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On The Scene 

by Clint Burgess

In just a short time Banana Joe's island paradise has cornered the market in Spokane. The meet (people) market that is. The hippest place to see and be seen was the setting for my Saturday night, with the backdrop provided by all the women and booze any man can handle.

If you're going to head out to the sultry star of downtown's east end, make sure you plan for a long wait in line. As much as kicking it on the street with homeless musicians and winos might sound like a good time, even too much of a good thing can be bad. After the line, the $5 cover was doable, and I can say that once inside I felt more than safe with the numerous bouncers. The layout of this place is really efficient. The monstrous dance floor could accommodate a mob scene. In the same area as the dance floor was a gigantic island bar that flowed alcohol from all sides, and there was another mini bar flanking the dance floor. Needless to say, alcohol was prevalent. Almost as abundant as the drinks were the numerous fine females that were strutting their stuff to the thunderous tunes of the booming sound system. And there was plenty of socializing going on. The clientele was surprisingly diverse. Players, homies and even the sporadic rocker dude. The one thing everyone had in common was the opportunity to get on down.

The getting down came compliments of DJ Jeremy D (D'Ambrosio). He lays down the tunes five days a week at the club and is a big part of maintaining the jumping atmosphere. "Ladies night is off the hook," D'Ambrosio told me. "It doesn't matter what night you come down -- Wednesday, Friday, whatever night -- this is the hottest night spot in Spokane." It's hard to argue with the man when the building is bursting at the seams and there's no sign of it slowing down. The rest of the club features a radical piano bar. During the week, patrons will find dueling pianists that I'm sure are as exciting as they sound. The same space doubles for karaoke on the weekends. This particular evening showcased some pretty talented people on the microphone, along with drunken renditions of old favorites like Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Plenty of cocktail tables and a pool table made this space a hotspot.

Finally, the last part of the club was a huge bar that stretched the length of at least a hundred bananas and also sported plenty of booth seating for that low-key feel. The waitresses were quick on the draw when it came to mixed drinks and beers, unfortunately I had a hard time finding anyone to refill my RC. As far as dance clubs go, and that's not real far in this town, Banana Joe's has got a good thing going.

Publication date: 08/07/03

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