Known as the most beautiful restaurant on the beach at Wakiki, The Queen’s Surf was a highly popular restaurant and nightclub in Hawaii throughout the 1950s and 60s, gaining popularity as the yearnings for the mythologies of paradise became more and more prevalent in popular culture!

Tourists from all over flocked to The Queen’s Surf for the music, a tropical drink, amazing traditional Hawaiian food unlike anything served on the mainland, and most of all, the “Hula Cop” who entertained nightly at the famous Barefoot Bar.

The “Hula Cop” was none other than Sterling Mossman, a native Hawaiian who was famous for his wild double life; by day he acted as a Detective for the Honolulu Police Department, and by night would make the transformation to ultra suave and charming impresario and ambassador of Hawaiian culture at the Barefoot Bar.

The Mossmans have always had a special place in Hawaiian culture as a family dedicated to bringing their island’s traditions to the public forefront. In the 1920s, the Mossman family had owned and operated the “Lalani Hawaiian Village”; the first of its kind, an outdoor venue that displayed and sold traditional Hawaiian gifts and objects to tourists – it was closed with the outbreak of WWII.

The Queen’s Surf was a one-of-a-kind experience that is still remembered today for its Hollywood calibre entertainment (with Sterling Mossman doing much of the entertaining himself), and their fantastic full course traditional Luaus; held on the beach, they would definitely give tourists something to remember their trip by. A true taste and feel for life on the islands…

This visceral and enchanting experience, both luxurious and primitive, was something new, right on the brink alongside books, films, and TV Shows set against Hawaii’s lush landscape.

Excited to encapsulate on the growing curiosity and interest towards all things Hawaiian, Sterling Mossman was approached by friend and businessman Clarence Hara who seeked out Mossman to use the “Barefoot”  in the design of a new label of clothing dedicated to the Hawaiian life and style!

Decorating the walls of the Barefoot Bar were “Barefoot” symbols on signs, as well as wallpaper decorating the space. These “Barefoot” symbols became the signature for a new label inspired by Mossman, called “Barefoot in Paradise”…

“Barefoot in Paradise” was a brand known for it’s unique prints, high quality fabric, and attention to detail. It was everything you would expect from the brand that represented the “Hula Cop” – fun, fresh, dynamic, stylish, and most of all, tasteful.

In fact, Sterling Mossman (and his Barefoot Gang) would only continue to rise in popularity as novels like John Michener’s “Hawaii” became huge hits, and TV shows like the 1959 series Hawaiian Eye (based loosely on Sterling himself)  took the airwaves by storm!

Mossman would later appear in an episode of the series, as well as being featured in the pilot of Hawaii-Five O in 1968, in a set modeled after his famous bar.

Sadly, on December 31,  1969 the Queen’s Surf closed its doors, and in 1971, the historic building was demolished leaving only the memories of luaus past and legends of Hollywood glory. Over 700 people showed up for the chance to sit in the bar for one last time, and the chance to rub shoulders with a star.

Go Barefoot, as the brand is called today, still exists sans the actual “Barefoot” logo that had given birth to the brand. In the 1970s “Barefoot” sold their logo to the iconic surf brand Hang Ten, and carried on with producing Hawaiian shirts – but something was different. Somehow, it was just not the same.

Today, there are those who still reminisce about the good ole days at the Queen’s Surf. Perhaps you have your own stories. We’d love to hear them if you do. For more information, TikiCentral has been a great resource in learning more about these legends and contains tons of information on other pop culture tidbits regarding Tiki and Polynesian culture!

At the Eye of we are proud to include an amazing piece from the genesis of the “Barefoot in Paradise” brand. This rare shirt is an early example of the brand’s commitment to quality and material, as well as their daring approach to graphics and design.

The shirt features a menagerie of motifs dedicated to the concept of voyage and discovery; no doubt an ode to the many voyagers who made their way to the islands of Hawaii, turning it into the bright and culturally diverse haven it is today.

A piece of history that explains history in a fun and exciting way! You definitely do not see that very often.

All this history makes me thirsty for a Zombie, though!

Hope we capitalized on a few interesting points…

Part of the fun with vintage clothes is the stories behind them, so we are more than pleased to give you the upper hand when it comes to finding something {amazing}!

 

Thanks a lot for reading! Hope we got you smelling those fresh cut pineapples and cool ocean breeze for the rest of the day! If you have any questions or stories, email the.eye.of.faith@gmail.com

Sincerely,

{theEye}

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3 thoughts on “Voyage of Discovery: Living “Barefoot in Paradise”

    • You’re entirely right! Probably best it got shut down, before it had to see the tackiness of decades to come! Imagine the remodelling job they would give it in the 90s! Totally not worth it….Thanks for visiting!

      {theEye}

      Like

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