Show and Tell Hawai'i

Where have all those icons gone? Ah, memories...

July 24th, 2009

“Where did all the fun places go?”
A friend tossed this question my way the other day.
He was reflecting on the Barefoot Bar, where Sterling Mossman and Varoa Tiki first found stardom, at the beloved Queen’s Surf Waikiki nightclub ... where Kui Lee once performed and where Elvis Presley even stopped by one night.
The site has been gone for decades, a victim of progress and change.
You have to be kama’aina (okina between the two a’s, kahako over a in aina) to remember — or have experienced — the fabric of long-gone places and performers.
Mention Hilo Hattie, and most folks now think of the struggling Hawaiian attire/souvenir emporium for Island-style gifts and aloha wear. I remember when the real Hilo Hattie (aka Clara Inter Nelson) did her classic "Hula Hop" ... and she also was the Princess Pupule —with plenty papaya — at the original Halekulani Hotel, where her beachfront stage encircled existing trees.
People, places — they come and go.
Herewith, reflections of the gone-but-not-totally forgotten — folks and sites that gave our city a distinctive personality:

Cock’s Roost
Canton Puka
Primo Garden
Polynesian Palace
Duke Kahanamoku’s
Le Boom Boom Club
Blue Dolphin
Waikiki Beef ‘n’ Grog
On Stage
Hot Rod Dinin’ & Dancin’
Maile Lounge
Da Swamp
Toppe ada Shop
Kalia Gardens
Tapa Room
Prow Lounge
Plantation Room
Garden Lanai
The Noodle Shop
Point After
Canoe House
Captain’s Table
The Clouds
Hala Terrace
The Glades
Garden Bar
Imperial Showroom
Hula Hut
Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome
Cupid’s Lounge
Pink Cadillac
Honolulu Comedy Club
Shell Bar
Oasis Nightclub
Wave Waikiki
Malia’s Cantina
Reef Showroom
The Library
Mahina Lounge
Plumeria Café
The Row Bar
Hong Kong Junk
Hana Hou Showroom
World Café
Hoku Hale Theatre
Aloha Showroom
The Dunes
Gussie L’Amour
Ship’s Tavern
Rainbow Villa
Territorial Tavern
Honolulu Comedy Club
Club Hubba Hubba
Forbidden City
In Between Lounge


The Black Orchid
Don the Beachcomber’s
The Ranch House
Hanohano Room
The Pottery
Tahitian Lanai
Royal Spaghetti House
Ship’s Tavern
A Pacific Café
The Third Floor
Golden Dragon
Green Turtle
Rose City Diner
New Tokyo
Waikiki Sands
Maile Restaurant
Top of the Ilikai
Third Floor
Queen’s Surf
Trader Vic’s
La Ronde
Padovani’s Bistro
Sunset Grill
La Mancha
Parc Café
Maile Restaurant
Surf Room
Onjin’s Café
Ray’s Seafood
The Tropics
KC Drive In
Flamingo Chuckwagon
Columbia Inn
Golden Dragon
Mezzanine Restaurant
Brew Moon
Waikiki Broiler
Yacht Harbor Restaurant
Yum Yum Tree


Alfred Apaka
Ed Kenney
Al Lopaka
Hilo Hattie
Haunani Kahalewai
Kimo McVay
The Reycards
John Rowles
Martin Denny
Moe Keale
Dick Jensen
Arthur Lyman
George Street
Emma Veary
Freddie Morris
Hot Dog Annie
Tommy Sands
The Aliis
Linda Green
The Fabulous Krush
Burgundy Express
Topp Banana
Ethel Azama
Butch Williams
Alexander and Peggy Oumansky
Rene and Akemi Paulo
Guido Salmaggi
Sterling Mossman
Jerlene Rome
Jonathan Von Brana
Napua Stevens
Eddie Kekaula
Donna Butterworth
Howard Morrison
Malia Solomon
Mike Woodward
Mai Tai Sing
Teddy and Nanci Tanaka
Anna Lea
Kit Samson’s Sound Advice
Connie Kissinger
Del Courtney
Frankie Stevens
Myrtle K. Hilo
Al Harrington
Scott Kincaide
Sterling Mossman
Johnny Todd
Liz Damon & the Orient Express
Prince Hanalei
Blue Kangaroo
Loyal Garner
Glass Candle
Myra English
Inny Young
Charles K.L. Davis
Bu La’ia
Jules Ah See
Varoa Tiki
The Dimensions
Warren Marley
Phase Seven

