Welcome to the Trident!

Welcome to the “original” Trident Restaurant’s web log! This site would like your help collecting photos, stories, and memories, from employees, patrons, and anyone that frequented this unique establishment/ experience from 1966 to 1976.

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The Kingston Trio’s Trident, at 558 Bridgeway in Sausalito, uniquely reflected what was going on in the late 60′s and through the mid 70′s in the Bay Area. New York had Club 54 San Francisco had the Trident.  David Crosby called the Trident, “Ground zero for sex, drugs, and Rock and Roll!  Robin Williams worked there as a bus boy. Janis Joplin had her own table when she came in. Clint Eastwood and Sonny Barger (head of the Hell’s Angel’s) hung out regularly at the bar together. In 1972 and 1975, after their concerts, the Rolling Stones held private parties thrown by Bill Graham. The night the Trident closed in 1976, most of the employees had taken some sort of mind altering substance ,and the “kind” was freely indulged in throughout the evening … without any incidents or trouble from the Sausalito Police who were in attendence. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many stories here.  All surprisingly true!

What a trip!

Have the times changed? Your thoughts, stories, photos, and memories are welcomed!

We’ll Always Love You Robin!

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And we always did… 

Robin worked at the Trident Restaurant in Sausalito, California in 1974, 1975, and 1976.

Robin was the first person I met in 1974 when I was hired to work  there. He trained me as a busboy.  In 1976 the Trident closed for repairs, and we went out looking for work together. On our second day out we were  interviewed together (only job interview I’ve had with another person?), and hired to work at the Sausalito Food Company as bus boys.

In 1977 , while we were working at the Sausalito Food Company, Robin joined an improvization group that was performing nightly for two weeks at Gatsby’s Bar  on Caldonia Street in Sausalito.  Every night he was amazing, and stood out from the rest of the performers.  The second week there a writer (or writers) from the Richard Pryor Show on NBC  were sitting at the bar.

The following week Robin was introduced on the show as one of the show’s new writers?  Shortly thereafter  he would become a regular performer on the Richard Pryor Show.

Robin was discovered at Gatsbys in Sausalito in the fall of 1977.

Curiously, in all these remembrances, this period of his life has been left out?

Illustration by Hilary Slaughter 2014

  Jeff Burkhart “The Barfly” Remembering Robin 

Early Cirque Du Soleil

18RobinEricHertaOne2014Not too many people know that Cirque Du Soleil began in the parking lot of the Trident back in the mid 70′s.  This also was thought to be a pyramid scheme but was simply multi-level marketing.   Very clever in its day …..  Herta, Eric, and Robin …top to bottom…

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Thanks For Dropping In….

3JimMarshallPanHandleSFGRoupsRock2014 As many of you already know the musical groups that created the “San Francisco sound” in the sixties lived in Marin County.  This photo was taken by Jim Marshall in the San Francisco Panhandle.  This photo includes the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the Charlatans all of which were frequent visitors to the Trident back in the day. Tune in, turn on,  and thanks for coming by!

Vince Guaraldi

          John Beck wrote in the Marin Independent Journal’s Here Magazine recently that, “Vince Guaraldi became an institution at Clubs like the Hungry i in San Francisco, and the Trident in Sausalito.”

          At this year’s Sausalito Film Festival director Andrew Thomas and producer Toby Gleason premiered their new film The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi. Guaraldi saw himself as a boogie-woogie player, and didn’t want to write hits, he wanted to write standards. Vince Guaraldi passed away at the age of 47. In this film, putting his life into perspective are such luminaries as George Winston, Dave Brubeck, Dick Gregory, Malcolm boyd, and David Benoit.
 
          Curiously, the one time Mill Valley resident may be best remembered for scoring more than a dozen songs for the “Peanuts” TV Specials and pulling off the ultimate slight of hand where he made parents and children bob their heads and tap their toes without even knowing they were listening to Jazz.

