AMONG the much-loved venues which boomed in the heyday of Jersey’s entertainment scene was the Hawaiian at Portelet.
It was so popular that in 1976 it ran an advert with just a picture of a line of people at the door under the words: “They’re still queueing up at the Hawaiian. Book now.”
There was a rumour that year that the venue was being sold as it was turning away agents’ offers for shows. But proprietor Chris Savva quashed it with the words: “My grandfather, Haji Savva, would turn in his grave if he heard that I had sold the Hawaiian without buying better premises, which I don’t think I would find in Jersey.”
Cypriot-born Mr Savva moved to the Island in 1956 and opened the Hawaiian in the mid-1960s, turning it into what the JEP described as “one of the most patronised places of its kind in Jersey” with its Polynesian Fiesta Floor Show, cabaret and dancing.
In 1980, he embarked on an ambitious redevelopment programme, phase one of which was ready for the opening of the 1981 season on 9 May. The Polynesian Carnival returned with some up-and-coming new acts, backed by the Hawaiian Dancers and the Mike Wilson Band. All in all there would be 14 entertainers on stage in a nightly show which started at 8.30pm and went on non-stop until 12.15am. The average admission charge was £2.50 and a whisky cost 35p.
Polynesian Carnival was presented six nights a week with a band show on Sundays instead.
But the good days were not to last forever. In 1984, Mr Savva decided to sell saying that for the past three years the venue had struggled to make a profit, for which he blamed competition from Fort Regent.
Later that year the new owner put in an application for 44 self-catering flats at the site.
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