Got any other hangouts and folks to add to the list? E-mail your suggestions.

4 Responses to “Where have all those icons gone? Ah, memories...”

  1. Wayne Harada:

    Some responses, fetched from my personal e-mail:


    Aloha Mr. Harada,
    I enjoyed reading the Memories of Hawaii now-gone icons. I like to walk down memory lane, especially Hawaii's. I was born in 1952, the "territory of Hawaii" and have seen our islands change drastically in a short time. Back when we rode the Kaneohe taxi to town over the old Pali road:)
    I thought of some other items which I didn't see listed.

    I remember Arthur Lyman

    I loved to eat at the Tropics. My mom was a "divorcee" and dated a fellow named Johnny, he was a detective in charge of confiscated goods at the old police station on Beretania, the old Sears. He was one of those guys that knew everyone then turns out he got busted for confiscating goods for his own personal use! He used to give my brother and I silver dollars to go spend while they ate and drank. We'd hang out at the old A-1 Superette on the corner of Kalakaua and Royal Hawaiian, he had great selection of comics, 10 cents! We'd walk back to Tropics only to stop and look at the golden fish in the pond in front of the old Waikiki theatre.

    My mom re-married, my stepdad used to hang out at Honey's in Kaneohe. Also Don Ho and Kui Lee hung out there, I was to young to go but was told there was always Primo and good music. Kui Lee rented a house up the street from ours and I remember Don coming over a lot and I remember lots of pretty girls always visiting....:)

    Thanks for the ear and I thought I'd jog your memory of Honey's and Arthur Lyman:)
    Dianne (Murakami) Reilly


    I'm sure you're getting lots of emails from folks!

    Here's another that I think should have been on the
    list of restaurants and who could ever forget him? Michel Martin & Chez Michel! I have 2 great sets
    of recipes illustrated by his dear friend (and mine) Guy Buffet on our dining room walls.
    Thanks for the memories - my husband already emailed about our beloved Club Jubilee or "Jubes" if you will.
    Aloha and a hui hou - Marianne 😉


    Mr. Harada...Thank you so much for writing the article Memories of Hawaii, in Honolulu Advertiser July 24, 2009. It brought back so many memories. I came to Hawaii in 1960. Those were the day's my friend!

    Mahalo and Aloha,


    Was just reading your story in the Friday paper, "Memories of Hawaii's now-gone icons endure"
    As I looked over the 5 pictures you had, I immediately noticed an error. The top left picture which you identify
    as Studebaker's is in fact The Hard Rock Cafe. Studebakers did not have a Woody hanging the ceiling,
    Hard Rock does. Studebakers was known for their Red Studebaker in the front entrance.

    But I do agree with you, where did all the fun go.

    Frankie Quinabo


    You left out the House Of Hong in your memories piece on July 24. It was a leading restaurant in the center of Waikiki on Lewers Street for 40 years.