For the entire John Beck article click on:  Vince Guaraldi The Most Unknown Jazz Musician 

Click here for Paul Libertore’s Vince Guaraldi article: George Winston Pays Tribute to Marin Jazz Pianist Vince Guaraldi

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Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company

Sam Andrew is a musician, playwright, and painter from west Marin and knew the Trident (Horizons today) well. He was Janis Joplin’s guitar player in Big Brother and the Holding Company and her Full Tilt Boogie Band.  The Trident was one of their favorite hangouts.

Notes by Sam Andrew about the Trident restaurant when writing a play about the “Counter Culture” movement:

 ” A guy came into the Trident with a roll of Necco Wafers.  You remember the candy?  And, each wafer had a drop of Blue Acid on it. He went around the Trident one morning giving one to each person, waitresses, busboys, the manager, who was then Skip Cutty, and all the kitchen staff.  The place was dosed big time and as the lunch hour peaked so did the staff!  One waitress was pouring coffee until the customer started shouting at her as the coffee was overflowing from the cup to the saucer and on to the table as the waitress stared at the wonder of it all!

Also at the Trident, “windowpane” was being passed around the kitchen.  The two cold side cooks, the guys that made the salad and sandwiches as opposed to the guys on the hot side that made steaks and hot dishes, decided to share a hit.  So they put it on the cutting board in front of the refrigerated containers that held ample portions of ambrosia, green and mixed salads, to cut it in half.  As the chef’s knife cut through the gelatin of window pane the two halves popped out of sight.   They froze looking at each other for a second and then started laughing.   Later that afternoon, a woman customer was so enthusiastic about the deliciousness of her salad that the maitre d’ thought maybe she was a bit tipsy.”

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Phil Lesh Grateful Dead

18PhilLeshGD I use to eat lunch with Phil Lesh when he was in town, we would drive on weekdays to the Trident from San Rafael in his car for a legit reason to drive somewhere FURTHER than Marin Joes.    If I remember correctly, Kelly had something to do with the tee-shirt design. I don’t remember buying it, but I do remember having a Trident shirt.  David Crosby talks about the Trident and his sailboat in his first book.

Photo and post courtesy of Tom Smith
(Photo taken at Giant Stadium in 1978)

The Trident and the Tequila Sunrise

ABOUT A YEAR AGO   Mark Lomas, a former bartender who runs the Trident Restaurant website, and I had lunch. We sat in the main dining room of the Trident in Sausalito and swapped bar stories. I had once worked at the briefly reopened Ondine, which was above the original Trident.

Owned by the Kingston Trio, the Trident was way ahead of its time. From 1966 to the mid- 1970s it was the place to be in the Bay Area. Famed for its beautiful waitresses and musical pedigree, it also featured such innovations as sashimi, a fresh juice bar and an espresso bar.

After numerous stories about rock ‘n’ rollers, waitresses, Robin Williams (once a busboy at the Trident), Lomas mentioned that the tequila sunrise had been invented there.

Now, I was reasonably sure that the tequila sunrise had been invented long before that, but I tucked away that information along with the phone number of the bartender who supposedly did that inventing.

From my research, I learned that:

• The Arizona Biltmore hotel claims that bartender Gene Sulit invented the tequila sunrise there in the late 1930s, consisting of tequila, lime juice, soda and crème de cassis.

• The recipe most people are familiar with; tequila orange juice and grenadine appeared for the very first time in the 1974 version of Mr. Boston’s Bartender’s Guide.

Hmmm.

Drink origins are always a little murky. Take the martini, for instance. The town of Martinez claims that it was invented there in 1874. In fact it put up a historical landmark to “certify” the event. It doesn’t seem to matter that the drink invented there was called the Martinez Special, or that it included bitters, as well as a different kind of gin and a totally different kind of vermouth. There it sits, certified in stone: “Birthplace of the Martini.”

