Tiki Research Adventure: Pirate’s Table

Mystery ladies at Pirate's Table, 1970, from the collection of Matterhorn1959
Mystery ladies at Pirate’s Table, 1970,
from the collection of Matterhorn1959

Matterhorn1959, who runs the excellent Stuff from the Park blog, posted on Tiki Central four photos he found of a group of ladies, all dressed in black, with pink & black hats & pins, having dinner at a tiki bar somewhere in Southern California. The square, color photos are imprinted with “June 1970” and have tikis and glass float lamps in the background. An orange menu can just barely be seen in the photos.

Using some clever photo forensics, tikigreg was able to just barely make out the words “Pirate’s Table” on the menu, providing a fresh lead this mystery restaurant. Tikigreg searched on the internet and found a ship-themed Pirate’s Table in South Dakota, of all places. Tikigreg called the South Dakota Pirate’s Table, and was able to speak to Ron Beshara, the son of the founder & owner, Jim Beshara. It turns out that the South Dakota Pirate’s Table didn’t open until 1984, but the Besharas were inspired to open their restaurant after a visit to a restaurant called Pirate’s Table at the Anaheim Holiday Inn! Ding, ding, ding, ding!

Sabu the Coconut Boy was then able to chime in, right on cue, with his late-’60s brochure from the Anaheim Holiday Inn, which was just across the street from Disneyland. The brochure features full-color photos of the Polynesian Room, and the Ship’s Lounge — which shortly after the printing of the brochure must have merged into the Pirate’s Table. The photos from Sabu’s brochure are a perfect match for the scenes in Matterhorn1959’s photos. As Sabu points out, it was fairly common in those days for the establishments surrounding Disneyland to be themed in keeping with Disneyland attractions — in this case, the then-new Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Excellent investigating by all involved, with fantastic photos of a little-discussed tiki location: stellar!

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