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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 21, 2006

Bring a pal for Saturday Chinatown barhopping

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Tara Kaneko, left, of Nu'uanu, and Mabel Wong, of McCully, share a laugh at thirtyninehotel's Lucky Tiger in Chinatown, the self-described "little disco dance music party."

Advertiser library photos

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Bar 35 on North Hotel Street had piped in adult Top 40 and rock playing on a recent Saturday night.

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DJ Mark Chittom of Nu'uanu is a resident DJ at Lucky Tiger at thirtyninehotel.

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BAR 35

Where: 35 N. Hotel St., 537-3535

Hours: 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturdays; 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday

The crowd: 20s-40s, evening casual and well-dressed

Soundtrack: piped in adult Top 40 and rock, vintage '80s

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Where: NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St., 548-6398

When: 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturdays

This Saturday: Jamalski (NYC), hip-hop/reggae/electronica

The crowd: 20s, mostly evening casual

Soundtrack: live and/or DJed hip-hop

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Where: thirtyninehotel, 39 N. Hotel St., 599-2552

When: 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturdays

The crowd: 20s-30s, evening casual and well-dressed

This Saturday: Khoie and Mark Chittom

Soundtrack: Khoie and Harvey call it "grown-up dance music ... modern and contemporary."

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Beck's cover of "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime" is much better than the original by '80s one-hit-wonders The Korgis. Remember them?

So few do.

I'm alone at Bar 35 on a late Saturday night, nursing a cold, wonderfully bitter bottle of Rogue Dead Guy Ale. The slo-mo electro-ballad is my current soundtrack. The bar staff exudes cool charm. A couple dozen patrons are spread across the downtown minimalist beer lounge's comfortably mod black couches. And the guy next to me wants me to hit on two of them.

Patrons, that is.

I'm assuming he'll move on the one I don't hit on, but am not certain. "Change your heart. Look around you," Beck sings.

Not bringing my partner in Night Stuff along for this impromptu tour of Saturday night activities at Bar 35, thirtyninehotel and NextDoor may have been a mistake.

We talk instead. Me and the dude who keeps eyeing the two women even as they are slowly surrounded by one, two, then three males.

Chris Martin warbles about lines that shouldn't be crossed.

Up at thirtyninehotel where the grooves emanating from the gallery/performance space's huge vintage speakers are as warm as Lucky Tiger, managing director Gelareh Khoie's self-described "little disco dance music party" DJ Harvey drops downtempo beats for a small handful.

I sink deep into a plush white lounger, watch the mirror ball send circulating bits of amber light across the loft's white walls and thanks to the gallery's current multimedia exhibit ponder Honolulu gridlock.

At midnight plus 15 minutes, I'm down the stairwell and next door at NextDoor watching Emirc hold it down live.

A week removed from opening for Kanye West at Blaisdell, Emirc drops tight flow for an appreciative Chinatown Sessions crowd maybe 100-plus strong. The room's multi-hued spots bouncing light off of the high ceilings and red-brick walls wrap his performance in an oddly ominous, industrial vibe.

Vintage animation and B-movie footage unspool on a large film screen behind him. A few patrons raise their hands.

A trio of giggling girls near me start snapping camera-phone photos of themselves.

I remember my car is several blocks away from Hotel Street.

Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.