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 V.20 No.18 | May 5 - 11, 2011 

Aural Fixation

Nob Hill Night Life

A little something for everyone

Swingin’ Meat
Lizzy Von Stange
Swingin’ Meat

After my last mission to find Downtown dance parties [“Aural Fixation: A Quest For Thursday Night’s Ultimate Downtown Dance Party,” Feb. 24-March 2] I was anxious for another adventure—this time seeking out Nob Hill’s live music scene and dance parties.

Swingin’ Meat
Lizzy Von Stange
Swingin’ Meat

On a Friday night I met a buddy for dinner and drinks at gastropub Gecko’s Bar & Tapas (3500 Central SE, 262-1848, It was already approaching 11 p.m., but no one in my group was interested in adventuring. Companionless, I zipped over to Scalo Il Bar (3500 Central SE, 255-8781, next door to find The Alma Jazz Quartet, a group that’s been together since the ’70s. (These fellas also have another band—a Motown-style R & B act called Cadillac Bob & The Rhinestones.) Armed with an array of instruments including sax, trumpet, clarinet, drums, mini-upright bass and guitar, the quartet was cool and casual, and it fit Il Bar’s relaxed atmosphere wherein one could easily carry on a conversation. Although the patrons were mainly couples, there were a few loners like me.

The Alma Jazz Quartet
Lizzy Von Stange
The Alma Jazz Quartet

Next stop was Desert Fish (4214 Central SE, 266-5544,—the former location of Sonny’s Bar & Grill. It was my first time visiting the new seafood restaurant and music venue, and the place has cleaned up nicely. Local newcomer Warship, an act (sort of like Uncle Tupelo with a harder edge), had the stage. Sam Miller, lead vocalist of departed local Jenny Invert, acted as the band’s guest bass player. The crowd again consisted of couples, a large group of friends of the band and a few stragglers like myself.

Boozy revelers
Lizzy Von Stange
Boozy revelers

Next I ran off to Monte Vista Fire Station (3201 Central NE, 255-2424) where there was an unexpected line at the door. Swingin’ Meat had the crowd dancing to flirty and fun rockabilly—they were loving it.

I crossed the street and entered Nob Hill Bar & Grill (3128 Central SE, 266-4455, where I found DJ Halcyon spinning ’90s hip-hop like The Notorious B.I.G., The Roots and Cypress Hill. This “upscale joint” was packed with your average frat types. I moved in to take photos of the enthusiastic crowd, members of which struck poses for me. I was even pulled onto the floor for a few songs ... I can’t resist a dance party.

Wanting more, I headed to Imbibe (3101 Central NE, 255-4200,, the multi-nooked, rooftop-patioed cigar bar across the street, where I found a more sophisticated group grooving to a DJ. Imbibe has the best of both worlds: You can mellow out with a group of friends or get down with the girls.

By 1:30 a.m. the Nob was completely shut down, and there was no madness like Downtown’s end-of-the-evening scenario. But the true beauty of Nob Hill is that there are many options in close proximity, so if one spot doesn’t catch your fancy, you move on.


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