Do You Remember… Head Shops

Head Shop – A retail outlet specializing in paraphernalia used for consumption of cannabis and tobacco and items related to cannabis culture and related countercultures. Products may include magazines (e.g., about cannabis culture, cannabis cultivation, tattooing and music), clothing, and home décor (e.g., posters and wall hangings illustrating drug culture themes such as cannabis, jam bands like The Grateful Dead, psychedelic art, etc.)

Our neighborhood head shop in Kailua was Mescalito.

Of course we did the local thing and added an “s” to the end of the name so everyone called it “Mescalito’s”.

I used to love browsing around in Mescalitos.  The first thing that hits you when you enter is the fragrance of incense – especially the patchouli scent – the epitome of “hippy”.  And on the glass cases that displayed the different smoking “bongs” were the little brown bottles of “oils”.  Again, the patchouli oil was the most popular.  But also, the strawberry oils.  Remember when that strawberry scent was all the rage and almost every girl in school smelled of strawberry?

And there was the assortment of rolling papers – Zig-Zag, Big Bambu, even flavored ones.  And even smoke flavorings.  Anyone remember Dinky Dou smoke flavoring?  Used to come in a little squeeze dropper bottle.  I remember the mint and strawberry (of course) flavors.  Put a drop of the flavoring on the filter of your cigarette and you have a flavored cigarette.  Kids vaping that flavored stuff today had nothing on us.  We were blowing flavored smoke way back in the day.

Of course there were the black light posters – but was more cheap at Holiday Mart.

One thing that Mecalitos had was those peasant tops that women used to wear.  The thin gauze ones with the embroidery on the arms and across the front.


And men’s too!

As you can see in the photo of Mescalito’s, the Kailua one also sold bikinis.

IIRC, there was another head shop in Kailua a bit before my time.  I believe it was named One Step Beyond.

Do you recall any head shops in your neighborhood?  I vaguely remember one across of Ala Moana Center at 404 Piikoi.  There was Records Hawaii, Stone Free Water Beds, and was it Hawaii’s Natural High – before they moved to Waikiki?  I can’t seem to remember – ironically.

Do you remember other things that head shops used to carry?  Oil lamps and scented oil – for example.  Share your head-shop memories with us.

24 Responses to “Do You Remember… Head Shops”

  1. I remember being 17, one week from my 18th birthday, but man I looked young. I made it about 4 feet into a Haight Ashbury head shop before getting booted very sternly. Now I own a head shop, in Salida Colorado and keep the love alive!

  2. mutley96744 says:

    Mescalito used to sell small flat metal parts for earrings that you could apply glass bead drops to make the most beautiful earrings. The style is back in these days.

    I also remember the brass bells that India Imports used to sell. Very nice pieces of art.

    • Rodney says:

      @mutley96744 – Welcome to the blog and thank you for the comment. Mescalito was like the India Imports of the windward side. lol

  3. Diane says:

    High all!
    Great to see the photo and name of my old store, Mescalito! I just saw an old photo that I have of the store and, what a surprise that, for a while I could not remember where the heck it was located. So thanks for the mememory.

    I used to dislike it when people called it Mescalitos as if it had something it was covering up besides bodies.

    Those good old styles of embroidered Mexican clothes are back in style now, I think. Nothing like a cool blouse or bikini ( athough you will be happy to know bikinis are no longer used by me). Ok do the math and it puts me somewhere in my 70s today.

    I had my second child and so sold the store in the early 1970s. Never had a problem with illegal substances although you would be wondering, no doubt, where the name came from.

    Glad some of you enjoyed it.

    • Rodney says:

      Hi Diane! Thank you for posting and sharing your memories with us! Yes, I loved the peasant look back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. And you’re right – it’s coming back in style once again! Those were the best years! Thank you for opening Mescalito and making sure that the new owners kept it alive. Aloha!

  4. ankleBYTERS says:

    I wish vape shops were around back then 🙂

  5. Seawalker says:

    “4G says:
    APRIL 6, 2017 AT 6:14 PM
    Oh – I forgot to mention that name of the shop of Kuhio was 80% Straight. LOL”
    Haha, was gonna comment on this earlier. But didn’t want to hear it from the 20% backlash. Remember seeing this joint while walking to Kuhio Theaters. Used to park at the lot on Seaside. Had 80%, the androgynous bar, Hamburger M@ry’s (doubt if it was Burger King’s ex) and, of course, Hul@s. That was always an adventure back then.

