to all the items that have come out of the Islands Restaurant. I hope they find a way to keep them on-site and visible.

UPDATE: The Hanalei’s banquet manager, Joel Delano (whose blog was my tipoff that changes were afoot at the Islands) has chimed in with more info, in a comment on this post. The hotel is becoming part of the Crown Plaza chain of hotels, and will reportedly be renamed the “Crown Plaza San Diego.” He’s also posted another entry on his blog, giving a bit more info: he says the fountain pictured at the top of my last post is currently slated to stay, and that he thinks the glass floats that Otto was told would most likely stay may not stay after all.

November 6, 2006

San Diego’s Islands Restaurant Renovation?

Filed under: News,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:18 am
Fountain at the Islands Restaurant in the Hanalei Hotel, San Diego
Fountain at the Islands Restaurant in the Hanalei Hotel, San Diego

Joel Reis reports on his blog that the Island Restaurant at the Hanalei Hotel in San Diego closed yesterday for some apparently drastic renovations. The Islands Restaurant has been at the Hanalei since it opened in 1966. The hotel was once a beautiful example of midcentury Polynesian Pop architecture and design, but sadly has been updated over the years to a bland cookie-cutter chain hotel (currently owned by Red Lion). The hotel has managed to keep a few wonderful pieces through these renovations, including several items that came out of the historic Luau in Beverly Hills when it closed.

Fountain at the Islands Restaurant in the Hanalei Hotel, San Diego
Fountain at the Islands Restaurant
in the Hanalei Hotel, San Diego

While the Islands Restaurant has not emerged unscathed from these renovations, it has still retained enough of its decor to be a very worthwhile stop for the travelling tikiphile; indeed, the hotel was host to the annual Tiki Oasis event last year, and is scheduled to host the event again in 2007. It is one of the very few restaurants remaining in the world that give the feeling of stepping into the golden era of Tiki. It’s not yet clear what this latest renovation has in store for the Islands, but it sounds devastating.

From Joel Reis’ blog:

The Hanalei is undergoing extensive remodel in the next 6 months and the first stage is the remodel of the hotel’s signature restaurant. This waterfall is one of the victims of the remodel. It has been there for decades along with priceless tiki artifacts as well as Monkeypod tables (which is a now endangered wood native to the South Pacific). The tables are supposed to return, since they truly are priceless at this point, but the fate of many of the artifacts is in question. Most are supposed to return, maybe not to the restaurant, but around the property. But there has been rumour that they may not return and simply be liquidated at bulk to some collector.

The waterfalls mentioned in his blog are at the entrance to the restaurant, and can be seen in the pictures above, taken in 2004. They are dramatic and beautiful, and I simply cannot fathom why the hotel would want to remove them. This news is just crushing, and surprising, considering that the hotel has become host to one of the largest annual events for tikiphiles, drawing hundreds of people. A very strange and disconcerting development.

I’ve heard nothing about this beyond this one blog post, so I wouldn’t say it’s verified. Stay tuned for information as I learn more.

November 2, 2006

London: CheekyTiki Night at Mahiki

Filed under: Events,London,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:39 pm
Mahiki in London, photo by tikiracer
Mahiki in London, photo by tikiracer

London’s new tiki bar, Mahiki, opened just a couple of days ago. Some speak preview pictures have been posted to Tiki Central, and the place looks dark and elegant — just how I like my tiki bars! I’m eager to hear some reports now that it’s open to the public. Mahiki’s location at 1 Dover Street in Mayfair is just a few blocks from where the Mayfair Beachcomber once was. Legend has it that Joseph Banks, a botanist who gained his fame as part of Captain Cook’s 1768 expedition to Tahiti, stayed at 1 Dover Street and regaled visitors with tales of his South Seas adventures while mixing drinks with rum and botanicals he had collected.

Cheekytiki is throwing a party at Mahiki on November 10, starting at 6:30 p.m. From Tiki Chris:

What:
Bring your aloha spirit to Mahiki: London’s newest tiki bar designed, decorated, and kitted out by CheekyTiki. Come see what we’ve been up for the past few months!

Where:
Mahiki
Number 1 Dover Street
Mayfair (Green Park Tube)
London W1S 4LD

When:
6:30 pm until ???
Friday
10 November 2006

How:
Please RSVP by replying to chris@cheekytiki.com and let us know how many will be in your party.

