Imagine the Oar House history as a giant jigsaw puzzle with the pieces scattered all over the world.  Some pieces are hidden, others right under your nose.  Now add the blight of the pieces vanishing forever with memory loss,  accidental disposal and death.   Hopefully this site will recover some of those memories.

Collecting information on the history of the Oar House/Buffalo Chips is truly an archeological project.  There are people, the founders, the movers & shakers that are still alive but they are fairly inaccessible.  This page will become more comprehensive over time as people submit their versions of oral and written history.

It would be an over slimplafacation to say that the Oar House was opened in 1964 by a group of Western Airlines pilots looking for a place to have a beer and relax on their way home from work.  But that was the buzz for years.  Gwen Florea has set the record straight.  See "in the beginning" on the afjacent column.  The other pilots came awhile later.

The  "Beach Bars" were popular at the time as being a casual local bar with sawdust on the floor and the local patrons in beach attire.  The Oar House was fashioned after one of these more infamous beach bars, the Pitcher House in Hermosa Beach. 

One on the pilots, Al Ehringer, a graduate of Cornell Hotel Restaurant management School was responsible for most the innovative characteristics of the Oar House that would make it a world renowned attraction.  Sawdust on the floor, free peanuts and a very unique musical selection differentiated the bar from most of the their competition.  The music was an eclectic mix of styles of pop, classical, cultural, sound effects and popular films & musicals.  This audio barrage of different beats & tempos stimulated the mind and in theory, allowed the patrons to burn off the alcohol...most of the time.

Over time the Oar House became very popular with the local Universities - UCLA & USC. There were many promotions targeted at the schools including a keg rental service.  Networking within the airline community made the Oar a stopover destination for airline crews, most famous being the crews from BOAC (now BA)

The Oar House was a child of the sixties.  Over time it became a popular destination fueled mostly by word of mouth.  Serving Budweiser products and the finest call drinks at low prices also contributed to its popularity.  At one point in the early seventies the Oar House was out selling all other retailers in the area..

 

Patrons were as mixed as the musical selections.  Students, local Santa Monica beach residents, surfers, celebrities, airline crews and a melting pot of SoCal fans.  Santa Monica was the official "end of the line for Route 66, the nations famous transcontinental migration route from the east.  Most young but of age pilgrims landed at the bar.  This aided in spreading the gospel of a coolest bar throughout all points back east. 

Brent Steiner has labored to complete the Oar House Genesis and it is now ready for viewing by clicking the link below.  It is interesting to note that the standard answer given to employees & customers alike about the orgins of the Oar House  was  that it was opened in 1964 by a group of Western Airlines pilots looking for a place to have a beer and relax on their way home from work." - and that is the very short answer.  Imagine that this answer was  the Big Bang Theory - an explanation of the universe.  Brent has brought to light the lit match that started the bang.

"In the beginning..." the story of the first days of the Oar House as told by Gwen Florea to Brent.  This is a mut read for all Oar House & GAF employees & customers.

OAR HOUSE TIMELINE

OAR HOUSE opens                 1964
Sixties Era   1964 - 1968
Super Sixties   1969 - 1972
Seventies Era   1973 - 1981
Eighties Era   1982 - 1993
the END    
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