Happy hour and more at the Hanohano Room

The thrill of riding a glass-walled elevator 30 stories up the outside of a hotel is not gone. There is always something new to see on the way up to Sheraton’s Hanohano Room. Most locals know it as the former site of the Perry and Price Morning Show, which broadcast live from there for more than 19 years. More recently the posh Skyline parties (see sidebar) have redefined the Hanohano Room for a new generation, and Wednesday’s Listening Party with DeShannon Higa adds a refined pau hana to the middle of the week.

Eager to rediscover this skyscraping Waikiki venue, we arrive on Wednesday in plenty of time to enjoy the sunset, and are soon ensconced in the raised lounge area, cocktails in hand. On stage are DeShannon Higa and the grOOve.imProV.arTiSts, tonight featuring Maria Ramos on vocals and Rod Esteban on drums. The volume is low out of consideration for the dinner guests, but happily goes up a little as the flambe’ dessert crowd thins out.

The breathtaking views of Honolulu, the mountains and the ocean blend with an aural backdrop of what Higa has dubbed “urban jazz,” a mellow but rich soundscape combining modern production with traditional jazz.

Promoters Robert “Flash” Hansen and Matty Boy Hazelgrove conceived of the Listening Party as a spin-off of their long-running Skyline parties which cater to upscale young professionals.

“We wanted to give our clientele something fun and interesting to do during the week,” Flash says.

Mission easily accomplished.

A totally different crowd turns up on Friday night for Latin music featuring the band Son Caribe. Musically, Son Caribe is smoking, all horns and percussion and sass, and they keep the dance floor moving all night.

“Is anybody celebrating a birthday tonight?” asks the spitfire front-woman for probably the millionth time in her career. We roll our eyes at the corny lounge-act moment but dutifully stand by waiting for the next song to start. We bumble the steps a couple times, but vow to come back next week in time for the 9 p.m. dance lesson. Hopefully they dust off their act as we dust off our dancing shoes, because this night is a great excuse to get up and get down.

The Skyline Party

For the last couple of years, one party has stood head and shoulders above the rest, quite literally: Skyline at the Hanohano Room. Promoters Flash and Matty Boy court a fashion-forward, professional crowd fond of strutting their stuff.

The music tends to a style known as “mash-up” which is a DJ-driven, cross-genre format that pretty much guarantees something for everyone.

“It’s all genres, all eras, throw it in a blender and mix it all up,” explains Flash. “Some DJs are more rock, some more hip-hop, but they all play a mix – they know what we want.”

The best way to enjoy the company of your friends while at Skyline is the VIP way: Reserve a table with bottle service. The service is excellent and it is the only way to ensure that you have a place to sit when the club gets packed.

At the Hanohano Room

Wednesdays 5:30 p.m. til 9:30ish
Listening Party with DeShannon Higa and grOOve.imProV.arTiSts
Free cover & valet. Half-price
pupus and drink specials.
www.flashandmattyboypresent.com

Fridays 10 p.m. till 1 a.m.
Son Caribe
www.myspace.com/soncaribe1
Dance lesson at 9 p.m.

Every 1st & 3rd Saturday
Flash and Matty Boy Present Skyline
VIP bottle service recommended
www.flashandmattyboypresent.com

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