The Lakeshore Lounge was a bar and restaurant from 1940 to 1948 at 3333 Lakeshore Avenue, known for high quality musical entertainment.
In 1940, it was Hal's Lounge, run by Hal Webster and featuring Benny Butler on the Hammond organ. In March, 1940, they started serving food in addition to cocktails, with Don Blossom in charge of the food. 1 By December, 1940, it was referred to as Lakeshore Lounge. 2
Lloyd Johnson was part owner until December, 1947. He was involved in a number of East Bay bars, including Club Kona in El Cerrito. 3
It was briefly owned by the Scardi brothers in 1948 and closed because of problems with the liquor license.
In 1949, it was re-opened as The Glen, owned by Tommy Guy 14. In 1964, it was re-opened as Rob Roys restaurant owned by Robert Oberg and LeRoy Pinador 15, and Benny Butler was back at the organ. 13 In 1968, it was the Lake Shore Sports Lounge with hosts George Silva and Paul Singleton 17, and in the 1969 directory, the Lakeshore Sport Lounge, managed by Tom Enos. 16 How long that was around is unclear, but by November, 1969, 3333 Lakeshore was called The Exit ("The Avenue's Friendly Place"). By 1975 the string of bars had come to an end, and it was a branch of The Wherehouse, selling records and tapes.
By June, 1948, the restaurant was operated by the Scardi brothers, Frank Scardimaglia and Sam N. Scardi. It was sold to them by John L. Rossi, but there, things get murky...Sam Scardi had paid $5,000 to Rossi, believing he was buying the lounge, but after the last payment, Rossi apparently moved a large amount of liquor off the premises, leaving "bad blood" between them.
In August, 1948, the FBI and police were investigating the Scardis and Sam Catechi for felony charges of conspiracy to commit pandering, and were accused by Sam's wife Virginia Scardi, of placing her in a house of prostitution. 4 While the investigation was underway, their liquor license was suspended. The investigation raised the question of who actually owned the lounge, as the liquor license was in the name of a third man. 5 The trio were indicted by a grand jury, and a trial was set for October.
Even before the trial, the State Board of Equalization tried to resolve the ownership question. October 5th, 1948, a new application in the name of Cornelius Guy was filed by Oakland attorney James M. Popper. Milledge Cheshire was the last licensee; he was charged with falsification of ownership when it was found he had no interest in the lounge. The property was owned by C.A. Caufield of Alameda, and leased to Popper. But Popper said he just wanted to sell the lounge, but had been unable to do so. Popper sub-leased the lounge Robert McElvain, Ben Thomas, and Milledge Cheshire. McElvain sold a partial share to John L. Rossi. Cheshire's name had gone on the license in place of Johnson's. 6 On October 29th, the Board revoked the license, which meant the lounge was officially dry for at least the next 3 months, and Guy had to re-file for a new application. 7
Virginia Scardi was kept in protective custody. She first testified on November 3rd. During the trial it was alleged the men controlled houses of prostitution in Jackson, Marysville and Klamath Falls, Oregon with a number of women, and the goal was to finance the purchase of the Lakeshore Lounge. 8 Sam Scardi testified that the prostitution was Virginia's idea, and he had married her "to lift her out of her life of sin." 9 Scardimaglia's and Catechi's lawyers tried to distance the actions of their clients from Scardi. The trial ended in a deadlocked jury. In a second trial, Scardi and Catechi plead guilty to one count 11,12, but the other charges were dropped. Unsurprisingly, Virginia then filed for divorce. 10
Links and References
- Hal's Special Chicken Dinners Oakland Tribune March 29, 1940
- ad for Lakeshore Lounge Oakland Tribune December 13, 1940
- On Second Thought by Alan Ward Oakland Tribune May 25, 1947
- Bail Slash Denied Three In Slave Case Oakland Tribune August 28, 1948
- Scardi Freed on $20,000 Bail Oakland Tribune August 31, 1948
- New License Sought for Tavern Involved in White Slave Case Oakland Tribune October 5, 1948
- State Board Revokes Liquor License of Lakeshore Lounge Oakland Tribune October 29, 1948
- Scardi Due to Take Stand Oakland Tribune November 5, 1948
- Scardi Denies Slave Charge Oakland Tribune November 9, 1948
- Scardi Files Suit For Divorce Oakland Tribune February 19, 1949
- Probation Asked in Slave Case Oakland Tribune February 3, 1949
- White Slavers Face Sentencing Oakland Tribune February 2, 1949
- Here 'n There Hayward Review September 30, 1966
- Going Places Oakland Tribune March 5, 1949
- The Master's Touch Oakland Tribune June 10, 1964
- Polk's Oakland 1969
- ad for Lake Shore Sports Lounge Oakland Tribune April 14, 1968