Photo by Jessica CalkinsSometimes, all it takes to transcend the ever-elusive plane of hipster Zen are a couple Chinese newspapers and a dash of wallpaper paste. Last Saturday, in what was quite possibly the most successful lot-from-a-little image rehab since Frank stabbed darts into a tissue box and pronounced it a festive turkey on Trading Spaces, Costa Mesa's quaint-by-day Bamboo Terrace transformed into a plush, red-lit den of old-school grooves and fantastically attractive people for the debut of its bi-weekly club, The Program.
In preparation for the opening, promoters papered the restaurant's walls, removed the dining tables—wisely leaving the Terrace's comfy leather booth couches in place—and strung a half-dozen red Tsingtao lanterns from the ceiling. The result? An opium-den-meets-surf-n-turf palace of straight-up chill.
Upon arriving, I was greeted with a three-buck special on Cape Cods and Coronas, an inviting smirk from a rather fetching 27ish-looking guy, and Arrested Development's "Everyday People."
Arrested Development?!, you ask?
Nostalgic euphoria then doubled as Elsewhere, the Program's incredible gang of DJ bandits, busted out Zhane's classic, "Hey, Mr. DJ." Although it's normally ill-advised to hit the dance floor whilst sober as a stone, I just couldn't resist! It was like being in seventh grade all over again—minus, you know, the turquoise braces and awkward It's-Me-Margaret feelings.
Later, after first mastering the ancient art of sinking limes in Corona bottles, I decided it was time for a refill. So there I was, waiting for cerveza numero tres, when the barmistress brought out a gong cymbal and a drum stick. Bewildered, I watched as she placed a volcano-shaped serving bowl in front of me and began filling it up with rackauckulous amounts of alcohol.
"I can't drink this!" I objected.
Oh, but then she had to go and light the top of the volcano on fire. There was a scary bowl of alcohol in front of me and it was on fire.
"Can't I just get a Corona?" I pleaded.
She clearly wasn't hearing my protests.
I looked to my friends for help. We each took a straw into our mouths –and called on the barmaid, too—and started sipping.
And as I wisely pretended to keep sipping, everyone else polished the drink off in 19 seconds.
She banged the gong.
Everyone turned green.
"Erotic City" came on.
I grabbed my Corona and fled to the dance floor.
In all likelihood, on Thursday night my friends will still be recovering from their experience with the Volcano, which means that you should join me, as I'll be hitting up the Marlin Bar in Huntington Beach solo for Capacity, a night of cheap drinks and hip-hop courtesy of Mo DJ.
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Speaking of cheap drinks, there's been nothing but fabulous praise for Costa Mesa's it-bar of the moment, Avalon. It supposedly rivals Detroit bar with its hipster appeal and TKO well drinks, so on Friday you should meet my hopefully fit-for-partying friends and me for a night of DJ Romeo's post-punk, soul, and indie rock stylings.
Then on Saturday, it's off to catch the Starvations at the Coach House before spending all day in Long Beach on Sunday for the insane amounts of Reggae festivals that will be happening. Evidently, the Reggae Fest on Signal Hill featuring Bounty Killa and Inner Circle just wasn't enough for all the Rastafarians, because the One Love Festival with Barrington Levy and Red Rat goes down at the Queen Mary at the same time.
If you're not feelin' the irie flow, and progressive jazz is more your thing, then Kozmos in Huntington Beach is where you should be on Monday for Club Speakeasy, with DJ Gweed on the tables. Return to Huntington on Tuesday for some sushi and sake at Hayashi's while DJs Bret Wallace, Jeremy Smith and Dax provide the soundtrack.
Now, sake bombing ain't the best way to save a buck, so on Wednesday keep a low-pro at La Cave in Costa Mesa while the Todd Oliver Quartet plays jazz for free. Trust me, you'll need those bucks in a few weeks when it's your turn to climb the Volcano.