January 12, 2014

Tiki Tom's ~ R. I. P. <|> 2008 - 2010

        Once upon a time there was a magical state of being we called Tiki Tom's. 


  photos by Styrous®

Situated on Pier 29 of the Oakland-Alameda estuary, it was the hangout for the artists in the 'hood (Jingletown) for a very brief period of time. Like many wonders of the world, it flared brilliantly then burned itself out. LITERALLY!

The restaurant and bar burned down in October 2010 under mysterious circumstances (I was in Barcelona at the time so I have an alibi). Sean Jones got some great shots of the fire (link below). 

I had some really fun times with friends at Tiki Tom's. I drank my Jack neat while my friends sipped evil-looking dirty martinis; the food was guaranteed to seriously harden the arteries in mere minutes. The floor had thick glass panels in it so you could look down into the green water of the estuary (years earlier it looked really cool but by 'Tiki's Time' it was actually pretty rank). The joint looked like a cross between a junk store and a teenage surfer's dream gone amok with every conceivable type of tiki paraphernalia ever manufactured. There were surf boards on the ceiling, a giant fish tank and I think I saw a lava lamp somewhere. There was a neat old cannon just outside the windows you could see while you dined. Bands appeared at Tiki Tom's from time to time and there was even a marriage performed there (see link below).  

The JABC (Jingletown Arts & Business Community) held its Christmas party there in 2008 and it was a total blast. One of the JABC members, Laurel True, of The Institute of Mosaic Art, designed and installed a beautiful mosaic mural in the entrance to the restaurant. I wonder what happened to it? 

photo by Mitiki

There are videos on YouTube (links below) of the fire as well as a wild video that vividly conveys (maybe a little TOO vividly) the ambiance of Tiki Tom's; the notorious and VERY crass Tiki Tom (Tom Davies) appears in it (PG rated, by the way). Actually, as I wrote the last sentence, I realized I wrote about another colorful, on-the-same-level, waterfront denizen, Juanita of Sausalito (see link below). 

There were many juicy stories of illicit activities going on but I never saw any of it. As I said, the fire that destroyed the restaurant was considered suspicious by the authorities. Hummmm!

I remember the restaurant before it was Tiki Tom's. 

It was called Pier 29         

It was frequented by a crowd of mostly older folks. I loved to go in to have lunch and look at the water through the glass panels on the floor (it was cool at that time).

Pier 29 from Park Street Bridge - 2006

Pier 29 with cannon - 2006

canon, Pier 29 - 2006

Pier 29 - 2006

Pier 29 boat ramp - 2006

The restaurant, Pier 29, closed, moved to another location and the building lay empty and abandoned for a couple of years before Tiki Tom's made its startling appearance.

 Pier 29 entrance - 2006

Tiki Tom's

Although they are quite tame (the party pix at the joint would only get me sued!), the following photos are a tribute to those happy adventures we had at Tiki Tom's.


Styrous ~ January 12, 2014

Tiki Tom's front entrance - 2008

the frog


under the frog


the surfboards

the tacky tiki objects

and especially the food

potatoes, rice & macaroni, oh, my!

gone but certainly not forgotten

more Tiki links:

Viewfinder article on what has become of the Tiki Tom's site
Viewfinder article on Juanita's Galley

Video links:

video of Tiki Tom's (with Tiki Tom) on YouTube
video of  fire at Tiki Tom's on YouTube

Coverage of the tragic event:

Sean Jones ~ Midnight Fire photos
Alameda Sun ~ Tiki Tom's Tragedy
East Bay News ~ 3-alarm fire routes Oakland waterfront restaurant
InsideBayArea ~ Tiki Tom's destroyed by fire
InsideScoopSF ~ Tiki Tom's fire officially ruled suspicious
San Francisco Appeal ~ Police: $750K Fire At Tiki Tom’s Deemed Suspicious
San Jose Mercury News ~ Tiki Tom's destroyed by fire
Oakland North ~ After the Fire, Oakland's Love of Tiki Burns On

more articles:

Tiki Central ~ Tiki Marriage

Styrous® ~ January 12, 2014

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