October 3, 2006

Mahiki: New London Tiki Bar on its Way

Filed under: London,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:19 am
Mahiki, a new London tiki bar by Cheekytiki
Mahiki, a new London tiki bar by Cheekytiki, artwork by tiki racer

Cheekytiki, the London-based purveyors of all manner of tiki goodness, have a new trick up their sleeves — a tiki bar set to open soon in Mayfair. This new venture, called Mahiki, is sure to be lovely, given the fantastic talents of the people behind Cheekytiki. To stay up to date with the latest Mahiki news, get on the Cheekytiki mailing list.

September 28, 2006

Last Remnants of Don the Beachcomber in Waikiki Sent to Dumpster

Filed under: Hawaii,History,Las Vegas,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:29 pm
Last remnants of Don the Beachcomber at Waikiki's International Marketplace
Last remnants of Don the Beachcomber
at Waikiki’s International Market Place,
photo from Fil Slash

A tragic and shocking development in Waikiki: these two moai posts, which are the last reminders of Don the Beachcomber’s glorious presence at the International Market Place in Waikiki, have reportedly been sent to the dump.

These moai used to stand sentry at the Dagger Lounge and Bora Bora Bar part of Don the Beachcomber. The original Don the Beachcomber location in Hollywood kicked off the entire Polynesian Pop trend; he led the charge once again after he moved to Hawaii, and created the International Market Place with his Don the Beachcomber restaurant as the centerpiece. The International Market Place also held a Trader Vic’s, and became a major tourist hub in Waikiki.

This space is being renovated to accomodate a new Quicksilver store, and local tikiphiles have been keeping a close eye on the renovations. Despite assurances that there were no plans to remove the structural moai posts, they are now missing. Remarkably, the construction crew reportedly tossed them in to a dumpster that was taken to the dump.

It’s a terrible shame that a lovely piece of the International Market Place’s history has been treated so shabbily, and that the location of these tikis is now complately unknown. It seems hard to believe that anyone would actually throw them away; perhaps they went home with a member of the construction crew. There have been rumblings about Don the Beachcomber re-opening in Las Vegas; I’m not sure how that’s coming along, but surely that would have been a better home for these historic tikis than the dump.

UPDATE: Holden Westland, owner of Tiki Farm, passes along this news via Tiki Central:

I am happy to let you all know that I received a phone call with the whereabouts of these 2 special Moai and they are safe and will soon be revitalized in a place very befitting of their dignity not too far from their original location.

Verrrrry mysterious… but it sure sounds a lot better than the dump.

September 23, 2006

Everywhere: Waitiki Live Webcast Performance

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,Music,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:24 pm
Waitiki, performing at the Mai Kai in 2005
Waitiki, performing at the Mai Kai in 2005

One of my favorite bands, Waitiki, will be broadcasting a live performance straight to your computer this coming Wednesday, September 27, at 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific). Waitiki has a lineup of über-talented, classically trained musicians, and they can do Exotica like nobody’s business. They performed a set of Martin Denny songs at the Mai Kai during last year’s Hukilau that was positively transcendent. They will be performing at the offices of Eons.com in Charlestown, MA, and everybody’s invited, thanks to the magic of streaming video. There will also likely be a chat session, hosted by Brother Cleve.

But this will just whet your whistle for the really great news: Waitiki is coming back to the Mai Kai for this year’s Hukilau! Details have not yet been revealed, but the boys report that they just couldn’t stay away after the great time they had last year, so they’re coming down on their own shiny nickel to participate. I can’t wait to get drunk with them again… er, I mean, I can’t wait to hear them again.

For details on the webcast and chat session, keep an eye on Waitiki’s website. Okonkulukú!

September 21, 2006

Mission Hills: Lucky Tiki Closing This Saturday

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:59 pm
Sign for the Lucky Tiki
Sign for the Lucky Tiki

As I reported back in February, the Lucky Tiki‘s lease is being terminated, and they must move to a new location. The original plan had them closing for (hopefully) one month starting at the end of September, while they moved to a new North Hollywood location. The last I heard was that the move had been delayed, but now it appears that the date has been moved up, to this weekend. Saturday, September 23 will be the last day for the Lucky Tiki… at least, at its Mission Hills location. It also appears that the North Hollywood location is no longer happening, and a new location search is underway. Hopefully the search will be a short one!


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Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

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