Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, March 23, 2001

Couples heat up the dance floor at Pipeline Cafe.

Pumped up

Good times await the
dawn-patrol crowd at
Pipeline Cafe

By John Berger

IT'S WELL past 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning and a crowd of about 200 people is still waiting to get into Pipeline Cafe.

The Kakaako nightclub -- the full name is Pipeline Cafe & Sports Bar -- has become a Honolulu hot spot since it opened two blocks ewa of Ward Avenue 15 months ago. The spacious two-story club was packed to capacity on Saturday. Members of the club's yellow-shirted security team moved slowly through the crowd, making way for the waitresses. Anyone else who was trying to get through the crowd would jump in behind the waitress and join the procession before the crowd congealed again.

The audience was clean cut and predominately "local" with a few tourist sunburns added to the mix. There were no neo-Goths, no sloppy ravers and no "I'm hipper than you are" types looking down their noses at guys in the aloha shirts or women with bare midriffs and low-cut pants. Not that any one style predominated; for every woman channeling Britney or Christina there were two or three in more conservative attire.

Indulge in a game of pool at the sports bar or show your
moves on the dance floor at the Pipeline Cafe.

Jed Roa, Pipeline vice president and general manager, sees the club's success as coming out of a combination of design and service.

"I think what it is is that we probably have the best sound system in the islands and it's a big place. We have good air conditioning and the ceilings are high, and we have drink specials almost every night. On Saturday it's all kinds of iced tea."

The dance floor was just about jammed solid. Whether it was iced tea or some other beverage the crowd was getting off on Tupac and Ludacris and Snoop Dogg. It was "Back That Azz Up" and the clean version of 2 Live Crew's "Hoochie Mama" with shots of techno for energy and a little reggae to mellow out on. The crowd seemed to grow in number as the night wore on.

Roa and his partners -- Chip Jewett, Mark Broadhurst, Chris Jewett and Dave Giomi -- drew on several decades of first-hand experience in designing Pipeline. The ground floor is the basic nightclub with several bars, two sets of restrooms, a big stage, a bigger dance floor and numerous video screens.

The upstairs game room has the pool tables, dart boards and other games, more video screens, another bar and another set of rest rooms.

It adds up to a such a successful concept that the club has been expanded and now has two rooms available for private parties.

The club is also coming on line as a concert venue; Cowboy Mouth and BS2000 played the club recently.

So why do so many people consider Pipeline the place to be? An informal survey came up with an assortment of reasons -- "it's cool," "the dance floor is bigger," "the music's not that weird stuff," "the women" and "the crowd here knows how to act."

One woman volunteered a deeper assessment. "When you're in a club and the DJ is like, 'Show me your Gs (G-string or thong panties),' and some of the girls start doing it, the guys start looking at you like they expect you're gonna do it too. I just don't want to be around those people.

"When I come here I know the DJs aren't gonna be doing things like that and so it always feels comfortable."

Pipeline Cafe

Hours: 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Place: 805 Pohukaina St.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Call: 589-1999
Cost: Cover after 8 p.m. Minimum age 21. No open-toed shoes,

tank-tops, hats or athletic wear after 8 p.m.

Coming up: Natural Vibes and Native Blend in concert Sunday. Spring break concert with Pati, Three Plus and AZ Wednesday.

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