Akamai Barnes

Kailua-Kona, HI
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75-5687 Ali'i Dr
Kailua-Kona, HI
Opened in 1967
Closed in the 70s
No longer in operation.

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Humuhumu’s description

In 1967, CBS paid for two television pilots based in Hawai'i. One was picked up, the other was not. One was Hawaii Five-O starring Jack Lord, the other was Kona Coast starring Richard Boone. I'm sure I don't have to tell you, but just in case: Hawaii Five-O was the one that went on to glory, while Kona Coast was destined to be completely unknown.
But Warner Bros, producer of Kona Coast, chose to recoup their costs by releasing Kona Coast as a film. It still is pretty darned obscure, it barely made a squeak when it came out in 1968. But—and let's give thanks for this right now—for some oddball reason, Warner Bros decided to release Kona Coast on a very bare-bones DVD. Now you can see this terrible, wonderful show/movie. It's full of fantastic '60s Hawaiian fashion, scenes of the gritty side of Waikiki, and scenes of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.
Which brings us to Akamai Barnes. Akamai Barnes was a tiki bar, named for a Donn Beach-type character in Kona Coast, that was one of the main sets for the show, and was right on the main drag of town. Richard Boone was not just the star of Kona Coast, he was a driving force behind the project. Since the hope was that this would get picked up as a series, Akamai Barnes was open and operated as a real bar. A US Navy sailor who visited Kailua-Kona in June 1967 on the USS Tiru reports an evening spent at the bar; Richard Boone and the cast of Kona Coast were there, along with actors Lee Marvin and Jonathan Winters (who were not in the film; Lee Marvin and Richard Boone owned a charter boat together in Kailua-Kona).
After the shoot was finished, it must have been operating for some months before word came that it wouldn't be needed for the series after all. Richard Boone continued to live in Hawai'i, and kept Akamai Barnes running. A June 1968 article in Playboy references Akamai Barnes, calling it "one of the liveliest bars in the Pacific." Per an interview with a musician of the era in Kailua-Kona, he performed at Akamai Barnes for around five years, starting when it first opened.
Looking at scenes from Kona Coast and comparing them to Alii Drive today, it appears that the spot that held Akamai Barnes is now a vacant lot.

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