Eventually I called the so-called inventor of the tequila sunrise. Bobby Lazoff, 63, splits his time between computer IT work and teaching tutorials while living in Hawaii. But back in 1969 he was a fresh-faced 20-year-old looking for work in Sausalito. “I did about two or three days as a dishwasher,” he said. “Then I was a busboy and when I got old enough I became a bartender.” He claimed to have taken the bartending very seriously. “The Trident was a rock ‘n’ roll haven and tequila was the ‘in’ drink,” he said. So he and another bartender, Billy Rice, started experimenting. “Anything made with gin or vodka we started making with tequila,” he said. “A couple of them didn’t turn out too well.” One drink that did turn out well was a resurrected tequila sunrise. “We built it in a chimney glass; a shot of tequila with one hand, a shot of sweet and sour with the other hand, the soda gun, then orange juice, float crème de cassis on top, grenadine if you wanted, and that was it, the tequila sunrise.” Eventually, the bartenders simplified the recipe to just tequila, orange juice and grenadine.

“We had a Rolling Stones party (the kickoff of the media frenzy that was their 1972 tour) one Monday night when we were usually closed,” Lazoff said. “The owner called me in and put me behind the bar. We had a select menu, a couple of the prettier waitresses and that was the party. Bill Graham brought in about 35 people, and you know the place holds several hundred. Mick came up to the bar and asked for a margarita, I asked him if he had ever tried a tequila sunrise, he said no, I built him one and they started sucking them up. After that they took them all across the country.”

OK, I thought, all I had to do was get the Rolling Stones to verify that and we could reasonably assume that Lazoff might be indeed be responsible for the most recognizable incarnation of the tequila sunrise.

Rather unlikely. As a result, the story sat until I picked up Keith Richards’ book “Life,” published this past October. Chapter nine, sentence No. 1: “The ’72 tour was known by other names — the cocaine and tequila sunrise tour … ” I could not believe my eyes.

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I realized that I should probably be a little more trusting, and that the Trident might want to look into historical markers.

Jeff Burkhart is an author, regular contributor to National Geographic Assignment and an award-winning bartender at a Marin restaurant. Contact him at jeffb@thebarflyonline.com.  The National Geographic Article by Jeff, Not Just Another Tequila Sunrise, can be found elsewhere on this site. Similar, but completely different. Or, as they say, “The Same Difference?”

The Legendary Larry

“Long-haired freako” embraced by the Mill Valley golf society By Jason Walsh
This article appeared in the Pacific Sun in March of 1977

The Legend of Bagger Larry

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One of Marin’s finest golfers of the 1970s was facing something of a personal dilemma – should he give up Marijuana if it would lower his handicap?

Larry Kimzey, a “confirmed pot head” of eight years, according to Sun reporter George Frazier, wasn’t taking lightly the possibility of sacrificing his passion for the “greener” in favor of his passion for the greens. But alas, he worried his frequent lighting of the chronic was hurting his short game.

“It’s affecting my memory,” lamented Kimzey, whose average score was then in the 80s. “And what is putting the memory – trying to remember that ‘touch’ of ‘feel’ of putting” The 26 year old held dreams of going pro, but was concerned the he too often “ends up looking like a spazo around the greens.”

Kimsey, at the time, was living in a diplapidated truck near Sausalito’s Gate 5 and he estimated his cost of living at about $250 a month. He was also the newest member of the prestigious Mill Valley’s Golf Club.

“That long hair freako often seen hitch hiking between Sausalito and Mill Valley with a bag over his shoulder is Kimzey,” wrote the reporter.  But why, in the words of Frazier, would the posh Mill Valley’s Men’s Golf Club “totally accept…a stoned golf nut?”  Kimzey put it down to two primary qualities his fellow golfers were looking for in a club member: “I don’t run off at the mouth in a crazed manner…and I don’t smoke dope with the older guys.”

