Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spencecliff Corporation......

As we quickly approach the 70's Nightclub Reunion III justice would not have been served if there was no mention of a company that gave many a musician a chance to show their wares. When we played the nightclub circuit in the 70s the Spencecliff Restaurants and Nightclubs were the establishment.The Hawaiian Hut in the Ala Moana Hotel which featured bands like Phase VII, the Manilla Machine, the Sound Barrier and Chito's Express, the Beef n' Grogg on the Kalakaua strip which featured bands such as the New Experience, Golden Throat, A Sure Thing and Destiny, the Tiki in the International Marketplace which featured the Dimensions and White Light and the Hula Hut off Kalakaua on Lewers which featured Natural High, were just a few of establishments owned and run by the Spencecliff Corporation. Here's a tidbit shared by someone from the website Hawaii Threadmill on the Company formed by Spence & Cliff Weaver. A big mahalo to both Spence & Cliff Weaver for giving the many, many musicians in Hawaii a place to play and do what musicians just love to do. In my book these guys were cool!

Few people know that Spencer and Clifton Weaver were the sons of one of the nation’s leading architects. Fullerton Weaver designed the Waldorf-Astoria, the Hotel Pierre in New York City, and the Breakers in Palm Beach.

The boys’ mother was Emily Stokes, a great beauty who won the U.S. Open in mixed doubles tennis one year. The family owned an estate in East Hampton, Long Island that was called "Spencecliff."

The father took the boys on an around the world trip and they fell in love with Hawaii. They later moved here and found a job as cafeteria workers at Pearl Harbor in the late 1930s.

In 1939, they opened Swanky Franky’s Hot Dog Stand on Ena Road. Swanky Franky’s Drive-inn opened a few months later where Singha Thai Cuisine is now.

After service in World War II, they formed the Spencecliff Corporation. The Sky Room, which opened in 1948, was atop the airport terminal at John Rogers Field, a great location with constant traffic. It was a fancy place with great steaks.

Next, they purchased M’s Ranch House (and dropped M’s) and then Fisherman’s Wharf in Kewalo Basin.

One of their most famous acquisitions, in 1949, was the Waikiki beach home of millionaire Christian Holmes, heir to the Fleischmann's Yeast fortune. They turned it into Queen’s Surf.

The Barefoot Bar, upstairs at the Queen’s Surf, was one of the most popular places in town. You couldn’t get in unless you knew someone. There was always a big line.

They also purchased the lease on the site of the Kau Kau Korner in 1960, much to the dismay of owner Sunny Sundstrom, who had run the place since 1935. They turned it into Coco’s.

Spencecliff was renowned for taking care of its employees, many of whom served over 20 years. For instance, each employee received a birthday cake on the day before his or her birthday. Then they got their birthday off with pay. This was no small feat, given that they had 1,400 employees!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please allow me to introduce myself; I am the eldest daughter of Spencer and Turere Weaver and I have reclaimed the Spencecliff Coproation name in 2007. It is my vision to bring back Hawaiian music, song & dance from the Queen's Surf/Barefoot bar era of the 60's & 70's. I am currently in negotiations to acquiring a centrally located venue in Honolulu for our multi-talented artists.

I will first begin by helping to bring closure to the over 1,500 former employees at the Spencecliff "Family of Restaurants" Reunion to be held on Saturday, August 23, 2008 from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. at the Hawaiian Hut near the former Ala Moana Hotel. The cost is $35 and more information is available on the website,

These people deserve to be honored, recognized and appreciated for their years of loyal service, dedication and hard work. It is because of them, that Spencecliff became a success!

Chantal Weaver

2:50 AM  
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Anonymous Kenny Styles said...

I was the lead guitar player and lead singer for A SURETHING who played at the Beef and Grog from 71 to 74, it was wild and crazy, but We had such a great gig there. The people were great, the weed was awesome,That was one the best gigs of my life, I miss The OLD BARF AND GAG Kenny Styles

12:16 AM  

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