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Opposites Attract

Original Geckos Has the Right No-Airs Ambience; Its Younger Sibling Is Pretentious but Has Taste


Geckos Too, which opened in Fullerton last month, is night-and-day different from its older sibling, Geckos in Huntington Beach, at least on weekend nights.

Both clubs feature mainstream Top 40 from the past three decades and a mostly casually dressed crowd. But that's where the similarity stops. Most strikingly, the new, larger place lacks the no-airs ambience of its elder.

Where there is unvarnished wood in Huntington, there is postmod concrete in Fullerton; where there is light in Huntington, there's pretentious dimness; and, most of all, instead of an absence of attitude, there is posing, primping and more picking up.

No, you won't see dancers with Bud bottles on the floor in Fullerton--that is, if you can see the floor at all, what with all the tired white smoke that periodically engulfs the crowd.

Even my Docker-slacks-is-dressed-up friend, Kev, felt at home at the original Geckos (which reminds me a bit of Live Bait in Long Beach, though it's not as raunchy--a good thing--or ethnically mixed).

Huntington's double-decker atrium affords a bird's-eye view of the dance floor and the DJ booth from an upstairs lounge with three pool tables and plenty of bar stools. Downstairs are a crowded, free-standing bar (just wide enough for your beer and elbows) surrounding the dance floor and several raised dance platforms.

The casual atmosphere is helped along by a pipe-smoking tattoo artist (who'll give you a temporary tattoo for a $5 tip) and green palm fronds painted on the walls.

Geckos Too--where I know Kev wouldn't go--has barren, unadorned concrete walls and a single, big room that accommodates pool tables, two bars, lots of stools and small tables and a sizable dance floor.

What it has over Geckos in Huntington is a full-service restaurant that seats more than 200 and offers pizza, pasta, seafood, steak and salads. The prices are terrific. For $5.95, I had spicy black bean soup, a quarter of a mesquite grilled chicken, goodsweet potato fries and cole slaw.

BUT! No walls separate the restaurant from the club, so a quiet dinner after around 9 p.m. is out of the question. Second, while Geckos Too has two sets of restrooms, one set is at the far end of the restaurant, so dancers from the club constantly are trekking through to use it.

If hunger strikes at Geckos in Huntington, a bar menu includes standard burger fare ($4.50 for a one-third pounder plus fries) and such munchies as fried mozzarella and cheesy potato skins ($4.95).


* Geckos, 7887 Center Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 892-2227; Geckos Too, 279 E. Orangethorpe Ave., Fullerton, (714) 446-8900.

* Geckos is open Wednesday-Friday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Geckos Too is open daily 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

* Cover ranges from $3-$5 except in Huntington Beach on Sundays, when admission is free.

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