    Regards, Art Richardson - husband of Gayle Hong


    WAYNE.............Don't forget Rosalie Stevenson (she sang
    the greatest 'Hawaiian Wedding Song' w/Alfred Akpaka

    ..................also, going way back, into the 1940's a
    restaurant (where the Ilikai stands now) called
    P.Y. CHONG'S..............only place in town to get a steak
    Lee Van Epps (ex Kaneohe resident for 32 years)
    now in Sacramento


    Nice article on closed/gone places/people. Brought back a lot of memories.
    Aloha Don


    Clay Wheeler was the hottest action in town in 1954 through 1968...All of the Hollywood's finest made sure the saw my dad...If you didn't do Canlis you were a schmuck

    Mike Wheeler


    HI: My name is Sandy Conrad (daughter of Connie Conrad) and I loved your column about all the missing restaurants and night spots...But what about M's on Merchant Street and Rex and Erics on Kuhio.....I loved both those places...Aloha Sandy -in fact it is hard to find a good place to eat now that all those great places are gone...


    Greetings Wayne, I loved your Memories column in this morning’s Advertiser, but how could you forget Clay Wheeler the pianist at Canlis when it first opened in 1954..

    That was the classiest act in town…oops! Sorry , that may have been before your time…Anyway, I am so glad you did not really retire, you are always a pleasure..Aloha, Jane Miller


    Aloha Wayne,

    Very glad you are keeping your byline active. Today's compendium
    of now gone icons was amazing. May I add two? Infinity under the
    Sheraton Waikiki, and Nicholas Nickolas atop the Ala Moana. I was
    the Maitre D' at NN for more than 20 years, and honestly believe
    that for 5 or 6 years, late 80's-early 90's, we were THE spot in
    Honolulu. Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane.


    Skip Lambert
    Marketing and Events Director
    Lulu's Surf Club Waikiki Beach


    Wayne Harada's July 24th Show & Tell Hawai'i "Memories of Hawaii's now-gone icons" column was freshingly memorable of those Hawaii times days! Bring back Night Spots Duke Kahanamokus, Hana Hou Showroom, Trappers and Keone's! Bring back Restaurants, Coco's, The Ranch House, Golden Dragon and Flamingo Chuckwagon! Bring back Entertainers Alfred Apaka, Hilo Hattie, Martin Denny, Don Ho and The Aliis! \Hawaii Long Ago, I Do Like For Its' Fun-Fifties Era Spike!
    Hawaii Long Ago - Frankie Kam

  2. Wayne Harada:

    This response, from KennyG:

    Some notable people, clubs and restaurants you have missing from your July 24, 2009 Honolulu Advertiser article.

    Night Spots:

    Captain Nemo

    Bobby McGee's

    La Mancha

    Hawaiian Hut @ Ala Moana hotel

    Territorial Tavern

    Bully Haynes



    Saigon Passion

    Hula's Bar & Lei Stand




    Opus One

    Polynesia Palace

    Sugar Mill lounge-Hale Makai hotel

    Merry Monarch

    Red Noodle



    Black Angus

    Bryon II

    King's Bakery

    Kuhio Grill

    Blue Goose

    Little George


    Nicholas Nicholas

    Nick's Fishmarket




    Washington Saimin Stand


    Country Comfort


    Booga Booga- Rap Reiplinger

    Melveen Leed

    Augie Rey

    Brother Noland

    Jimmy Borges


    Ginny Tiu

    Carole Kai

  3. Lee Van Epps:

    ALSO don't forget that tiny place WONG'S OKAZUYA in Ala Moana,
    they served the best saimin, Nabeyaki Udon and Cone Sushi in the
    Pacific......also everyone's favorite THE TAHITIAN LANAI (sob) they
    served the best Eggs Benedict in the world, and their Bloody Marys
    weren't bad either, and at night in the Tahitian Lanai Bar, you could
    listen to Betty Loo's tinkling on the piano, sometime bringing tears to
    your eyes........Anybody remember the Waikiki Merry-Go-Round Bar,
    the perfect place for us airline types to lunch, and if you were there when
    the beer truck came, guess what, free beer!

  4. David In Oregon:

    It's too bad you don't have pictures of these places. That would have been absolutely incredible. Sadly, with this down economy, I think more and more places will join the list of icons no longer around.

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