Belltown Blues: Seattle Nightlife Now & Then

After the KUBE-93 DV8 days were well over and before Premier was even open, you might say that the heydays of the Seattle Asian American club scene hit a high point somewhere in the midst of 2005.

This saturation point occured when places like Bada Lounge (now Umi, an awesome sushi joint on 1st Ave), Medusa (now Venom on Western Ave), Belltown Billiards (some restaurant now on Blanchard) and Ohana's (also on 1st) were packed to the rim with Petron guzzling patrons. Not only were these hot spots sitting within a block of each other, but club promotion teams (i.e. my nvrMT boys, Ting's crew, the short-lived d.i.p. family) essentially nabbed the same network of Asian Americans.

These were the days when you could grab a couple of cheap drinks at Ohana's, spend an hour or two at Medusa, leave and walk (or stumble) up a block and pop into Bada to meet up with another set of friends. And if Medusa didn't suit you that night, you could always head to Belltown Billiards.

Four years later with so many different clubs and lounges scattered in every corner of Seattle, an alcohol infused night is no longer confined to just Belltown, nor are they confined by cultures.

Notice the color in the clubs? You don't need to get your eyes checked. Cultural networks are steadily merging and promoters are scrambling to nab all cultural networks, not just the Asian American community they once solely focused on. Ultimately, this is a good thing.

But where do all the Asian Americans go now?

Below's a current list of clubs and lounges typically frequented by networks I belong to, as well as places we'll drop by once in a while.

This isn't to say that all Asian Americans unconsciously mob over to these venues when looking for a place to dance (跳舞 Pinyin: tiao4 wu3) and drink their liver away. If anything, a mixture of cultures exist in the list below. I love ClubVibes and Seaspot as much as the next girl, but no list exists to break down what's currently popular in a matter-of-fact fashion.

No matter what cultural circle(s) you belong to, feel free to help expand upon it by posting venues you frequent via comments.

Seattle Asian American Nightlife List: Current as of March 27th, 2009
Add your spots (Asian American or not) to diversify the list.


(+) are frequent venues
(*) are occasional venues
(-) are irregular venues

Cowgirl's Inc.
Trinity (-)
Venom (-) only for their once a month DList party

Ibiza (+)
Venom (+)
War Room (*)
Parlor (+)
Amber (*)
Twilight (-)

War Room (+)
Parlor (+)
Ohana's (*)
Trinity (*) usually for birthday parties
Del Ray's

So now the question is where do you like to get your drink on?


The Morning After

The morning after any brutal night about town usually starts off with a round of sloppy, semi-drunk phone calls muffled by a layer of blankets.

If summoning enough courage to scroll through the cellular phone book seems daunting, figuring out a common consensus to the universal question proves even more challenging: "Where do you wanna eat?"

The entire deliberation process may take up to a half-an-hour, but the cuisine is pre-selected even before the question's asked. Among many Asian Americans, the cure to a heavy night of alcohol is universally defined, yet naturally unspoken. The answer? Pho.

Pho (越南粉 Pinyin: Yue4 nan2 fen3), a hot, beefy Vietnamese noodle soup, is a fix it all for hangovers and countless nights of drunken debauchery. Since I can remember, it's been the go to choice for a morning after meal. Warm broth eases away any inkling of nausea and carb-filled vermicelli noodles soak up any ounce of Crown left over from the night before. For around $6 a bowl (the best spot in Renton is the 108 Restaurant next to Great Wall), pho does a mighty fine job of keeping the Porcelain God a mile away.

But a funny question occured to me while out grabbing pho with a friend. What do Americans eat after throwing up their intestines?

For the answer to this question, I sought the guidance of my I'm-Filipino-but-I-grew-up-on-the-Eastside boyfriend. I have a lot of love for Eastside cities like Issaquah and Bellevue, but having been born and raised in Renton, I admit a difference in these cultures do exist. Nonetheless, the boyfriend, who had the opportunity to live in both cultural worlds, simply and assuredly replied, "Well, we ate at Denny's."

Denny's? Greasy fried bacon strips and oil-soaked eggs will ease the vomit factory brewing inside of me?

After nearly 9 years of comfortably staying within my Asian American cultural circle, I was surprised to remember that another world exists where pho isn't the only option for a post-alcohol meal. Naive? Perhaps. Ignorant? Maybe.

...Which brings me to the reason why I posted this blog in the first place. This is a place where I'll visit cultural differences and merge them into anecdotal musings and posts. Part experimental, part historical, it's a place where similarities and differences can be cataloged and re-examined.

And, like the additional book light offer with the purchase of a Snuggie, you'll also get these with every post:
  • A Chinese word/phrase
  • Local restaurants you should also dig
Back to the story.

To the age old question of where to get an edible hangover cure, maybe you prefer Denny's, or maybe you'd rather grab a bowl of pho. Either way, there's something I'd like to know: what do you eat the morning after?