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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 24, 2006

Zanzabar stays zesty as nightclubs come and go

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Joel Martin and Julia Rosen, both of Madison, Wis., dance at Zanzabar in the Waikiki Trade Center.

Photos by REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Kristen Lima, of Wahiawa, dances a la go-go.

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Melvin Pontes, of Nanakuli, and Natasha Snyder, of Kapolei, join the flow. Zanzabar, in the middle of Waikiki, draws in twenty- and thirtysomething clubbers.

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Where: Waikiki Trade Center, 2255 Kuhio Ave., ground floor, 924-3939

Hours: 9 p.m.-4 a.m. nightly

Cover: $10 for most events.

What to wear: Dress code said dressy evening wear and no T-shirts, but we definitel saw the latter. Leave the ball cap at home, though.

Bathroom attendant holding paper towels hostage?Yes, literally. Lavatory security even went so far as to swear at a dude who didn't give him a dollar after taking some paper.

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Judah "Da Lion of Judah" Oschner, left, of Kailua, and Sean "DJ Euphorik" Ho, of Makiki, keep the music flowing for the club kids at the longtime night spot that still packs 'em in.

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"Zanzabar? Why the heck would you want to go to Zanzabar again?" a friend demanded when I mentioned my next Night Stuff venue choice. "It's been there forever!"

Precisely, dude.

Flashier neighboring nightclubs up the Waikiki Trade Center escalator have arrived (Fashion 45) and disappeared (Maze) in the time the once-even-flashier Zanzabar has been around.

But there Zanzabar was on a recent Friday. Still getting down with its sort of dated (though originally costing $6 million) Middle Eastern/Asian-decor bad self. Still drawing a sizable crowd of local twenty- and thirtysomething club kids who'd arrived to actually dance rather than simply couch and down caipirinhas.

When DJ Da Lion of Judah kicked up Dirty Vegas' "Days Go By" on his tables, I figured I'd be OK for a while.

"I'm celebrating being 21 tonight," said cosmo-sipping Carrie Tagawa (she of the name similar to the actor who played the bad dude in "Mortal Kombat," but female and from Mililani by way of San Diego). "Fashion 45 wouldn't play me my Mariah, so here I am! Whoo!"

Cue Carey's "It's Like That."

There were a couple of guys from a popular local lu'au, still in their uniforms, scoping the club hungrily, swigging from Bud Light bottles. On a smaller dance floor away from the main one, some bald dude, who, in his red-and-black overcoat hybrid looked like a funky cross between Morpheus from "The Matrix" and M.C. Hammer, grooved to ATC's "All Around the World (La La La La La)."

Near a gold panther statue, a couple of red-faced boys, who still seemed to be on Seoul time, ogled lingerie-clad go-go dancers still feeling out their podiums.

The unbusy palm reader/psychic in a corner booth should've offered to read MC Morpheus.

Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.