1111 West Bancroft St.
Opened in 1960
Closed in 1970
Not yet rated
Aku Aku was a "Polynesian Room" located in the Town House Motel, and hosted major acts between its opening in 1960 and its closure in 1970. Performers included Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington, Henny Youngman, and Phyllis Diller. The Glen Covington Trio was the house band in the early 1960s. The club was owned by Irving "Slick" Shapiro, a bookmaker with a number of arrests under his belt by the time the Aku-Aku opened. The club was popular with both city leaders and the mob.
While the Aku Aku has an impressive history, and some stunning use of tiki iconography, the room itself was actually streamlined modern, and not the themed, immersive faux paradise more commonly aspired to in the '60s.