PICTURES: A Night Out at… The Hawaiian

This photograph was taken at 8.30pm on Tuesday 6 July 1976 to run with an ad in the Daily Entertainment Guide in the JEP which read: “Don’t be at the end of the queue – please make sure of your reservation in advance. Our prices are most reasonable – £1.50, £2 and £2.50. Book now!” Picture: PETER MOURANT (37428169)

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.”

Local band and Hawaiian regulars Driver, pictured in February 1980. They were described as playing everything from reggae to heavy rock and soul to off-beat jazz. Band members were Brian Hamilton (flute and guitar), Dave André (alto and tenor sax), Rob Le Quelenec (drums), Roy Hollis (vocals), Keith Curtis (lead guitar) and Doug Joseph (bass) (37428173)

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.

The venue’s Hawaiian theme extended from the decor to the staff and performers, as seen in this photograph from 1976 (37428158)

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.

Singer Frank Holder and the Hawaiian Dancers performing on reopening night in 1981 (37428154)

Polynesian Carnival was presented six nights a week with a band show on Sundays instead.

The venue invited senior citizens to a special preview of the new season’s show in 1983 (37429434)

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.

Keith, Dave, Rob and Doug from Driver (facing page) went on to form Skintight with Malachi MacCauley and are pictured here at the venue in January 1984 (37429438)

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