|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
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..