    And for the record, never been there. LOL

  6. adobo says:

    India Imports had a store at Kahala Mall, definitely remember the incense and posters in the back. No web back then so we spent quite a bit of time browsing the “how to gro” books. But you could also get your ZigZags at the supermarket too. Later on, most of the liquor stores had some selection of pipes, bongs, papers and what not. I’m thinking Gourmet Liquors, Rainbow Still and a few others. Back then Rainbow Still was run by this old guy and his son. I forget his name but I think the son became a known local sommelier with his own biz and stocking local supermarkets. Both were real cool with the son trying to educate us on options other than Budweiser, Miller, and Michelob. We tried a lot of different imports at his recommendations. But yeah Rod, when you mention head shops, I immediately think of the glass cases and crouching down to see what’s new.

  7. 4G says:

    Oy – kinda slow.

    Sooo – I was thinking . . . . 😉

    ”Do you remember other things that head shops used to carry?  Oil lamps and scented oil – for example.”

    Candles. I really liked burning oil lamps and candles back then. Basically a pyro thing, I think. LOL

    Oh – and the incense. For the stick incense, I just bought a pack (strawberry, ‘natch) and put it in the car glove compartment; that was enough to give the car a nice smell. And that one unburned pack lasted pretty darned long, too!

    For actual incense burning, I remember playing around more with cone incense. I think that’s because, though the stick incense is easier to burn, dealing with the ash and burning stick is more of a hassle compared to burning cone incense in a proper cone incense container.

    But really, I was bothered by not being able to remember a whole lot about what head shops there were from that time period. That’s probably ‘cause we was loaded whenever we would go. 😉

    So, from a townie perspective in the 70’s timeframe, all I got is Stone Free and India Imports . . . . Was that it?

  8. dihudfan says:

    mellow years… don’t or can’t remembah much from those days… up in smoke… remembah watching the test pattern on tv… wuz so cool or wuz it… make Love, not war… PEACE…
    wasn’t into the fashion back than… maybe the nero shirts…

  9. Seawalker says:

    Man, when you had no money for them joints, heard banana leaves are just as good. But again, how would I know? Everything is heresay. Hehehe

    Used to get a good laugh when people bought Zig-Zags. Better yet, they would also pick up a pack of gum and sometimes Visine. Then they would ask for a book of matches. Yes sir-ree, Bob!

    What? Was the Sylistics that sang I’m Stone In Love With You, no?

  10. Keoni says:

    Hey, UR, you can’t remember? One toke over da line, brah? LOL

  11. walter says:

    India Imports at Ala Moana Center and more specifically the back portion of the store for full on marijuana stuff (except the weed itself), black light posters and all the other freak out things like flickey light bulbs, lava lamps, incense and candles. Don’t remember any specific store selling only head shop stuff but I remember going to Mescalito with my sister. She went for clothes but I came out with a pack of California Orange incense sticks. Cool fragrance not found in todays orange incense. And yes that store reeked of that strawberry oil but I don’t remember the patchouli although I did like the smell of patchouli I didn’t know what it was until recently. Got some plants (Patchouli not marijuana) growing in the yard. Super easy to grow and it reseeds itself almost to the point of being invasive. Some people would have wished that marijuana would be so invasive. Oh well. Havent touch that stuff for years. Don’t need it I’m naturally stoney (mental) already. Although the taste of a good joint or some hash oils well maybe just one hit, huh.

  12. Mark Shelby says:

    I remember that store in Ala Moana that had the black lights on and everything glowing inside and incense burning. I think it was back in the early 1970’s. But I can’t remember the name of it. It was a really strange store! You walked out into the sunshine and your eyes were sore!

  13. sally says:

    Seriously we’re supposed to remember? LOL!!!

  14. B Mattoon says:

    Heads you win, kailua

  15. 4G says:

    Oh – I forgot to mention that name of the shop of Kuhio was 80% Straight. LOL

  16. 4G says:

    404 Piikoi – your description makes me question my recollection. LOL

    I remember that head shop being Stone Free. I’m not sure if Waterbeds was part of the name in its early days, but it certainly was later on. I was always under the impression the Hawaii’s Natural High came later – when the crackdowns on paraphernalia started. BTW – was the start of the crackdowns due to Chuck Marsland?

    As I recall, some larger stores, like India Imports, had head shop “departments”, so we thought of them as head shops, too. I’m not sure there is a definite definition, cause like Mescalito also sold items of clothing.

    I seem to recall even like DJ’s Sound City had a display case of paraphernalia, or am I just making that up? LOL

    I remember the name “Mescalito”, but I don’t think I ever went there. If there was only a Kailua location, then it’s pretty certain I never set foot in it.

    There have been like two points in time, that I recall, when obtaining paraphernalia was a challenge. IIRC, the mid to late 80’s was one of those times. I mean, we’re talking being hard to get decent rolling papers. Anywho, I recall a shop in Waikiki, on Kuhio next to the municipal parking lot (I think that parking lot is currently a construction site). It was upstairs and I remember it being really awkward going there cause it was a gay shop and you had to walk up those external stairs in full view of whomever might be cruising through Kuhio at the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *