Bali Hai, San Diego, 1958
A ’57 Chevy and ’55 Olds bookend the crosswalk and grand entrance of this candy stripe-shaded world class tiki temple tavern. Guests pose for pictures with the official mascot and greeter, Mr. Bali Hai, a giant version of the famous house souvenir tiki mug fixed at the front door.
Whether arriving by car or by boat, (they have a dock, the Bali Hai is on an “island” after all) the first thing you see when you arrive is the legendary “Goof” on the roof exactly as he’s been since 1953 perched on a palm frond thatched cone. Grinning a toothy smile, he seductively sports a stylish chef’s hat and large hoop earring.
The tiki gods of time have been kind to the Bali Hai. It’s still thriving. This week when I’m in San Diego to do my Big Retro Slide Show, April 29, at the Museum of Photographic Arts, of course I will be making a beeline to the Bali Hai by boat. Water Taxi to be exact. Taxi?
On my way out I’m gonna gift shop for the uber classic Mr. Bali Hai tiki mugs and salt and pepper shakers then for the final fan experience, strike a pose right with Mr. Bali Hai!
Here’s to another 57 years of Shelter Island’s Bali Hai and YOU!
April 26, 2012