Saturday, December 1, 2018

Lounge Ad of the Week: The Aloha

According to The Aloha Club was a burlesque tiki bar on Third Avenue’s sailor’s row, under management of Gaspare ‘Jasper’ Matranga. Jasper hailed from Sicily, as did his brother and cousins. He was the enforcer for the Matranga family, allegedly a hitman in the Los Angeles mob. His family moved in and started taking over downtown bars in the late 1940s. Along with their other clubs next door The Cuckoo Club and the Club Royal, The Aloha Club stayed open until 2am nightly. It featured music Billy Jones and his Beachcombers, a five-piece combo, with sultry burlesque acts of Dorothy Eddy,Vivian Lee, Joy Damon‘in the flesh!’ And B-Girls galore – waitresses who mingled with the sailors, enticing them to gamble, buy more drinks, and God knows what else. The city passed an ordinance outlawing the practice, giving San Diego Vice one more excuse to raid the bars. 

 In 1954, Matranga was arrested for felony assault against one of his patrons. During an argument, he hit Alvero Gonsalves in the face with a bar glass. The fisherman required 21 stitches, and courageously pressed charges. Matranga spent a week in jail, after which a friendly judge saw the altercation as merely a misdemeanor, and let him off with a $1000 fine, giving Jasper permission to go back home to Sicily for ‘a long-planned’ vacation."

Quite a joint, eh? Since the goons were sent packing, we can enjoy our imaginary night at The Aloha in peace, with Sheena's Jungle Room providing the soundtrack. Mai Tais all around!

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