baltimore tiki history: the hawaiian room in the emerson hotel 1963? to 1970
okay, here is hopefully a bite-sized history morsel. baltimore once had a tiki bar! how do we know? it's mostly through the stuff left over, found in thrift shops, antique stores, flea markets, and increasingly, ebay.
anyways, the restaurant was named 'the hawaiian room' and it was located in the emerson hotel at the corner of baltimore and calvert streets. it operated from the early 60's until 1970 when the building was demolished ~ apparently the hawaiian room had to shut down because they were serving alcoholic beverages to minors. also, things downtown weren't so hot in 1970 or so i hear. but back in its heyday, you could go downtown, get some great tropical rum drinks, watch a show with fire dancers and hula girls, and eat probably the fanciest asian-style food available at the time (this was before nixon visited china, and to most roundeyes, chinese food was synonymous with chop suey).
these ceramic mugs, swizzle sticks and matchbook are the property of my friend johntiki who lives in belair. he's been researching this establishment for years. nice collection, huh?
and then, BAM... there was an article this past march in the sun about a couple who met in the hawaiian room ~ it's actually a landmark civil rights case, and the couple still lives in locust point! imagine ~ in 1960 a hawaiian and hon could not get legally married in maryland. read the article, it's tres interesting.
peep the interior of baltimore's own polynesian palace. geez i want that time machine NOW...
the menu of drinks available is great ~ from the collection of mimi payne. click on it for the higher resolution image and enjoy...
and thus, here is the reason that these mugs ended up in people's cupboards... once you drank the drank, you could take the mug home! i wonder how many of these mugs are somewhere in your great aunt's kitchen.
finally, whereas many tiki mugs were stock items used nationwide and internationally, this mug was only ever used at the hawaiian room in baltimore. it has kind of a vaguely kon-tiki look, but it also kind of reminds me of a mad amish guy... heheh.
if you ever see any of this stuff, let me know ~ there are tons of us who would love to preserve this piece of local history.