There aren’t many people who go out during the week—a Tuesday night, especially. But, there was a time when Monday and Tuesday nights was my weekend, and believe me, I did a thorough search of nightly options. I thought, there has to be something open where there aren’t two strays sitting at the empty bar watching the bartenders play XBOX on the flat-screen TV, the DJ disappears and sets his music to auto-play and the lights are so bright that I may as well be in my friend’s living room.
What I discovered was Hawaii’s Latin scene. We have one, if you didn’t know. There’s a different venue that hosts salsa on different nights of the week, so you could do this nightly, if you wanted to. Well, on Tuesdays, the place to be is at Fashion 45 for its Martes Caliente salsa dance nights.
Walking into the room, first thing you’ll notice is that there is a smile on every face. Spin in circles three or four times and you’ll be smiling too. It is a fun, social dance and nobody cares how experienced or how old you are, because everyone is there to just have a good time.
From 8-9 p.m., free salsa lessons begin with Angel Archangel (Owner of Las Munecas dance company) and Da Lion of Judah (two-time Hawaii Salsa Champion and World Salsa Championship representative) then, the floor is open to everyone. The lessons are at a beginner’s pace, and partners rotate around the room, giving everyone a chance to dance with someone.
For those who are familiar to Tuesday night salsa, it was previously held at Zanzabar and has since moved upstairs to Fashion 45. Although Zanzabar is still promoting its Tuesday nights as salsa nights too, don’t be tricked.
I went to both venues to get a comparison and Fashion 45 easily won. Zanzabar has opened up its Tuesday night to the 18-and-over crowd, which was a mistake. They took over the main floor with hip-hop—just like any other night—leaving the salsa crowd to fight for space by the back bar. Zanzabar was dirty and binge drinking was obvious, especially in the bathrooms.
On the other hand, Fashion 45 was clean, the main floor played Latin music, while the smaller VIP room in back played top 40—for the hip-hop lovers in all of us. Fashion 45 also added a taco bar from restaurant, El Palenque. Friendly regulars are always common there, so this is a perfect place to meet new people and discover a part of Honolulu that not many people know about.
2255 Kuhio Ave. in the Waikiki Trade Center
Doors open 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.
$5 cover with local ID
$10 general cover
PER DA LION OF JUDAH, MARTES CALIENTE HAS JUST BEEN CHANGED TO MONTHLY, RATHER THAN WEEKLY. NEXT SALSA DATES ARE TUESDAYS ON JANUARY 13 AND FEBRUARY 3. TACO BAR STILL INCLUDED.