At this juncture in his life, Kimzey considered golf his chosen profession. ” I don’t play golf for pleasure,” he said. “It’s like a job…this is what I do.” But it wasn’t long before that when Kimzey was juggling a pair of careers that may have ultimately kept him out of Mill Valley “High Society”: selling pyramid schemes and dealing drugs.When the pyramid scheme/drug dealing scene turned sour (“people were getting killed”), he took a job scrubbing pots and pans at the famous Trident Restaurant. Just when it seemed his career in the service industry might be taking off (he’d been promoted to vegatable slicer) Kimzey’s fate took a turn: He cut his foot on a piece of glass while leaving the Trident. Several months and one worker’s compensation suit later Mr. Kimzey was $10,000 richer.

Still, that kind of money doesn’t last too long being an out of work golf fanatic in Marin. ” I pinched pennies, but I’m spending money and I just don’t like it,” said Kimzey. “Golf, food, and chicks, my money just dribbles away.”  Kimzey, now 56, currently lives in San Francisco and has upgraded from a truck to an apartment. Aside from that, not muched, has changed. “I’m still the last of the independents. I didn’t go corporate. I’m still just a small time chisler just like I was then,” he says.

Kimzey still hits the links with regularity – he’s won flights in the San Francisco City Golf Championship and has an 8 handicap. All this despite never having abandoned the loco weed. “The one thing that has been universal in my life these 30 years has been golf and pot,” reflects Kimzey. “Your right, that’s two things.”

Special thanks to Jason Walsh and the Pacific Sun Newspaper for permission to reprint their article here!
And, Larry, how the hell are ya? Check in when ya can….will ya?

The Kingston Trio Interview

Trident : How did it all begin?

Bob Shane: We bought the place in 1960. When we took over it was called the Yacht Dock. It was a jazz club. It was a very straight, conventional kind of place. It had a nice big dock so people could tie up and come in. I think we kept the name until around 1966 when we started changing it—painting the ceiling, putting in all the curved railings and woodwork—going for the hippie style. That was done by Frank with the architect, Roger Summers.

Frank closed the place, but we (the Trio) were on the road for most of that time so we didn’t see it taking shape.

When did you guys start playing and how did Frank become your manager?

We started the Trio in ’57, and we were playing at a place called The Cracked Pot in Redwood City. It was like a little beer garden—had a little stage, and Frank Werber came in and liked us. He drew up a contract for us right there on a paper napkin. So we started rehearsing with him, and played a couple of places around the Bay Area, and then he got us booked into the Purple Onion. It was a two week gig, and we ended up staying for sixteen weeks.

So how did you end up owning the Trident?

Well, when we started really making money in the ’60′s we decided we were going to have to have some things to invest in, so we bought the Columbus Towers in San Francisco, and then we bought some property in Mill Valley and San Rafael, and we leased the option for the Trident. Then in ’76 I did a stock trade out—I traded my share of the property we owned including the Trident for the rights to the Kingston Trio name. From that point on everything got great for me but I’m not so sure it did for everybody else.

Tom Dooley was your biggest hit, but Scotch and Soda is perhaps the Trio’s best and the best known. Tell us where that came from. The music has Dave Guard’s name on it but I heard he didn’t write write it. What’s the story?

It was written back in the thirties by an anonomyous musician in Phoenix, and was given to the Seaver family. Tom Seaver, you know, the baseball pitcher, was about nine when Dave (Guard) was dating his older sister at Stanford. We were driving down to LA, and we had dinner with their parents, and afterwards they said, “We’ve got this great song for you guys.” and they gave us the music. And then later, when we weren’t paying attention he put his name on it. It caused a lot of bad feelings later on. But he actually did it in order to give the money to the Seaver family, and they used it to put Tom through college. Of course, he did pretty well for himself later on. And there’s a pretty funny story about Dave. We were on the road and he picked up this chick, and checked into a hotel as Mr and Mrs using his credit card, forgetting that his wife paid the bills. That marriage didn’t last.

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The Kingston Trio Web Site 

 

 

The Trident Menu

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