Chinatown’s thirtyninehotel a music hotspot

Jazz in Chinatown?

The nightly jazz scene in downtown Honolulu has begun to pick up speed, as well as respect, as club owners are beginning to make way for jazz artists and jazz enthusiasts. One such venue is thirtynine-hotel, located, as its namesake specifies, on 39 North Hotel Street in downtown Honolulu.

From the décor to the talent lineup, thirtyninehotel gives the normal club-goer a refreshing change from dingy and dark. Instead, at thirtyninehotel, you have a clean, classy, simple and very relaxed, lounge-style ambiance. Instead of the “club” industry norm color of black, most of the décor is white, including thirtyninehotel’s essential white space, which is basically a large rectangular space split into an indoor and outdoor lounging area.

Huge walls outline the areas that make it ideal for a gallery, and a very simple DJ’s booth as well as audio system, makes for simplicity in design without the normal clutter you’d see in another nightclub.

Benches line the floor area, covered in white vinyl, which match the simple and clean lines of the club. Part of the design, the owner feels, has helped the jazz market feel right at home, in terms of environment.

“What I observed in other jazz situations in Honolulu was the lack of any ‘jazz club’ interior design. I think this had a huge impact on the popularity of the night,” says Gelareh Khoie, owner of thirtyninehotel.

So what does the club do to fit that jazz ambiance? Says Khoie, “We turn off all the lights and put little candles everywhere; some cushy couches and some scattered tables and chairs.”

The energy, both spiritual and physical, has reverberated though the walls of thirtynine-hotel, and the owner tries to ensure that the “energies” are kept high.

“I have done my best to keep the energy flowing in there, and I think this simplicity gives our customers a spiritual freedom to be themselves … we try not to hammer people over the head with our aggressions,” Khoie says.

Regular visitors as well first-timers have noticed the difference in the feel of thirtyninehotel. Says Khoie, “Many people have repeatedly commented on the ‘vibe’ at our space and I believe this comes directly from the balanced feng shui of the space along with the easy going attitude of our staff; everyone from the security guard to other staff members are happy, calm, and ready to service anyone, with a smile.”

Well, it seems Khoie and the crew have done something right because thirtyninenotel is the new hotspot for the local jazz scene.

Take for instance, popular jazz group called New Jass Quartet, which have been regular jazz performers at thirtyninehotel since October of 2004. The group has been touted as young, but very talented and serious jazz players, and have drawn a huge crowd on their normal Tuesday gig nights.

Khoie’s openness to allow New Jass Quartet in has also prompted other groups to “strut their stuff ” at the club.

“As an owner, it is my priority to allow artists to fully manifest their creative visions, and I bring this to all artists, whether they be painters or musicians,” Khoie says.

The diversity of the crowds has been a clear indication that her philosophy is a huge draw for old and young. “We have older jazz heads in their late 50s and youngsters in their early 20s. Rich and poor, we took them all in, and we still do,” Khoie says. So if its jazz or anything else you’re looking for in a comfortable, clean club scene, make sure you’ve put aside some time to enjoy the quality scene, music and food, at thirtyninehotel.