Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

LUAU ON CENTRAL.(Final)

Byline: Story by Arley Sanchez Photographs by Drew McDaniel Of the Journal

Freddie Kekaulike Baker presides over a festive party at the Polynesian Lounge

Freddie Kekaulike Baker croons "Tiny Bubbles" from the keyboard while Evalani, a Samoan princess, dances the hula inside the Polynesian Cocktail Lounge on East Central.

Sitting on a customer's lap, Freddie's wife, Jane, winks and urges the man to sing along.

It's hard to say no, amid the laughter and bamboo, the fish nets and tiki masks, the suspended dugout canoes and a wall-to-wall mural of a South Pacific sunset.

Freddie and Jane Baker, owners of the little lounge tucked in a corner of the New Chinatown restaurant, get together with their longtime friend, Evalani Galeai, on Thursdays and weekends to create a festive tropical hideout in this desert city.

Married in 1975, the couple has owned the Polynesian Cocktail Lounge since it opened in 1990.

The 82-year-old Baker sits at his keyboard, his mustachioed mouth open wide as he sings in a soft falsetto, gold teeth flashing in the stage lights. …

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