Honolulu Advertiser ~ Indigo Offers Soothing, Downtempo ‘Escape’

Friday, April 18, 2003

Indigo offers soothing, downtempo ‘Escape’

By Derek Paiva / Advertiser Entertainment Writer

DJ Zita took a turn at the turntable during “Escape” at Indigo’s Green Room/Opium Den. The music was smoky and smooth, and the drinks well-mixed during the monthly event.

Think of “Escape” as Sisters In Sound Lite.

You’ll know what we mean if you’re a devotee of the crew’s still-popular “ISIS” monthly at Auntie Pasto’s on Kapahulu. Minus a couple of Sisters (only Marloca and Zita were spinning when we stopped by), any whiff of aromatherapy, tapestries or the usual “ISIS” wall-to-wall crowd, “Escape” was more reminiscent of a soothing, no-frills DJ lounge.

Everything seemed to work in our early-evening favor. There was ample room to lounge in comfort. The music mix was heavy on the Sisters-signature sonic eclecticism, but with a nice downtempo vibe more appropriate for imbibing than dancing. And, in classic Indigo fashion, zero cover and wickedly well-mixed drinks.

The Green Room will never be accused of serving the cheapest drinks in town, but you get what you pay for. Our martinis arrived in monster glasses — mine superbly balanced as always; my girlfriend Dawn’s, strong with a helping of mini chocolate chips at the bottom.

The last of the dining room crowd began leaving ’round 11 p.m., with another forty- or fiftysomething couple peering around the corner into the Green Room every five minutes or so to check out the goings-on before exiting.

“It’s for young people, dear,” said one woman to her male companion after he’d ventured a tad too far into the swiftly crowding Green Room. The man looked positively forlorn as both disappeared down the brick-alley entryway and into the windy night.

The Opium Den was still relatively mellow — a couple of guys lounging on its large opium bed while some smooth nu jazz played over table conversations. Back at our table near the Green Room, the DJ thought kindly enough to kick Sade’s “Smooth Operator” into her mix of mellow hip-hop. Feeling the love, we promptly ordered another round. A Pam Grier doppelganger, circa 1973, strolled by.

People were still arriving post-midnight, but by then we were more than ready to spring for some sweaty dance-floor action courtesy of “Controversy” around the way at Club Pauahi. “Escape” had by then more than served its purpose. And rumor was, there were New Order blocks being spun up the street.

Got a night spot or club event we should check out? Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8005.

What: “Escape.”

Where: The Green Room/Opium Den, Indigo Eurasian Cuisine, 1121 Nu’uanu Ave., 521-2900.

When: 10 p.m.-2 a.m., second Saturday of the month.

Cover: Free.

Younger than 21 OK? No.

Age of crowd: 20s-40s.

Dress code: Smart casual and business attire.

Attire we saw: Casual and dressy. On men: dress shirts and slacks, aloha shirts, print and solid tees, polos, jeans, skull caps, beach hats, leather jackets. On women: cocktail dresses, tanks, halters, camisoles, peasant blouses, jeans, leather skirts.

Our arrival/departure: 10:30 p.m./12:15 a.m.

What we drank/ate: Bombay Sapphire martini ($5.75), chocolate martini ($6), screwdriver ($4.75), “Thousand Love” crab cakes ($10.95).

Peak crowd while there: 75-100.

Queue?: No.

Sample music styles: smooth hip-hop, nu and acid jazz, house, downtempo, old-school R&B.

Dancing? Sure, but no one really was.

Overheard conversation of the night: Man: “I’m a Viking.” Woman: “You’re a Viking?” Man: “I’m a Viking.”