Making The Friday Night Rounds
Making The Friday Night Rounds
By Robert C. King
Friday night .....Home Port Pearl. The workweek was over and you had some "Okanie" (Money) in your wallet. You headed to the Sub Base Barracks for a shower, shave' and put on some clean skivvies and civvies. Friday night usually meant you were heading out to Hotel Street, Beretania Street or Waikiki's Kalakaua Street.
Just depended on your mood or if you were heading ashore by yourself or with a shipmate. Sometimes you might have a ride to your destination or you might be using the bus. Hell! You were young, hung, and looking for fun. Strolling down Hotel Street never changed. The street was crowed with service men of all branches wandering from one watering hole to another. Some had been there awhile putting away drinks like prohibition was going to start tomorrow. They staggered and swayed while making their way down the sidewalk.
The M.P.'s and S.P.'s walked slowly through the crowd, batons in hand, and their arm bands announcing to all that passed that you had better behave or risk a night in the lock up and a Captain's Mast. All but the most wiped out revilers seemed to walk a little straighter as they passed by the "Long Arm Of The Law" and made your way past the drunks, prostitutes, and the dregs of humanity.
The music blasted out the doors of each bar you passed. Brenda Lee belted out "Sweet Dreams Of You" or as you approached the "Anchor Bar" you heard the strains of a "Country and Western" song seeping and weeping life tragedies out onto the street. The rhythms got louder and louder as you approached while the bouncer stood at the door beckoning you to enter their particular "Den Of Sin". Occasionally they might have one of the bar girls stand there to lure you inside where your money would become theirs. Tonight wasn't the night you were going to enrich their coffers though.
Onward you tread past eating joints and retailers hawking their wares that ranged from clothes or photos, to jewelry price just right....for them. Sometimes your ears were assaulted by the sounds heralded by a banner "Live Band Inside" Whether the performers were truly worthy of the title " Live Band" was debatable. You might turn and head to Beretania Street where the infamous "Dolphin Club" awaited your arrival through wooden double doors that hug on rusted hinges that left any passer by to wonder how they managed to support the peeling plywood doors.
Entering the darkened climate of the bar from the bright streetlights left one temporarily blind. The Jukebox might be playing "Up on the Roof". The smell of beer, and bodies assaulted you nostrils but you soon became acclimated to the odors.... that is until you wander into the head to drain your lizard. No one ever regretted exiting that particular part of the bar whether they were drunk or sober. Come to think of it, no one who was sober ever entered the men's room and willingly inhales the peculiar combinations of piss, shit and vomit that accrued there over the night.
Since you were a regular, there you would be greeted by the people that gave that particular bar its personality. Ronnie was the manager. He used to be a Sgt, in the Army stationed at Schofield until he was ousted from the service for performing unnatural acts or so the rumor had it. Ruby was the best looking bar girl who found it difficult to say no. She was looking for a man to support her and her kids. A common story among the gals who waited on the customers.
Big Mary was a Samoan and she seemed to be the sanest of the crew. I have seen her when she was sweet and conversational and when she was pissed and letting fly with punch that most professional prizefighters would envy.
Mooney was a permanent fixture of the bar gals. I never understand how she could get into those toreador pants. She had a good figure but a kisser that would have scared any mammal or marsupial on the planet. She generally was pleasant so what she lacked in facial beauty was more that made up for by a great personality.... sometimes.
There was another Samoan gal that was pretty with a nice figure but had body odor that would bring tears to your eyes and limit any conversation you might be willing to engage her in. She loved to laugh and play. Everyone seemed to enjoy her ....from a distance.
You might spend your evening there hoping that some sweet young thing would enter and take your heart away, but more often than not you might end up pouring yourself into a cab and going back to the barracks if you got too shit faced.
Sometime you might decide to head to Waikiki instead of the seedy side of downtown Hawaii. Waikiki was a safer place to go. If you ventured down to the waterfront, that's where the famous clock tower is that you always seen in the film about Dec.7th, you were most likely going to get mugged. That being the case, Waikiki was a better destination with better bars, and pretty young co-ed's who vacationed there and were a bit lonely.
Many bars....The Dagger Bar....long gone......The Clouds.......gone, The Hawaiian Village or the hotel bars like The Moana, The Royal Hawaiian, or The Outrigger. If the evening turned out to be a flop we might go have an early morning breakfast at 3 in the morning at a bowling alley/restaurant on the way back to the base. Eggs and "Portuguese Sausage"...delicious.
One of my favorite places after the usual bars closed was The Pearl City Tavern in Pearl City. It was a nice quite, clean place to enjoy your self without the rowdy B.S. that you found downtown Honolulu or the expensive places in Waikiki. They had a good restaurant at PCT. The upstairs had a Bonsai tree garden that I liked a lot and "The Monkey Bar" with a family of about a dozen live spider monkeys cavorting around behind a huge glass window behind the bar. They were entertaining and sometime hilarious to watch.
Of course, there were a lot of other nice places to visit on the other islands when you had a long weekend and drinking was far from all we used to do while stationed in Paradise. Most of those watering hole are just memories now, but they were a lot of fun.
Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman
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